It is such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth to feel at one’s finger tips the possibilities of the new seasons. Growing up in rural west coast, between fields and kitchen gardens we pottered around, it helped us connect and the single greatest lesson that we learnt was that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as the sun shines and people can still plan and plant, think and do, we can, if bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.
With habitat growing aerially, and earth being entombed in cement, we seem to create quite a havoc.
But sometimes there are small hopes that pops up like this patch of garden field at Taleigao, it is marooned by aerially rising buildings, but yet holds like hope. I am not talking of the fields that the farmers own, there is a patch of field where there is a community garden.
This is an movement spear headed by the late dada Panduranga Athale of swadhyaya, where people come and work with the earth, they grow and tend to the garden. The proceeds can be taken by the people who contribute or they are sold and the money goes to the movement.
There are couples who want to re-bond, who take to working in these patches together. They are not allowed to get their kids along on these time schedules, the band of swadhyayees are so committed that they walk or cycle around to villages creating these community gardens.
There can be no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden if he/she is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.
I was thinking of my grandmother Kitta-doddamma, who used to tell us that garden, “hitla-thota” as she called it, called for a lot of dedication, sacrifice, which why the agrarian India worshiped Bali, the spirit of sacrifice. She used to tell us that being with plants one learnt patience and the power of sacrifice, the seed in sacrificing its skin, the soil in sacrificing its nutrition, the nematodes of the earth they contributed too, the rain with the water to the soil, finally when the plant came up it was moment of celebration the bringing in of abundance in every way.
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