When Jyoti Cariappa Saikia bought this piece of land 20 years ago, it was a barren, sandy, windswept desert. Today, while
she continues to work in the corporate world of garment export, heading a very successful business, she draws her
strength, sustenance and inspiration from the farm, which is truly her home.She is the one with the vision, the driving
force… guiding everyone on the farm with her knowledge and foresight, leading all with love and compassion while
demanding a committed work ethic. The following is a description of the farm in her own words….
“The farm is in the Aravalis, on the edge of the deserts of Rajasthan. It is a place where I have learnt some of the most
important lessons that Nature and Life have to teach. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your fields being harvested,
golden grain, ripening fruit and in spring the hum of bees in the wild dill and flowering citrus. There is an ease within as I take in
the scene, a headiness in the warmth of the sun and a heart filled with quiet joy, that sends up a prayer on the wings of
gratitude. There is another story too, of fields devastated by too much rain at the wrong time. A story of the fight with myself, to
not give into temptation and spray a pesticide when the crop is infested.
It is not easy and I know why the ‘doctor’ salesman visiting our village manages to sell the latest ‘very strong medicine’ for
instant relief from pest damage. It is in this village that I am taught each day, lessons in endurance by Nature, who often seems
so capricious and devastating. Her lessons are taught well over and over again till one grows to understand what we have done in
our thoughtless rush for instant solutions, in our arrogance that tries to ‘improve’. She teaches us to be mindful in our conduct, to
give back a little of what we so arrogantly take.The transition from owning a farm to becoming an organic farmer has been often
rocky, always challenging and the most satisfying part of my life.
My friend Kakoli is with us on this journey and together we are evolving with the farm, turning it into a place where one can be in
complete harmony with nature, with one’s inner being, shaping our lives in a way that creates a fertile ground for the Growth of
Consciousness.…a place where time is measured by the phases of the moon,…where every leaf, all weeds, each spec of earth,
every living creature, every drop of water is considered useful,… where fertilization is hastened not with chemicals, but by
introducing bees to cross-pollinate (the honey that one gets is a bonus) & earthworms to enrich the soil,… a place which inspires
neighboring farmers to believe in the virtues of organic farming,…a place which nurtures creative thoughts, allowing one’s dreams
to cross boundaries of conventionality, breaking down conditioned thought patterns,… a place to live, learn, participate and grow.”
Rameshwar Dayal with an
ex-army background and with
farming experience native to
Rajasthan is the foreman at the
farm. Extremely passionate
about his work he is out in the
fields in the most difficult of
scorching summers and the very
cold winters.He knows what is
good for the farm and its people
questioning every action with
logical reasoning.
“It was not an easy choice. I had a fairly comfortable life and a great
job in the city. But there was an unease and an intense seeking for a
more meaningful and complete existence. It was this seeking which
took me to
Auroville and Pondicherry and on one of those trips, my
contact with Jyoti was renewed.Taking this leap of faith has been the
best decision I have ever taken.I have had no farming experience
but Nature is the best teacher and I am learning fast. When I am
out in the fields or waist deep in water or driving through hilly
terrains, I couldn’t be happier.There is much to be done … it requires
skills in organic farm management, food processing, marketing,
social development, income generation through organic cotton
clothing … the list is endless. I now have a job which is rewarding &
satisfying and keeps me very busy… the money may come some
day. At this point, the farm sustains. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
A designer by profession, Kakoli Banerjee, met Jyoti while
working in the garment trade. Her week-end visits to the farm
soon grew into a desire to be there for good and she opted out
of the corporate world to lead a life with a difference. This is
what she has to say about her journey…
about us