Chennai couple returns to native village to take up organic farming

Mahesh and his family

Chennai: N Mahesh Anand, a 44-year-old who has served in sales and marketing line for 14 years, quit his job one fine day. Reason? He and his wife, M Sindhuja, were not contented with the mundane life in Chennai. So, they moved to Mahesh’s hometown Vilagam, 15 km from Chidambaram, and launched into organic farming.

That was four years ago and Mahesh does not want to move back to the city now.

“I spent a good amount of my childhood days with my grandparents in my hometown. Although I was successful on the work front, I was unhappy and felt that I was in a rat race. I decided to quit the well-paying job without any second thought in 2014. I informed my wife soon after resigning. She did not even question me, but readily accepted my decision,” says Mahesh.

The organic farm

Within a short span of time, Mahesh got opportunities to work abroad, however, he was clear that he did not want to accept the offers and was keen to be away from city life.

Being in a metropolitan city and earning good money, the couple consciously avoided electronic appliances the past eight years. “When we were in Chennai, we led a life without a refrigerator, inverter and air-conditioner. Many people asked us why we did not even have an inverter and mocked us for not investing despite having wealth; but the plight of villagers in hamlets who still do not have access to electricity convinced me to keep away from such devices,” he adds.

It was not just the robotic life that made the couple embrace the life of villagers, but also constant health issues. Mahesh says, “For a very long time, we suffered from health problems due to intake of tablets, even when my wife was in labour. We understood that the food we consumed was also a contributing factor.”

Later, Mahesh mooted the idea of moving back to the village about which his wife was also supportive. “Hailing from a town, leading a monotonous life was boring for me. I was unhappy, too, and rejoiced at his decision,” smiles Sindhuja.

Since then, as a follower of agricultural scientist and environmental activist Nammalvar, Mahesh has embarked on a journey to be with Nature.

“We had land in our native place spread over 100 acres. My cousins were busy with their lives and grandfather was not able to run the show single-handedly. Only around two-and-a-half acres was remaining. So, I decided to take up the job and do organic farming. I began sowing native seeds and vegetables,” he says, and adds, “Next up, I want to set up orchards in the months to come.”

Work at the farm

While Mahesh does farming, Sindhuja prepares natural dyes and other products and sells them.

HANDS-ON TRAINING

Like everyone, the couple wanted to give good education to their two children and admitted them to a CBSE school while they were in Chennai and even after relocating to Chidambaram.

“After coming here, they studied in a reputed school for a year, following which we decided to home tutor them. For a year, the two children travelled with us and gained practical understanding of life. During the course, we were introduced to a centre – Puvidham – near Dharmapuri,” Sindhuja chips in.

Unlike other schools, Sindhuja states that Puvidham inculcates life skills in addition to regular syllabus. “The centre teaches children things required to lead a life, rather than confining to four-wall-teaching methodology. My children learn physics, chemistry and mathematics while they till the soil for sowing seeds and nourish them into crops. It is not just that, they get hands-on training to build a house without bricks and cement, cooking and carpentry among other skills.”

Bhavani Prabhakar