The Crop Connect team recently spent a week in Majkhali, near Ranikhet in Uttarakhand working on a report on organic agriculture and financing needs in the value chain. We stayed in a rented holiday home of a family kind enough to let us use their lovely property and were hosted by our key collaborator on the report, Mr. Ajay Rastogi a veteran environmentalist. His house, a few houses away from our temporary residence, was located on a slight elevation nestled in thick foliage making it a few degrees cooler at any time of the day. This is where we spent 6 days working and eating, fully exposed to the joys as well as the trials and tribulations of living a fully organic life.
What then is one might ask an organic life? Imagine eating mooli (radish) parantha for breakfast made of a mooli plucked 15 minutes before cooking. Imagine researching and writing a report in the middle of June on a table in the midst of trees and not feeling the need for even a fan. Imagine having kadi (Indian spicy yogurt soup) for lunch made not of pre-processed besan atta (chickpea flour) but of freshly ground chickpeas. And but of course, the afternoon tea made of ‘just plucked’ lemongrass. Every flavor in every morsel stands out because it has been grown naturally in a happy and healthy soil. You eat only what is freshly made. And what is left over along with skins and seeds is fed to the house cow who fed us back with her milk, curd and ghee.
In the absence of information overload and city life distractions, it was easier to be in the present. This meant that not only could we focus well on our report but also that we could listen to our bodies and its circadian clock. We were sleeping 9 hours, having beautiful conversations, eating healthy food and being productive all while having a great time. Not a bad life!
It is during this week that I understood the true meaning of living an organic life. Accordingly to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word organic means “of relating to or derived from living organisms”. While living a city life in Delhi, organic is only about buying organic food and produce. We falter even in that as we are totally unaware of the many different ways of labeling organic and near organic produce, something I will address in another post. Coming back to an organic life – it dawned on me that surrounding oneself with life of every form including the realization that we are ourselves fully alive organic creatures, is the true organic life.
When every grain, vegetable and fruit has a story behind them,
When the breeze alerts one of approaching monsoon clouds
And the first beetle the arrival of dusk.
When conversations are simple and uncomplicated
And I feel the air I breathe reach the tip of my toe
And the natural call of melatonin.
A calm voice in me gently murmurs
This indeed is the organic life.