This post is based on an inspiring article I read in the Malayalam Magazine 'Vanitha'. I did some online research on the topic before writing the post. Hope it inspires you also to follow your heart and dare to be different.
In a country with rising farmer suicides due to failing crops and mounting debts, even children from agricultural backgrounds are now refusing to consider it a career option. Kerala is a very small state in India and is very thickly populated. Land is very expensive and there is not much left for farming. Kerala imports ninety percent of its food produces from neighbouring states. It is also one of the few states in India with one hundred percent literacy. With a strong preference for white collar jobs, the youth left their villages lured by the city lights.
This is the real life story of four youths from Kerala who let their high flying jobs to embrace farming and they reaped success and happiness. Initially they had joined the rat race competing with other countless youngsters, racing to gather money, power and position. Their mechanical and monotonous work life left their souls parched and their hearts empty. Haunting questions as to whether they were living to work and whether the aim in life was only to make money, brought together these four youngsters who left their air-conditioned rooms and fancy salaries to follow their hearts to greener pastures.
Tibin Parakkal of Thrissur, worked in an IT firm in Delhi, where he had received an offer from Microsoft. George K .Jose worked for IT giant Infosys. These former friends made a joint decision to quit their jobs and follow their interests in naturopathy and living in harmony with nature. They met animator and graphic designer Manoj Mattil during their quest for knowledge on these topics. They learned about organic farming methods that didn’t use chemical fertilizers or poisonous pesticides.
They experimented in ten cents of agricultural land and with their new methods they did a successful job of planting, raising and harvesting wheat. Their expansion plans required capital and there materialised Rajeesh KR as an answer. Rajeesh who worked in the Dubai hotel industry left his unhappy job and lifestyle to join the trio in their green venture.
The native villagers were scandalised that these foolish youngsters were throwing away high paying jobs and wasting their lives; their families were unhappy and ashamed with their choice of job. There is more prestige in saying my son works in Infosys, than to say that he is a farmer.
To pacify families and quell opposition, they opened a computer shop that dealt in everything from hardware to photoshop. They worked from morning to noon in fields and the reminder of the day in front of the computer. The general perception of a topless farmer wearing a dhoti was challenged and people were amused at the sight of these farmers in jeans carrying laptops in one hand and grain sacks on their backs.
Their maiden farming venture was a great success with harvests over one thousand kilogram of wheat per acre and there was a lot of demand for organically farmed produce. High on their success and having won acclaim from their families and villagers, the four young men continue to follow their hearts to greener pastures.