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Jagriti Yatra Day 6: Tamil Birthdays


Today was my birthday and what a unique birthday it was. Last year I was skiing in the Pacific Northwest of the US. This year I was in rural Tamil Nadu learning about Indian farming techniques. We were supposed to meet with R. Elango, a man who developed his entire village. How, you ask? I have no idea. R. Elango was not available so we ended up hearing from a farmer who was also very successful…for himself. A large, rich farmer. I was unimpressed. He spoke most about the soil and learning to give the appropriate preparation and nutrients to the soil in order to achieve maximum yield. It was a very technical talk overall. When asked about farmers’ cooperatives he laughed and said he paid his farmers the appropriate amount. He leased his land to many farmers, was very effective in his methods, and made boatloads of money. The farm itself was gorgeous: bananas, gourds and capsicums abounded and the Yatris soon abandoned the farmer’s talk to go explore his crop. As the sun set over the Tamil skyline, we made our way back to our train, our smelly blue metal home for the night. My birthday over, a Tamilian adventure complete.