But Kokilashree Alangaram, who quit her lucrative IT career in the US along with her husband Vickneswaran and has taken to full-time farming, responds to this with another question. “How many of us even have the chance to be creative in our nine-to-five job, forget contributing to make the world a better place?”
This will probably be one of the questions she will ask her audience over the weekend in the city at a workshop titled ‘Sustainable Living In Today’s Context’. Kokilashree has been practising permaculture in her twoacre land near Coimbatore. For the uninitiated, permaculture, also known as permanent agriculture, is a system of directly utilising the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems practised by our ancestors across the world. “While it may not be practical for everyone to return to the lifestyle of minimal needs, people are not even ready to appreciate the idea. Even my friends think one should settle down in a village and adopt a similar lifestyle for a sustainable living. I want to break that myth. Sustainable living is about being mindful of what we are doing irrespective of where we are. Being in an urban environment is no barrier,” says Kokilashree.
It was in 2012 that Kokilashree realised that the rat race of humans is taking the world nowhere. “After I became pregnant, I started exploring how I can give a healthy life to my kids. That’s when I came to know about the horrible facts about what we are doing to earth. Sadly, we are not in a state to provide the basic needs — pure water, air and food — to our kids. So, what is the point in helping the corporates grow,” asks Kokilashree, a mother of two. She proudly calls herself a homeschooling mom and doesn’t believe in sending her children to school.
(Kokilashree with her husband Vickneswaran)
In the last two years since she took to farming with family after attending a training programme on permaculture in Auroville, Kokilashree has faced troubles of a regular farmer, but with a smile. “The idea is to live with minimal needs. But I wouldn’t say the transition is complete. My husband works for a small firm to support the family as it will take a while for the land to yield. Last year, the crops failed because the drought was severe. But I find this life meaningful and self-reflective. I could go bird-watching with my kids and pursue my creative interests which wouldn’t have been possible in a corporate environment. Now, I’m able to connect with farmers and their problems in a better way. And my respect for the food and the people who go through a lot of pain to feed you have gone up manifold,” concludes Kokilashree.
Kokilashree’s workshop will be held on April 29 at Yoga Vahini in Besant Nagar