Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I am a proud Indian, always have been and will be:)

The Bishop's house was their office, the nearby church was their control room, cycles were used for ferrying rockets and they used naked eyes to track the smoke plume at thumba in Kerala. They even converted a toilet into a data receiving centre for their first satellite Aryabhata at Bangalore.

From their initial days when infrastructure was not available to yesterday's  Mangalayaan in orbit, The Indian space odyssey has come a long way.

I am  proud to have been associated with ISRO (92-94) and work under some its brilliant engineers for designing outsourced onboard PCB's( printed circuit board). 

 Super Proud of ISRO!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Green story - A story with many beginnings

I have so much to say, share and blog, but all my energy, thoughts and free time are now channelized in an old past time which I have revived recently.

The interest for this pasttime has many origins, infact one of the oldest inspiration dates back to my childhood and my inspiration for this has been my mom who grew up in  her grandfather's  farm estate close to Madras.

A year back seeing my mom grow carrots, okras, microgreens, snake gourd,tomatoes, sitaphal and other plants in their new home 40 kms from Bangalore motivated me to set up my own composting organic veg garden. Although I have a small garden of herbs like tulsi, aloe vera, thai basil, oregano somewhere the interest for growing veggies never took off. It fizzled out citing time and space as excuses.

Then I read about Dr.Nammalvar the organic scientist who passed away last December. He devoted his life to organic growing and spelt out the dangers of hybrid and imported food, in his many talks and lecture. His Ted-X talks on organic growing did leave an impact on me and it helped me turn to desi raw materials.  I started sourcing natti( farm ) vegetables and fruits grown locally rather than hybrid and imported varieties( local shimla apples not the glossy Washington ones). 

Recently, it was my daughter who set up a small garden before she left for hostel. She brought in a small biscuit container and sowed some chilli seeds. The sprouts of the chilli seeds inspired me to grow coriander in a butter container. Now, i have methi sprouting in the cardboard sweet box, tomato plants growing from the kitchen wastes.

Now, I am loosing myself in this magical little green world where seeds from my kitchen masala box are sprouting into microgreens . Some heirloom seeds like amaranth which I sourced from a farmer’s daughter near Salem have bolted and landed freshly cooked on my dining table. The okra despite some challenges is on its way to flower. The Chinese take-away containers, 1kg atta bags and kinley water bottles have turned into planters homing tomato and chilli plants.

The beautiful truth is here that I have tried to change my limitation into a possibility. My balcony is just 10 feet by 2.5 feet. The balcony gets sunlight only on one side and that space is where my laundry line hangs. With a slight breeze the laundry will fall on my tender plants.  The front porch  gets partial sunlight and is playground to pigeons. Infact, a few months back when I grew capsicum plants, the sprouted tiny plants were crushed by the hopping pigeons. It de-motivated me for some time. But once again, I have set out on this green journey.

Now, these limitations & excuses, I have set aside and I realized I must grow my own vegetables. Vegetables that are organic , fresh and chemical free. Vegetables that are produced from wastes thereby helping to reduce the carbon footprint and also contributing to the waste management of the country.

Other than that, the beautiful sights that my organic balcony garden throws are endless. The sprouting leaves, the swaying tender sprigs of coriander that emerged from the crushed seeds, the new bud on the okra plant, the precariously perched dew drop on the chilli leaf, the methi shoots pushing their fragile but adamant selves out of the soil,the exotic fragrance of the thai basil, the sprigs of mexican mint falling all over the container with their unique aroma, the tall green divine tulsi swaying with the breeze, the tiny tomato saplings which emerged from the kitchen waste seeds, the sight of the transplanted seedlings adjusting itself to the new environment, the exotic smell of my compost.....

I can go on and on. about the beauty that surrounds me.... but for now i will share these beauties in pictures. 

I also have to thank many other inspirations like the microgardener site and especially a group called organic terrace gardening. The members of this group, many of who are busy professionals  are  positively charged, keep motivating, inspiring, interacting, inviting  and appreciating each other.   Apart from the above, they volunteer to work with children  in schools to educate them about organic farming, have sessions in corporates and condominiums about waste management and   spelling the dangers of chemical based farming and the poor quality of food that it produces . 

 Yes, there a re a lot of things that go wrong in the world, but these small group of people(around 21k) from all over the world have got together to make a change.  A change of healing the earth and adding soul to the soil. I am proud to be one among them. 

Now check out my beauties......

                                  Spring onions which went into the bread toast
                                The amaranth that rose from some heirloom seeds

                                            were harvested and turned up in the dal fry :)

                                     the flowers of thai basil tossed for salads and are good for making tea
                                  The chilli plants that emerged from a few seeds that were tossed, yet to flower and fruit
  The most revered Indian tulsi adds that divine touch to my garden
                                     Mexican mint useful for treating cold gets into tea and pakoras
                                          The haldi now growing for pongal 2015
                                     most of the  corianderseeds that were sown have burst into small plants. I place them on the ledge for temporary sunning and have to be carefu to remove them . My condomonium does not allow to place pots on the ledge.

 this ledge is the only place in my back balcony where i get direct sunlight from 12noon-3

Got inspired from a gardening site where a person grew potatoes in a big cardboard carton. I immediately picked up the empty sweet dabba that i threw in the bin and turned it into my methi planter

                                                    And look at them now chortling

The tomato saplings that burst forth from kitchen wastes have been transplanted to a 1kilo atta bag

                          another  got transplanted into a  1 litre bottle and is now bolting
                  Despite many difficulties faced from bugs and leafminers, my okra is on its way to flower. Bravo okra!


                           i also grow some flowering plants which host bees, wasps and unique insects. Here don't miss the unique formation of rose leaves like that of trishul 

                                               My kitchen wastes getting composted

In another 30 days they turn into black gold and would be adding soul to the soil . A small effort from me to heal the earth and this will continue. ......my green journey.