Monsoon has never been so erratic in Kerala as this year, much less rainfall to be precise. It wasn’t that bad though; early morning outbursts and cooling sunset rains make life virtually comfortable and consistent. The season’s ayurveda treatments and diet have become popular with visitors and locals, and it’s a time to relax and eat healthy, simple food.
Stimulations for organic farming have taken a big swing as the new government initiated wonderful support to encourage farmers; it has been a concern recently about vegetables imported from other states and grown with heavy dose of chemicals. They say the upcoming festival season will bring about changes, and Kerala will become self-sufficient by growing all vegetables organically.
At Rasa Gurukul, we had the privilege of hosting the first group of children from local schools. It was wonderful to watch them running around plants and vegetables. The highlight of the event was the interaction around the kitchen. Looking at their faces, one understood how much they enjoy nature. Most of them came from neighbouring villages and were born to agrarian families.
As torchbearers of the future, children have huge challenges to preserve the charm of traditions and elevate its spirit so that it will harmonise with their modern life. Most importantly, old cultures will surround their comfort zone in case technology and modern lifestyle fail to produce lasting happiness or cause emotional imbalance. In today’s busy environment, we see people suffering from loneliness and unusual health problems in spite of success and family in close vicinity.
So the suggestion is to get children close to Nature, Food and People so that their entire life will be blessed with wealth of love and healthy friendships. This is why we invited local schools to bring their students to our farm, and introduced them to agriculture, art, and interaction with the elderly around a working kitchen.
We introduced story-telling in the kitchen and a small Q&A at the farm by the river. Children were relaxed in both places, and teachers were excited as there was nothing to be controlled, and children demonstrated better mannerisms and togetherness. In a way it’s a creative opportunity to open up their own thinking space and choose their destiny from a small age by being exposed to simplicity and experience of practical life skills. Ultimately, we all aim to enhance a better world with dynamic young population.
Our students from shelter homes have completed almost one year with us. They have become experts in farming, cooking and other holistic activities. It was a treat watching them explain the plants and their fruits to schoolchildren. We heard one of them saying: “So okra comes from this plant? I thought it was made in the supermarket where we shop!”
Before sunset, the Life Valley International School team visited us with a remarkable story of their school and teaching philosophy. They explained how students and teachers eat together and feed each other as they sit in small groups. What a beautiful way to establish bonding and realise the flow of love in food!
The writer is a London-based restaurateur, who owns the Rasa chain of restaurants. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org