BENGALURU: It was in 2017 when Dr Deepak Rudrappa, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur, had to decide between buying a luxurious car and a farmland.
Thanks to Dr Jaisheela, his wife and an ENT surgeon, he chose the latter, which has now become a lifeline to Rudrappa's family. Most of the vegetables and fruits grown at the farm make it to his family's dining table.
"I bought the two-acre land at Sondekoppa (30-km from Bengaluru) in 2017 - it was a barren land. I wanted to convert it to a mini-Lalbagh and make it home to a range of fruits, vegetables and plants with medicinal value. Currently, it houses over 16 varieties of flowers, 20 Ayurvedic trees, 18 types of fruits and three types of honey. I believe that any crop that is grown should be first consumed by birds and the leftover would be consumed by my family," says Rudrappa, who has named his farm Belli Chukki, after his twin daughters Ibbani Belli and Mingu Chukki.
From converting the barren land into an agricultural land, the last four years has seen different varieties of plants, fruits and vegetables that he has grown while also busy at the hospital during the weekdays. He does farming on weekends.
The farm consists of flowers such as hibiscus, shanke pushpa, parigathe, anthurium and temple bells, among others, and a variety of honey, like cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. There are also star fruit, barbados cherry, avocado, lakshman phala and more available.
For Rudrappa, farming is a serious passion that translates into a self-satisfying experience. He started farming not for commercial gains or return on investments, but merely to get close to nature. He sources that most of his seeds and Ayurvedic plants from nurseries near Nandi Hill and Hesaraghatta. He's proud to have Lakshmi Taru, an ayurvedic tree, that "helps to fight cancer" as part of his collection.
"As a doctor, days were becoming very hectic with 12-hour shifts and attending to medical emergencies. That is when I turned to farming. Growing crops and managing the farm is an acupressure that helps me de-stress. I ensure to keep all my other work aside, drive my family to the farm and enjoy the greenery around my farmland on weekends," says the 48-year-old.
Interestingly, Rudrappa's love for farming has also inspired his twin daughters who he fondly calls Belli and Chukki. He even got rid of the television set at home so that his children are nurtured without any digital devices at hand.
"I prefer to indulge them in basic farming activities rather than push them into the digital world. We don't have a TV at our home and the only getaway is during the weekends when we go to the farmland. They get to learn and understand the voluminous spread of plants and fruits hand-on," says Rudrappa.
Dr Deepak's mini-Lalbagh
Hibiscus, Torch Ginger, Magnolia, Anthurium, Mexican Sunflower
Lakshman Phala, Star Fruit, Gooseberry, Bread Fruit, Water Apple, Paneer fruit
Lakshmi Taru, Cannonball tree, Silver Oak, Copper Pod Tree