THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ever given a thought whether you are having a job for a living or living for a job? When Unnikrishnan, a bank officer, had an introspection some years back, he didn’t think twice on leaving a job which squeezed out all his time and energy. One fine morning in 2001, he left the plum post of an officer with a nationalised bank and chose to earn a living from farming. Today, you could spot him selling vegetables and a host of agri-products in a makeshift stall in front of his residence on Kochar Road. And accompanying him is his business partner Robinson, a sixty-two-year-old farmer from Nedumangad.
For Unnikrishnan, who had a love for farming since childhood, it was a turning point in his life when he was appointed agricultural officer at the Nedumangad branch of the bank where he was working. ‘’It was then that I realised how pathetic the lives of our farmers are. More than money, what they lack is proper planning,’’ he said.
During his tenure as agricultural officer, he had around eighty farmers in his friends’ circle who approached him not just for banking purposes. ‘’I advised them all to keep a record on their spending, earnings and profit. It helped them a lot in planning the next crop,’’ he said.
Nedumangad also gifted him a friend. When he quit the job to opt for full-time farming, he sought the help of Robinson, the friend, to start a new venture. Today, Robinson brings vegetables to the stall, while Unnikrishnan grows the saplings for sales. The sales, which begin around 3 pm, end by 8 pm. Besides saplings, grow bags and bio-fertilisers, they also sell homemade pickles and squash produced by like-minded friends.
Unnikrishnan’s house, which has all possible vegetable saplings growing on the premises, also doubles up as a consultancy centre for those interested in setting up a kitchen garden. ‘’The real question is whether you are interested or not? If yes, you could find sufficient space, on the courtyard, terrace or anywhere else,’’ he says.
The former bank officer also finds time for several other passions in his second life. Reading, cinema, sports, multi-level marketing and motivation classes for youngsters are a few of them. Unnikrishnan, who now plans some welfare activities for farmers, wants society to give more respect to the farmers. ‘’My dream is a society where the farmer is addressed as ‘Sir’’’, he says. His wife Latha B Pillai supports him in all his endeavours.
Had he been in service, he would have become an area general manager now. To those who ask whether he now repents the decision to quit his job, he replies in the affirmative: ‘’Yes, I do, it should have been done earlier.’’