PALAKKAD: Bhuvaneswari Amma is 62. But her energy belies her age. She runs around her 24-acre organic farm, barefoot. She enters slushy paddy fields to plant saplings and remove weeds alongside workers, shares food with them in the fields. In between, food is packed and delivered to Covid-affected families. She also helps take patients to hospitals and supply medicines. She tutors students living in the vicinity as well.
A resident of Kolayakode, Elapully, Bhuvaneswari’s passion for farming and charity work drives her to go the extra mile. As she walks along briskly, one is tempted to ask: “Where is your footwear?”
“With footwear, I feel like I am moving away from nature,” says Bhuvaneswari.Paddy is cultivated in ten acres and mango orchards constitute a similar area, she says. “Then there is turmeric, jackfruit trees, black gram, black sesame and different flowers.”
She also rears hens, ducks and native varieties of cattle, like Vechur, Kasaragod Kullan and Gir. “The manure for the crops comes from the cattle. There is also a one-and-a-half-acre pond where fish is reared.”
Family support keeps her smiling and enjoying the work, she says.
Dr N Shudhodhanan, a retired deputy director with the animal husbandry department who resides nearby, says Bhuvaneswari spends generously for the benefit of the sick and the needy. “Every week, she provides more than 100 relief kits and food to families struggling with disease and to old age homes. In the past, people in the area used to be abandoned in one corner of their houses when affected by cancer. Now, she helps take such persons to healthcare centres and give them medicines in consultation with medical practitioners,” he says.
It started off with her husband Venkatachalapathy, a maths teacher who retired as the principal of the Government Moyans HSS, receiving a share of the ancestral property in Kolayakode. The couple’s two sons then secured jobs in European countries, and proceeded to ensure their parents’ happiness. They purchased all the adjacent land.
Shudhodanan remembers that the land was full of wild growth two decades ago. The couple initially lived in a modest tiled house. Gradually, they implemented scientific methods and converted the land into a fertile plot through sheer hard work. “At that time, organic farming had not received the hype it now has,” recalls Bhuvaneswari, who is now an active member of the Jaiva Samrakshana Samithy.She has four children — Sajith, Sabith, Sabitha and Aneesh. The 31-year-old Aneesh was adopted by the family when he was six. Bhuvaneswari is a much-loved volunteer of the Sneha Theeram Palliative unit, says K Revathy Babu, president of Elapully panchayat.