The Urban Farmer By Karma

Jul 26, 2017

I am Manasvini, an urban farmer by karma and a textile designer by profession; I love writing, reading and wildlife photography. It was in 2007 that I was blessed with Agastya, my son. He is the most obedient, responsible and supportive kid with superb intellect. I was working with an export house as sampling in-charge, being a textile designer by profession. After enjoying Agastya’s childhood, I wanted to get back to work but being away from family I didn’t have anyone to take care of my son; hence I suppressed my desire.

Taking a detour

By now he was 3 years old and I found my interest in reading about different art forms out of which I found Islamic art form really enticing.  It was rich in culture, color and history.  So, I started reading more and more about it and ended up compiling a script on Islamic calligraphy, pottery, and architecture.  After trying to send the synopsis to few people, I figured out that it wasn’t going to work as I didn’t have the correct connections to sell my research to relevant channels.  So, I was back to square one after spending some 7-8 months doing all the research, but I had in the process enriched myself with so much knowledge that I could talk about it with people; and then came some more like-minded people and I was attracted to the idea of approaching people who were doing something unique and write about them.

New connections

It was 2011 that I connected with a group of people and became one of the directors with Artconnect where we tracked down creative people with some difference, meet them, talk to them and then write about them.  It was going great as I Ioved meeting new people and I was also writing about them; that happens to be my interest area as well.  Finally, this too came to an end only to begin with the better times with Navyaham with the same group of people where we were creating artworks of Hindu mythology and bringing them on T-shirts. It was an amazing project and I was really enjoying it.  All was well until the time I was denied my pay and was taken for granted for a good 6 months.  I had to take the most difficult call because Navyaham had become my reason to wake up every morning.  I quit it in December 2011 and went into depression for a good 2 months, but nature had something amazing for me in the form of this new bunch of people I had met through some common friends while I was painting walls in Bandra (read murals) with them.  While I was failingly trying meditation, organic farming came in as a savior at that point. There was this group of people who were setting up an organic food garden at Tata Actrec, Kharghar which was a stone’s throw away from my place and I had no reason not to go.

Discovering a love for urban farming

It was April 2012.  I went the next day and kept going as a volunteer who would need instructions on dos and don’ts.  I kept volunteering for a good 2 years when one day I was asked to take charge of the farm that included taking care of the 30000 sq ft of the area where we had been growing seasonal vegetables, herbs and fruits since 2012 till date, with 2 gardeners and volunteers.  We have been growing organic produce for the kids who stay here for their chemotherapy which goes on for 3-6 months and this kind of food supports them at a holistic level.

It hasn’t been easy as Agastya was still very young with no one to take care of him at home, but I had wonderful neighbors who supported me by taking care of him while I used to be at the farm; and finally when he turned 7, I slowly taught him to be independent.  He started using oven to warm his food, make bread butter, change his clothes and keep them back in place, do his homework/studies while I was at work.  Simultaneously, I also started working on my artworks and selling them with my friend Asmita under the name Aghaaz.  Making our kids independent not only helps us, it also makes them grow in life and be on their own.  This is all about my journey.
Manasvini Tyagi

Manasvini Tyagi

Manasvini Tyagi is based in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai since 2006. She is a Textile Designer by profession and was on Khadi Gramodyog panel of junior designers where she had taken up a project back in 2005.  Now she has a brand called Aghaaz with her friend Asmita Sharma where she works on her artworks.  Since 2012, she has been actively involved in Urban Farming and has taken it up as a profession.  She teaches gardening/kitchen gardening at schools/preschools and also conducts workshops for kids and adults.

4 Comments

  1. Pratibha nair

    A vibrant young modest learned calm person n professional I know
    Proud to know you dear

    Reply
  2. Sindhu Nolasco Dsouza

    Whenever I have met her I have felt such a positive feel from her… Very sweet and so peaceful as a person. I am so happy to read this wonderful article about her. All the best Manasvi… You are doing such a wonderful job! All the best to you & God bless you!

    Reply
  3. Kavita

    Way to go Manasvini… proud to be your friend ??

    Reply
  4. Bijoux Rajan

    you were always my inspiration thank you for being in my life. All i can say you are a spirit of my happiness…

    Reply

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