CTC Ainthinai – Back To Our Roots - IV - Post Event Write Up

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
CTC Ainthinai – Back To Our Roots - IV - Post Event Write Up

Event Name
                  :  CTC Ainthinai - Tree Plantation Drive 
Place and Date              : Organic Farm, Near Mailam, Tindivanam,
Organizer(s) Name        : Siva
No of Saplings Planted : 50 saplings
Volunteers Count         : 25+

Write up from Kalaiselvi & Kavitha:
Celebrating Organic Scientist Nammalvar's Birthday, a small group started from Chennai on 5th April. The route to Mailam was also well selected through Reserve Forest Area, enjoying Nature all through, Raja Marthandan drove us safely to a homely place "Pathoon Thirukural Aracholai" Mr.Velayudham welcomed us, shared his space with us and had a small conversation.(Adhi contributed well for the continuation) Later went to sleep...?! Got up early as 4.30, freshened up to start work. Saplings were assembled, sorted out as per Iyya's idea; members started working like Bees... Digging, scraping out loose soil, gathering organic fertilizer to each sapling, pouring water, placing the saplings, filling it and of course clicking photos.

All of us enjoyed working together, oops... We forgot to see the time at all, but when we felt hungry, Thinai Kanjhi was ready and hot. It was served with maangai oorugai. Deliciously filling it was, members forgot to share the tumblers for the second sitting. Velayudham Iyya took care that everyone had their fill. He was the last to have his share. His team of helpers, Vellaiponnu, Seetha, Lakshmi and two others started cooking a feast for us. Aiyya took us for a walk in his cholai, shared his knowledge of trees, its medicinal value and much more. It was a rest for our body & refresh for our minds.
 Back again, we returned to plant few more remaining saplings, While I settled with cooking team, picking drumstick leaves, enjoying the fresh aroma of Pirandai thuvaiyal, arising from the Ammi(Mortar/original mixi) . A new group from Pondy joined the team too.They shared their hands in work & enjoyed volunteering, boys helped in restoring the tank on a raised platform. After a good day of work, around mid-day we took a cool bath and assembled to have lunch. Velayudham aiyya spoke about Tamil culture and its values, requested the youth to come forward and work for the upliftment of the society. He thanked CTC for volunteering and welcomed all likeminded to his farm anytime.

 Nammalvar's birthday feast was served...  Sigappu arisi sarkarai pongal, varagu arisi puliyotharai, arisi noi upuma, kathirikkai kadaisal, paavakai varuval, sorakkai poriyal & pirandai thuvaiyal. Buttermilk was served to all. The day was great, it was not only tree planting, and truly speaking it was much much more..... Thanks to Veerakaalai Raja, Organiser Siva, Maasu, Manoj,Adhi, Sandhya........And each and EVERY VOLUNTEER  who shared their precious time at one point of our lives.

Write up from Siva:

What is Special on 6-Mar-2014?
Every day is an important and special day for the people who always love the nature and conserve it. And everyone has their own style of celebrating the events. Being nature enthusiasts, we wanted to Celebrate Organic Agriculturist Dr.Nammalvar Ayya’s birthday in a special and in our own way.

So the event discussions, started few weeks back. And during CTC-Ainthinai Roof Garden Session in Exnora Indrakumar’s House, we came to know from the registrations that 75+ Years of experienced youth name Velaayutham Ayya who came from Pondicherry to participant for that event. At the end of the session one of Organizers Prasanna Ramasamy interacted with him for more than half an hour. During the conversation he came to know that he is retired Tamil Teacher and doing an Organic Agriculture near Mailam, Tindivanam. Prasanna shared the activities which our team have been doing from the past 1 ½ years. Velayutham ayya was impressed with our team’s activity and invited our team to plant the saplings in his farm. And Velayutham ayya wanted to plant the selective saplings which are useful to a family and birds.
After initial arrangements, we shot an invitation to CTC and asking the volunteers to join for the Tree Plantation drive during Dr.Nammalvar Ayya’s Birthday. As the birthday falls in Sunday, we planned to leave Chennai on Saturday and have the night camping at Farm and do the plantations drive on Sunday morning. Finally 25+ people have been turned up for the Tree Plantation drive. Few of them wanted to join on Sunday event. So rest of the people decided to leave Chennai on Saturday itself. As per our plan requested the volunteers to assemble at 3pm, near Aloft Hotel, Sholinganallur. I hope Kalaiselvi and Kavitha had a difficult time to reach Sholinganallur from Perambur. Hats off to you guys on reaching the venue on time. By the way Sinthu and Anitha reached the assembly point. Then all these people along with Sandhiya are boarded into Raja’s car.

Regarding the saplings, it was decided to procure it from ISHA Green Hands nursery from Chengalpat. So Aravindh, Ponraj and I booked a Tata Ace from Rajakizhpakkam and started our journey in Tata Ace towards Chengalpat. Along this way Manoj and Arun Prasad joined with us in Bike. Ponraj and I were worried to travel in backside of the Tata Ace due to the hot sun. But luckily, we got the shade due to the Sun’s direction. It was a great experience on travelling in back side of the Tata Ace in GST High Road. We had a thrilling experience while the vehicles are overtaken us and being overtaken by us.
After an hour of travel, we reached nursery and we started choosing the saplings. We chose ‘Peepal’, ‘Naaval’, ‘Iluppai’, ‘Magilam’, ‘Mandharai’, ‘Bamboo’, ‘Neer Maruthu’, ‘Ainthilai Paalai’, ‘Neem’ and ‘Baadam’ saplings for the plantation. Once we arranged the saplings in Tata Ace, we again started our journey towards the farm. In between we received a call from Raja who is heading ahead of us and told that they were having a Coffee and Snacks in a high way restaurant. After hearing that we started thinking about ‘Kumbakonam Coffee’ and ‘Snacks’. So we stopped in one of the ‘Kumbakonam Degree Coffee shop’ and tasted the Coffee along with Snacks. After having 20 mins break, we started our journey. This time Manoj joined with us in the backside of the Tata Ace and Arun was alone riding his bike. After half an hour of journey, we met Raja’s car in the highway. After seeing we guys are travelling in Open Tata Ace, Sandhiya jumped out of Raja’s Car and joined with us. We resumed our job of teasing and cracking the jokes. In between Sanjeev and Adhik joined with us Tindivanam Toll Gate.
Around 7.30 we reached Kooteripattu, where we need to take deviation from the High way. So we decided to finish our dinner in that small town. As it was taking time, Tata Ace driver wanted to leave as early as possible to Chennai. So Aravindh, Manoj, Sinthu, Arun Prasad and I headed towards the farm by getting guidance from local people and Velayutham Ayya. After 20 mins of travel, we met Velayutham Ayya, with white colored cotton zippa with dothi and a solar powered lantern on his hand. He guided us into his farm and at the entrance of the Farm we arranged the saplings and paid the transportation charge for the Tata Ace. And then we walked along with Velayutham ayya with the help of Lantern light and area which is surrounded by lot’s eucalyptus tree. The farm is protected by a Solar Fencing and we just bent our bodies and entered into his farm. After settling down, Velayutham Ayya started sharing his experience with us. After half an hour time, Raja along with the team reached the village and asked us the route to reach the farm. So I took the lantern and went to the entrance of the farm and received them to the farm.

After parking the car and Bikes, we headed towards the farm. Once everyone was relaxed, we kept the tarps outside of the hut. And everyone sat outside of the hut and Velayutham ayya welcomed everyone to his farm and started sharing his experience, knowledge, personal life and lot of information. It was a great session with lot of questions/ humorous questions, interactions, teasing. In between, Parthiban and Arun Prasath were started around 8pm from Chennai and Yuvanik Vikrem and Sreenivasan were commuted by Govt Bus. Once these people reached Kooteripattu, Raja and I started towards that place to pick these guys to the farm.
And we picked our friends from the Bus stop and headed towards the Farm. While returning, after seeing our car, Police gave the green signal and didn’t stop us. Once we reached there, the session was over and most of the people were started sleeping there or pretended to sleep there by counting the stars on the sky. After few mins, we thought of having a walk around the farm. So we (Raja, Manoj, Ponraj, Arun Prasath, Seenivasan, Arun Prasad and I) took a tarp and walked away from the hut. In a 50mt distance, there was a building which is being constructed. So we sat there and started cracking the jokes and teasing the each and every one. But unluckily I was being teased by most of the time. More than 60% of the time, my topics were discussed. We never felt the sleep, though it was dew droppings. After we got tired of teasing, everyone was felt hungry. So we came back to the Hut and collected few snacks, bananas and water and filled our dummies and recharged our body. Again the cracking of jokes continued for the entire night without sleep.

And morning it was around 6.20am; we formed a chain and carried the saplings from the outside farm to the plantation spot. Once all the saplings have been brought there, per Velayutham Ayya’s advice, we started keeping the saplings nearer to the pits. Masu and Arun Prasath started marking the new plantation spots as suggested by Velayutham Ayya.  The greatest thing was that, already Velayutham ayya marked the plantation spots by digging half feet and filled them with water in the previous day. This made our job easier and our guys got two crowbars and two garden hoes. Using the crow bars, Raja and I started digging the pits further. Sinthu, Manoj, Ponraj and Anitha are helping to remove the loosed soil from the pits using the garden hoe, hand and empty coconut shells.  Sandhiya, Kavitha, Adhik, Sanjeev along with few other people, started collecting the manures for the saplings. And Kalaiselvi mam showed so much enthusiasm on the fields. As she didn’t get either crow bar or Garden Hoe, she started digging the pits using the strong and narrow edged wooden stick. She got the great success on this. After some time her daughter, Kavitha also joined with her mom and stared digging the pits. After seeing them, I remembered a proverb “Vallavanuku Pullum Aayutham”.
In between Sinthu(Iron Lady), brought the bunch of dried grasses in order to use them as a mulching. Hats off to our Iron Lady for identifying the bunch of dried grass and leafs. Our mokka boy cum Masu’s Hard Core Fan (: P), Yuvanik Vikrem started collecting the sticks to provide the support for the saplings. In between our friends Selva and Arun from Pondicherry joined with our team along with one Crowbar and two Garden Hoes. Once the necessary pits were digged, we asked Velayutham Ayya to plan the first saplings in his farm with the remembrance of Dr. Nammalvar Ayya’s Birthday. Once Velayutham Ayya planted the first sapling, we requested each and every volunteer to plan the saplings on Dr.Nammalvar Ayya’s birthday. Kumaresh, Parthiban, Masu, ArunPrasath and everyone in the team were busy on planting the saplings and digging the pits. Meanwhile Aravind was busy on bring the water in a big bowl and started watering the planted saplings.  

After few hours of continuous work, we headed towards the hut to take relax. Meanwhile the breakfast “Thinai Kanchi” was being ready. Every one washed their hands and face and sat on the shades and started cracking the jokes until the breakfast was ready to be served in our plate. Meanwhile Raja got a call from his friend, so Raja, Manoj and I started towards Tindivanam to meet him. So we missed the chance of tasting the yummy “Thinai Kanchi”. After meeting Raja’s friend, we returned back to Farm around 12 pm. Meanwhile team has planted remaining saplings in and around the huts. And our gang started taking showering in the Solar Powered Water pumps.
The farm has been designed in the prime motive of utilizing the natural resources in a proper way. There is no electricity in the farm. Only source of light on night is Solar powered lanterns. They have solar power operated fencing, solar powered motor pumps and hand pumps for watering. After taking the shower, the yummy and traditional lunch was ready. Everyone started tasting the millet lunch. I hope most of the people have tasted the millet food first time in their life. The lunch menu was Sweet Pongal, Thinai Ponga, Upma, Brinjal Curry, Bitter Guard fry, butter milk and a Banana. After everyone had the lunch, we started our katcheri outside of the hut. We formed a circle and our dance master Selva from Pondicherry started performing his talents of Belly dance, Snake dance. And then we assembled there to take a group pic with Velayutham Ayya.

After taking the group pic, we assemble once again inside the hut and started providing the information about Dr.Nammalvar, his knowledge, protest, ideas and lot more information. It was a great day to get more information from a 60+ years of experienced youth. After finishing of the session, we started our journey towards Chennai. We thanked Velayutham Ayya for permitting us inside his farm and the wonderful accommodation cum food and lot of information.
And at the end we calculated the total expenses for the trip and settled the account and closed it. After that everyone started their journey towards Chennai. Nobody was feeling tired during this trip because of the enjoyment which we had. The entire trip was awesome with like minded people towards the nature conservation activity on Dr.Nammalvar Ayya’s Birthday. It was a great time to listen the old legends experience and their way how they tackled the issues which they faced in their life. Velayutham Ayya shared lots of information which will be helpful for this current generation. I was proud on touching the crowbars after a long time and getting the palm skin was peeled off due to friction with the Crow bars. Those are the souvenirs for our guys who always love to touch the crowbars to dig the pits. 

Team Ainthinai



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