Here’s a 2 minute video of how we made the natural boulder wash basin at Vaksana Farms. It’s been a dream of mine to have a few. But then turning the dream into reality took some insane effort and tons of patience. Watch the video to understand why.
Over the last few years, my family and I have been focused on greening up our farm. We have painstakingly planted hundreds of fruit saplings in our vision to grow a healthy food forest. The reason my wife and I put in so much heart into this place is that we know that we are sculpting our own retirement place. We are also conscious of the fact that this place cannot be an expensive hobby. Make no mistake. The farm does suck away a lot of money. In order to make sure that the place pays for itself, I have thought through many business ideas. One such is by starting a farm stay business where people can come to experience rural life.
Recently, I watched a video tour of Tony Robbin’s 525-acre resort in Fiji. It is not only a resort but also (one of) Tony Robbin’s home. I love how he build a business around his dream that is a profit center. It is also a place where he conducts one of his signature workshops.
This is pretty much what I want to model Vaksana Farms. It should be a place for me to conduct workshops and people can come over to stay at the farm. Currently, I have thought of having 11 small homes that act as accommodation for the farm stay business. It doubles up as a reunion spot for our family and friends. One of the things I enjoy most is having people I love come over and stay.
This is the next project that I’m very excited to start working on. If you are an architect, a resort aficionado, a farmpreneur or an eco-enthusiast, do connect with you and I would love to share my ideas and take your views.
For over two years, I’ve been wanting a natural wash basin outside our farm house. The bamboo pipe is made from bamboo that was grown in our farm. It took many months to see this idea comer to reality. This long process deserves a separate blog post. Will share shortly.
Every Bhogi day makes me sad to see how humanity comes together to cause harm to itself. The smog is so thick in my village that you could mistake it for Delhi.
Bhogi is a day of transformation where all old habits, vices, attachment to material things are sacrificed. Its when people discard old things and concentrate on new things causing change.
There are so many other ways of discarding things other than burning.
This morning, I woke up to see old sarees and clothes being burned at my farm. A better way to discard would have been to use as mulch for the fruit saplings.
I wish people saw the deeper meaning of the day.
I’m putting together an Instagrammers Meetup at Vaksana Farms. This is a two-day retreat and unconference where 12 of the most passionate and creative Instagrammers in India will get-together for a weekend of intense knowledge sharing and learning…and sheer fun.
This InstaMeet will be part of the global meetups happening around the world. This is unique because it happens on an organic farm while most others happen in cities.
The event venue is a small farmhouse in the middle of a 13-acre farm.
This is not a commercial event. This is a community event that works on gift economy. It’s a no-profit and no-loss event where everyone equally pitches in. All expenses including food (breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner), basic stay, labor, event materials etc will be equally shared by the participants.
If you are an Instagrammer who is fascinated with travel, landscapes, architecture, rural or creative photography, this will be a perfect fit. There are only 12 slots available for this Instameet. We welcome Instagrammers to apply. You are welcome to apply together with friends too. So, do tag your friends.If interested, please fill this form. https://goo.gl/forms/xtlPOiAclUwbyW4E2
Ankit Lal is a founding member of Aam Aadmi Party and a council member. He helped strategize the social media campaigns during AAP’s election victory. Ankit has stitched together a book titled ‘India Social’ with examples of various events and instances where social media played a significant part. You can feel his passion for the medium as you read this book.
We were fellow speakers at Talk Journalism 2017 and Ankit had a discussion with me on the sidelines fo of the conferences for the book. There’s a short paragraph in the book on page 229 which has my thoughts.
Wishing Ankit the very best for his entrepreneurial venture in digital and social media marketing.
In 2018, my goal is eat at a different restaurant everytime I eat out. This is the challenge I’m taking on.
Why? Because life needs spicing up. I’m finding opportunities to continuously step out of my comfort zone. And my family’s. My daughters have a notorious fascination for biriyani and that’s almost a standard order. Through this goal, we’d look to try different cuisines.
What did I have for dinner? Mutton Boti (gizzards made of intestines, liver and stomach) and goat blood fry. I’ve never had them before in my life. Never wanted to. Now did it to kickstart the challenge. Wish me luck.
This blog post is dedicated to a rare set of people who respect advice given and go on to accomplish things in life. These three people I hand picked are to inspire the rest of us to actively look for ideas and suggestions and more importantly execute them.
My first pick is Chetan Mahajan, a corporate honcho who held senior positions including CEO of HCL Learning and has since quit the rat race. He has moved to a quaint little village in the Himalayas to pursue his passion for writing. A common friend had connected the two of us. I wanted to get Chetan on my ‘First Book Podcast‘ where I interview authors. He wrote his book, ‘The Bad Boys of Bokaro‘ in while in Jail and that made for a compelling story. After recording the interview, we continued to talk when he told me that one of us future book ideas could be on his own experience quitting the corporate life for a quiet life. He even had a nice title, ‘The Rat who Refused to Race’. That’s when I mentioned in the passing that starting a community blog with a group of people like him who pursue other passions could be a good marketing strategy. He immediately went ahead with the idea and started the UnCity blog. Well, the book never saw the light of the day but the blog took a life on its own. Two weeks ago, the UnCity blog won the IndiBlogger ‘Best Indian Blogger Award’ in the humor section.
Amar Ramesh was a tech professional in his earlier avatar. After spending a decade in the US, he made the life-altering decision to move back to India to pursue his passion for photography full time. In the few years he has been here, he has built StudioA, one of the most creative photography and videography firms. He recently won the Fearless Award, a prestigious award considered to be the Oscars of the Wedding Photography World.
Early last year, I decided to get out of my blogging hiatus by taking up ‘The 1000 Days Content Challenge’. It’s a way to force myself to blog regularly. Amar Ramesh jumped in and decided to join the challenge too. Fast forward and while I have faltered here and there, Amar has been super consistent and continues to produce high-quality content every day.
Stalin Rajkumar is an IT veteran with a deep interest in writing. One of his bucketlist goals is to author a book. He attended the Unconference on Book Authoring I conducted and took inspiration from the 100 Day Book Authoring Challenge to realize his dream. He is now the proud author of ‘Broad Daylight’.
The three persons I mentioned above are all highly self-driven professionals. The thing that clearly differentiates them from the rest is the ability to capture ideas, build on suggestions and finally take the ideas to fruition.
On January 4th, 2018, the girl in the photo above passed away. She was afflicted with Erwing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects young people. Before she passed away, she penned her thoughts on life in the last few months. Her family shared this on Facebook after her demise.
There is some invaluable life advice in the letter. The one that reverberated the most with me is to not take the small setbacks seriously and to be grateful for what we have. Living happily is more important than to live a life full of material possessions.
She may be young but her thoughts are profound. Here is the letter Holly wrote.
I’ve noticed that some of the most honest life advice comes from people who are at the end of life. At that stage, people are genuine and they have the unique ability to look at the larger picture. This is what motivated me to collate these valuable lessons into a book called, ‘UnKick the Bucket : How Near-Death Experiences Teaches Us the True Priorities in Life’.
Today I visited CuriCrush, the latest cold press smoothie and juice bar at Elliot’s Beach, Besant Nagar, Chennai. A real pleasure to see my friend Venkatesh Pannirchelvan’s entrepreneurial dream come to life.
Cold press juices retain much of the flavour and nutrients as the fruits are crushed at a slower 60 rpm with special cold press machines while regular juice shops do it in mixies that rotate at 20,000 rpm.
All juices are mixed with tender coconut water instead of water.
If you visit Bessie beach next time, you should definitely visit CuriCrush and try their natural juices and smoothies.