”Be the change you want to see in the world’ is what I always told myself when I decided to take up organic farming. After pursuing what I had assumed to be my passion for years, I realized that I was only busy fulfilling my materialistic needs and never really felt content with my endeavors. I grew up in Texas, USA. During my schooling, I often felt a sense of isolation and estrangement from not being accepted for who I was.
My recognition was purely based on my academic performance which I worked hard for to feel a sense of belonging and self-worth. I was working as a full-time software engineer after attending college in Stanford, California. I was exposed to people from all walks of life when I realized I was different from others and had an uncommon perspective. I got inclined towards socially relevant issues and found inspiration in the Gandhian values. In 2003, the condition of disempowered communities in the Iraq war and its extreme violence left a great impact on me. That’s what pushed me to quit my job and leave the country. When I first came to India, I was appalled with the exploitation being faced by low-income farming communities. Motivated to make a difference in this regard, I chose to farm. While these communities faced innumerable obstacles, the simplicity of their lives made them better connected with their conscience and nature. What I considered the fundamental needs of life were merely just luxuries now.
All the things I had been missing throughout my life ‘ the value of community and environment, I now saw as real issues and felt that I need to reach to more communities. I began facilitation as a part of the India Youth Jam which is a week long program where change-makers participate and discuss several social issues concerning our communities and the world. It is a powerful healing space where people share their emotions and support each other in their journeys. Through organic farming and facilitation, I have been able to keep myself grounded and find my purpose. I am now living beyond my materialistic pursuits and consciously pursuing a life of compassion and personal fulfillment.