It was January 2020 when we made an unexpected trip to Thirthahalli, a beautiful remote village in Karnataka. One of our newly made friends was born and brought up in Thirthahalli and they are planning to purchase a farmland near there. They invited us to visit their house for a fun trip and join them in their search for a farm. At this point in time, we were not even prepared to purchase a farm. We tagged along because our friends were on the search and we thought we can get some experience of the process if we ever want to go that route. But how did we meet these folks and what led us to believe we could do farming?
Since the time we started to unschool our daughter, we have been meeting various unschooling parents to get their perspective and experience. We, or to more accurately put it, my better half and daughter have been going to some unschooling and home schooling meetups that happen all around Bangalore. We got contacts from blogs and internet and joined a few WhatsApp groups. Once in a while the parents in these groups would meet in a park or somebody’s house to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We hosted one such meetings, and that is where we met them.
We have been doing a little bit of organic gardening around the house and on the terrace by this time. One of the family had similar interest but went beyond that. They wanted to purchase a farm with lots of trees, almost like a forest and move into that. We were intrigued by the idea. They on the other hand were intrigued by the fact that we retired and wanted to follow a similar path. They were both doctors and were living in a different country at the time. They were planning to move to India in a couple of years and wanted to move into a farm house. Since their children were also unschooled they did not have any constraints of living near a city. Moreover, if they retire, they don’t need to be near city or even a village.
Later on, there have been some phone conversations and eventually when they visited India, to look for a farm, they asked us if we want to join. That is how we made the long drive to Thirthahalli to meet them. As I mentioned before, we were not half serious about farm yet. It was just a thought and something that we thought we might do at some later point in life. We visited a few farms and joined in the discussions as they talked with owners and neighbors.
All I can say is that this is an exceptionally beautiful place. The mesmerizing greenery hugging the road is something out of the world. We liked the drive and the farms. The initial discussion with the friend was that we may be interested in buying a small portion of what they purchase although we might not move in immediately with them. I moved the money that we would need for this purchase into an ultra short term debt fund because we might soon need the money to buy it.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 was spreading very fast and in March 2020, a country-wide lockdown was announced in India. Even more unfortunate thing was that the fund I chose for setting aside the money for the farm was Franklin Ultra Short Term debt fund which in April 2020, just 3 months after our visit to the farms, froze all assets because of an illiquidity situation. Thanks to lockdown, we can’t buy the farm, but even worse was that we cannot even take back our money. Such was the situation at the time.
Anyway, the doctors also could not move to India and also could not purchase the farm along with us. It would take another 2 years before we or they could start thinking about farm again. That and what happened next in an upcoming post. It is like they say – show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. We are generally the average of our friends. Ever since we started unschooling and meeting people our average was shifting towards unschooling, sustainable living, farming etc. Or may be it is that like minded people tend to bond. Whatever the case may be, new ideas started to trickle in.