11 August 2014

Activists at Bandra Reclamation Road, Mumbai


Intensity – is the word that describes my journey, best. I feel everything intensely. About issues. About children’s, women’s, gay rights. About empowerment. And this intensity pushes me to act.

The same intensity allows me to pay attention to the voice that is often ignored… for e.g. that of the earth!

Fukuoka’s book, One-Straw Revolution first introduced me to the idea that organic farming was more than just about crops.

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Subsequently I came across Sylvia Ashton Warner, talking about organic teaching.

And then the idea that organic lifestyle and sustainability were related.

I was attracted to minimalist living and became a no TV household (for a decade, from age 4 to 14 years, my daughter grew up in a no TV home).

Along the way, I discovered that organic living has some amazing side-effects. I lived with abundance (even though materially I had little). I lived without hoarding – taking only what I needed for today. I lived, trusting that there will be enough when tomorrow comes.

And all this allowed me to channel the intensity into that which needed to be said, that which needed to be done, that which needed to be fought for.

Adventure is the other by-product of living an organic lifestyle. The adventure of living life in the moment. I stopped making plans.

The adventure of being a gypsy, because single motherhood forces women to move (both in the inner and the outer world).

Outer – because women in the situation join the vast majority of single moms who bear the sole financial responsibility of raising children. Combined with a society that wants to see women as victims and anyone choosing to live a life contrary to that diktat is not accepted – so renting a place is a problem, finding a community to belong to is a problem.

Inner – because journeys usually begin when you hit a roadblock. Till then one is a passenger, when you come across an obstacle, suddenly you are thrown into the driver’s seat. Movement is necessary to get to a space in our own mind where you are now balancing being the provider and the nurturer. So from the socially acceptable role of a wife and a mother, I took on the unpalatable part of a single mom and that was the reason for my movement.

My journey has been exhilarating. It has been about highs and lows. I have seen despair and I have seen success. I have lived an intense, adventurous life, which has taught me that there are no promises, that the best I do might not be good enough but it still needs to be done. And that has me attempting to take on the giants in the fight against pesticides in tea.

Click here to clean chai now!

Bindu Vaz is an activist.