Ambiance

This is a prep-work for all participants in our workshops. I want to set the expectation right and to see that you come prepared for the learning experience.

Checklist of things you should bring

  • Sleeping bag, pillow, sheets and tent if you want to use one.
  • Toiletries – Towel, toothbrush etc. Generic soap, toothpaste, washing detergent are there but if you use something specific then get it with you.
  • Medicines – Any specific medication that you need to use during the period of the workshop.
  • Notebook and pen – to take notes of what you have learnt
  • Tea/Coffee mug and water bottle
  • Torch – you will need one on dark nights.
  • Clothes – Just casual wear ones that you won’t feel bad about if they get awfully dirty.
  • Slipons or slippers – to wear while doing projects.
  • Hat – A must for keeping your head cool (no pun intended).
  • Sunglasses – Optional – to look cool and to keep your eyes cool.
  • Tools – if you have- get an electric drill, a screw driver, pliers and a hammer.
  • Food – Any specific diet or food needs you or the children have.
  • Books you would like to gift in give it forward mode.
  • Plenty of enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, minimalistic lifestyle expectations and tons of smiles. The goal of this workshop is to have fun while learning. Come with that attitude.

Arrival

Try to be here at least one day before the workshop.
If you can come earlier then that is better. There is plenty of prep work and you can participate in it. Coming in early will help you learn more.  For those who want to stay after the workshop, they can do so. I consider all workshop participants as family members and I want you to feel likewise. Please let me know your arrival date and time so that I can make arrangements for your arrival.
If someone needs directions for using public transit then let me know and I will provide you the required information.

Weather

November – February (Winter)

Minimum 12 deg. Celsius during the night
Maximum 25 deg. Celsius during the day

March – June (Summer)

Minimum 20 deg. Celsius during the night
Maximum 40 deg. Celsius during the day

June – Oct (Monsoon)

Low Range: 12-20 deg. Celsius during the night
High Range: 20-40 deg. Celsius during the day
The monsoons are WILD and WET. This area gets 3000 mm of rain per year which is 10 feet of water. So plan your clothes strategy accordingly.

Projects and learning

All projects that I am doing are things that I plan to use on a daily basis. So these projects are not specifically designed for workshops. I am conducting workshops around these projects because of requests from friends that these projects are an opportunity to share my learning with a wider audience. Hence the focus of these workshops is learning and not accomplishment. The list of projects/activities I have provided is only a guideline. On the first day of the workshop I will put out a list of activities and based on the interests of the participants we will decide what we will work on. I call this collaborative learning. I am also learning together with you. This is a hands on workshop. There is minimal talking and lots of doing. So be prepared to get your hands dirty. Please bring along a hammer, pliers, screw driver and electric drill (don’t buy one just for the workshop – just get what you already have).

Accommodation

For those who have tents and want to use them this is an opportunity to put them to good use. Please get your own sleeping bags, pillows and sheets. I have some mattresses and pillows but there aren’t enough for everyone.
All construction on the farm is bamboo based and uses locally available building materials. There are two bamboo based huts of 200 sq.. ft. each. The huts are called ‘Casa’ – (‘Home’ in Spanish) because I like the Spanish phrase “Mi Casa Su Casa” which means “My home, is your home too”. I live in Casa Uno which I share with my visitors too. It has a 110 sq. ft. wooden loft in addition to 200 sq. ft. of floor space. It can sleep 8 people. Casa Dos has 2 Queen size bunk beds and the rest of the floor space provides good sleeping space too. It has accommodated 11 kids and their 6 mothers (a total of 17) in the past.
Casa Dome is ready and has 400 sq. ft of space at the base level, 350 sq. of space at level 1 and about 200 sq. ft. of space (it is like a loft) above level 1. The base and level can accommodate 30 people and the loft (primarily used for sleeping) can sleep 15 people.
There are three bathrooms, two Indian style toilets and one western style compost toilet. The two Indian toilets are connected to a septic tank. The grey water from the bathrooms and wash basins are fed to plants. A 300 litre solar water heater is there to provide hot water.
There is a kitchen with gas based cooking facility. The kitchen has all the provisions for daily cooking needs. The food cooked is vegetarian which includes eggs. During the workshop we will be cooking our own food. There is a banana plantation on the farm. So during the harvest period you can have all the organically grown and organically ripened bananas you can eat.
The place has State Board provided electrical supply. In addition there is a 7.5 KVA generator set which is run by a 13 HP Power Tiller (mini tractor). There is a bore-well with a water pump. The overhead water storage tanks store 6000 litres of water. The bore-well provides good quality drinking water. In addition there is a passive filtered drinking water facility.
There is no TV. 3G WIFI Internet is available on the farm. 2G Mobile telephone & data coverage is available from a few service providers namely. Vodaphone is by far the best. IDEA and BSNL work as well.

Environment

The farm is a no alcohol, no smoking, no drugs zone. It is in the wilderness close to forest land. There is no human habitation within 1 km radius of the farm. There is no air pollution, water pollution or light pollution. There are no outside lights. Hence use a torch when going out at night.
There are very few insects or mosquitoes. I have had malaria ten times in my life. So I take great pains to reduce the presence of mosquitoes. There are scorpions and snakes in the area. The scorpions are of the non-lethal variety. There have been no deaths from scorpion or snake bites on record. I will guide you about few precautionary measures and these will not be a problem. I have been living here alone for over 4 years now and I am thoroughly enjoying this unique journey of self-discovery and harmony with nature.
I am a researcher at heart. So the place has remnants of many failed experiments. Don’t let it bother you. They have been opportunities for learning for me and I hope they are the same for you too. Neatness is low on my priority list. The area has a lot of dust and no matter how often you clean a layer of dust does accumulate by the end of the day. But note that what you see is dust not filth/dirt that one experiences in urban areas. Many people move around barefoot on my farm. In short come with very low expectations. Things can only get better from there on.
I have four dogs. They are members of my family. Simba (5 years) Khandu (4 years), Twinkle(3 years) and Ariel (1 year) are all rescued dogs – they have been rescued from the streets. All my pets have got their annual anti-rabies and  7-in-1 shots and deworming done. If anyone has a problem with pets please let me know right away.

Food

All food will be eggitarian. If anyone has a problem with eggs please let me know and I will make the food strictly vegetarian. This workshop is based on the principle of self-sustainability. We will be cooking our own food. I live on this principle. I cook my own food daily and do the necessary clean-up daily. We will be assigning tasks and on a daily basis different participants will get assigned the tasks of cooking.
  • Breakfast will consist of pohe (patal(thin) and zad (thick)), Upma
  • Lunch and dinner will consist of a vegetable with chapatti, rice with dal/kadhi, salad, and curd.
  • Sweet dish is optional. If anyone has any sweet dish/dessert recipes please bring them along.

Each participant will have the opportunity to prepare their favourite dish for one of the meals of the workshop. If that favourite dish requires some special ingredients then please bring them along with you. E.g. I will be cooking pasta so I have already obtained the ingredients needed for it for it from Mumbai because they are not available here.There will be juice and fruits (banana) available during the day. Regular tea and Nescafe will be available. If you have specific tea/coffee choices like green tea etc then please bring them with you.

First Aid Box

I have a bare minimum first aid box with cotton, hydrogen peroxide (anti-sceptic wound cleaner), band aid, iodex (muscle pain relaxant), Soframycin (anti-biotic), Chloroquin (anti-malaria), Crocin (for fever), Diglogem (for body ache),  Vicks action 500 (for chest congestion relief), bandage and Btex (anti-fungal). Please bring any other medication that you use for your specific needs.

Entertainment

I expect to have entertainment after dinner. So bring your music and dancing moves along. Get your laptops and storage drives to share files of common interest. There is presentation projector on the farm. I have a 9 ft by 8 ft screen (white wall) and a nice set of speakers for watching videos of common interest.

Expectations

Come with very low expectations. I lead a minimalistic and rustic lifestyle. My casas’ are like adivasi huts but they are liveable. There is a lot that needs to be done to improve the neatness of the living space. Please.help me with it. There is minimal people made stuff and lot of nature made stuff. I simply love this ‘nothing but nature’ lifestyle. I hope you will love it too.