I am an independent technology developer focused on sustainable solutions mostly in the agriculture and allied sectors. Over the past 4 years I have been studying, understanding and working towards improving millet cultivation practices, millet processing and cooking with millets. I try to share my learnings as much as possible and rarely do I pass up an opportunity to explore some interesting question in the areas of food, farming, sustainability or technology.
Currently I am developing simple tools and machines to enable millet processing at a small scale with reduced drudgery and enhanced output. I work as a technical consultant with social enterprises and non profits on different aspects of the millet value chain. I am documenting and developing tutorials on millet processing and quality assessment with different organizations.
I also work on popularizing and promoting millets by facilitating discussions, conducting workshops and giving talks on different aspects of millets from cultivation, through processing, preparation and up to consumption, in various fora.
I earn my living doing these things. So I try to not get carried away by my passion for the cause and do bill organizations or individuals for my time. If you would like to host a talk, have me conduct a workshop or assist with a project on any of the above topics, please drop me an email … firstname.lastname@example.org
More about me and where I come from …
I was born a little over 30 years ago. I tried to understand myself for a while and I found that I was either pretty bored or psyched by what I saw in my ways. I have come to be at ease with myself after coming to terms with and finding the nice ‘cushion’y word non conformist !
Like many other kids of that age, I started out not wanting to go to school. Unlike other kids though, I used to be in the kitchen long enough for me to confidently make the case that I would become a cook one day and that I did not need to go to school to learn cooking ! 🙂 As I approached my 10th grade, my parents were getting pretty worried about what would happen to me and somehow convinced me to join a daily tutorial to prepare me for my board exams. This, I think was a big big turning point in my life. It was in these classes by D.V. Nagesh that I got a feel for the fun in doing Math and learning the concepts of Physics. From there on I was set on studying Physics and went on to study Physics for my BSc, Solid State Physcis for my MSc and then did some research on thermal plasma processing for my PhD.
During my Pre-Univ. days in the National College Basavanagudi, thanks to the theatre scene nurtured within the institution, I realized my love for theatre, especially for working back stage, and with the lights. I was fully involved in about 6 productions over the 5 years that I was there and by the time I finished my BSc, I decided to see if I could join the National School of Drama in Delhi for a post graduate diploma in theatre. I got to the second phase of selection and I thought I was doing pretty well. In one of final rounds of testing, I was given a photograph and asked to use three other people in the group to put together a before and after still. Whatever I was then, I was surely not a literalist. My interpreting and not making a literal presentation irked Bhanu Bharati, one of the evaluators, like crazy. Though I don’t have a good reason to believe that that particular round was what knocked me out, looking back I am pretty sure that that particular incident knocked flat the idea that a training at NSD would be something I would enjoy doing. The repeated rejections in the psychology rounds of the defence services selection boards (SSB) had confirmed my hunch that I thought a little too independently for institutions to feel comfortable, but the realization that I might be even less of a conformist than what a leading light of Indian theatre would expect was a realization.
I was exposed to political ideas and social in-equities during the days in theatre, but I was not perturbed enough I suppose. The earthquake of 2001 in Gujarat and the socio-economic inequities brought out by the disaster started to bother me enough to start thinking about these issues and pitch in with an hour or so of volunteering to clear the rubble in one place. The riots of 2002, again in Gujarat, had me really thinking about my silence in the socio-political sphere. By then I had left Gujarat and was in Minneapolis, and was soon part of discussions at the local AID chapter there.
Slowly I was exposed to the many ideas and ideals of development and their politics; the effects of gender, caste, race, and other forms of discrimination that have cast deep roots that have influenced our lives, usually to the benefit of us upper caste males with a not a so black skin complexion; the need for and the strength of community mobilization; and many other ideas. By 2004 I had decided to work in the social sector and by mid 2005 I contemplated rolling back my PhD to a MS and finishing up quicker to return to India and work with marginalized communities that are mobilized and are fighting for their rights. But most of my friends and well wishers advised me against such a step and coaxed me to finish my PhD first. Atlast in Jan 2008 I graduated and a couple of months later arrived in Sitapur, UP to learn from and work with Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sanghatan.
The next couple of years we travelled quite a bit learning and sharing, via workshops and discussions, some through these blog pages. As we put our energies behind different efforts to correct inequities I started realizing the role I was set out seeking back in 2004. I worked with an old colleague for a few months designing plasma processing technologies and realized that that was not what I wanted do. Networking and being lucky helped me meet an amazing entomologist that has lead to a beautiful friendship and new initiatives in the world of IT in agri. It also helped me build the platform from which I work today on developing people centred technology … an even better description would be technology with the right politics.
In early 2003 I was able to convince Sudha that we shared similar ideas, ideals and goals for us to plan our life paths together. And the saaji-daari continues. Since the last break in blogging we added a number to the world population – it would be unfair to hold the little one responsible for the long silence on the blog … but 😉
The posts on this blog have, hopefully, communicated some of our experiences. I am looking to share more stories, learnings, musings and notes in the many worlds and issues that I explore and attempt to understand and influence.