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Ragu and Nisha going forward with Greenlocal

Ragu and Nisha Greenlocal

Ragu and Nisha Greenlocal

The life journey of Ragu and Nisha is unique, interesting and full of passions. Ragunath Padmanabhan and Nisha Srinivasan, a couple who were neighbours when they were 17, friends at 20, fell in love at 22, got married at 26, moved to the US at 27 and spent 8 years in the Silicon Valley before returning to India on May 17th at 35.

What was their motive behind returning to India, leaving the novelty of US culture? Not many will believe, but following the punchline “Be The Change”, they left USA to live a natural life in a South Indian village and to involve themselves in Organic farming, Yoga, Ayurveda and much more.

So far interesting? Aah! there is much more to know…… read on.



Speakbindas

  • People from India desire & dream to live and earn in USA. You also went to USA like others (?) but unlike others, you caught a trip back to India. What was the motive behind coming back to roots?

Ragu & Nisha

  • Yes, we went to the US like many others wanting to earn money and for the novelty of living in a developed country. Besides, since we knew quite a bit about the US before going there, we were also seeking many learning experiences and friendships which we received in abundance. We don’t really see our trip to India as “coming back” to India. There is no “back” because everything keeps changing and India has changed a lot in the last nine years we were in the US. Material wealth, attitudes, culture, and even the physical spaces have changed, especially in the villages. We see our journey as “going forward” to India in terms of our internal evolution as well as the external life style we have embraced in a village. To our pleasant surprise, we found that many others have done the same. Relative to the Indian population abroad, this number is very less. But relative to our assumption, this number is very significant.

Speakbindas

  • You are an active volunteer of the CharityFocus. Share with us the learnings you had from it and inspiring incidents. Overall, how it affected your life in the positive spectrum?

Ragu & Nisha

  • If a group of children from diverse backgrounds (in terms of origin, language, class, colour, religion etc) are put together, very soon they start playing with each other. Yes, occasionally they will push each other and cry. But one can observe that largely they get along with each other. This is because they are yet to develop the fears, biases, selfishness and ambitions and hence live in the moment and have fun. CharityFocus is the adult version of this with one exception: there is a purpose for being in this group which is to consciously explore selflessness beyond having fun in the moment.
  • We have received a lot from members of CharityFocus which gave us the confidence and developed in us the capacity to make radical changes that we were wishing for but had not fully embraced. The first time I (Ragu) met Nipun was on a Thursday at a non profit networking event where he gave a five minute speech about himself and CharityFocus. I went up to him and said, “I have a feeling that I don’t need to know anything more about you. Tell me how I can serve you and if you can, drop in my place on Saturday.” After exchanging cards, he rushed to another meeting. On Saturday, he showed up at my place and we spent half a day exploring many aspects of service and spirituality. I later found how busy his schedules are and wondered how he managed to find the time to hang out with us that day. A few months later, on some occasion he made a statement to the effect of: “I always try to spontaneously respond to whatever is authentic and inspiring in front of me and not let the “agenda of the week” interfere with it.” More than anything else, this spontaneous giving of time for whatever is important in the moment is what we have received a lot in CF.
  • Many CF members who are super smart in different domains have unhesitatingly given us their time to listen to our ideas and rants helping us to shape our life. Through CF, we got the opportunity to hang out with the homeless people, listen to seniors at old-age homes, build websites for non profits, do acts of random kindness, learn cooking, meditation, ayurveda, participate in gift-economy and get introduced to some of the coolest people and experiments happening around the world that challenge conventions and take bold steps to “be the change” – the Gandhian spirit that CF has taken to be its raison d’etre. CF has not just affected our lives but has inspired us to jump into a way of life that we had long been yearning for but had not acted for lack of the clarity and confidence required to take the jump.

Speakbindas

  • Ragu, you and Nisha are involved in fields like Organic Farming, Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation, Rural Entrepreneurship, Folk Art and may be few others. How are the experiments with them going on?

Ragu & Nisha

  • It’s been almost a year since we moved into the village we are living in now. In this time, we have managed to implement the first phase of natural farming on our land: Design the farm, plant live-fencing, install irrigation facilities, plant a lot of trees and allow nature to create ecology in our land. We are building a house on the farm using indigenous green architecture practices with help from COSTFORD, the institute founded by Laurie Baker. It is half done. Since we have not moved into the farm yet, our experiments in the other areas are restricted to ourselves and a few people in our immediate neighborhood. Some stories can be read in our website greenlocal.org.

Speakbindas

  • What keeps you both bonded together and walking such a highly motivational and unique path of life?

Ragu & Nisha

  • Our continuing bonding is in many ways, a necessity. It is not easy to explore selflessness and spirituality without constant support from at least one person who deeply cares for you. This support is a necessity because old habits die hard and you need someone to continuously encourage you to be mindful and selfless and also guard you from old habits that keep surfacing every day.

Speakbindas

  • Which faces (persons) that you left back in the US, come to your imagination first, who you believe have inspired you and has marked a permanent place in your hearts? Why?

Ragu & Nisha

Speakbindas

  • What’s your take on current mentality of majority of people believing that monetary wealth is the real SUCCESS? What’s your view on success?

Ragu & Nisha

  • For the majority of people in the world, the external social environment they live in has more influence on them than their own thinking or inner voice. Since at the practical level societies tend to settle for the least common denominator in all aspects of life, people define success in terms of monetary wealth (money being the least common denominator of value). This is a roundabout way of saying we attribute people’s attitude towards success more to the environment than the individuals that make up the society. For the environment to change, it is important for a few individuals to be-the-change and serve as practical example for others to learn and emulate. We are now trying to emulate those who have been and are being the change. Hopefully, others will join us. As for how we view success: Success is an arbitrary destination in one’s journey. What seems to be success at one arbitrary point might later become a failure and vice versa. So we are trying to shift our focus from results to the process, from the destination to the path. Once we take care of the process and the path, whatever needs to happen will happen. We are hoping to cultivate the mindfulness to enjoy the everyday journey and grow into the maturity of accepting any outcome of our actions.

Speakbindas

  • After getting yourselves involved full-time in farming and other activities here in India, how your daily routine goes?

Ragu & Nisha

  • Our current daily life cannot be called a routine as we are staying in a temporary house away from the farm. We shuttle between our current residence and our farm many times during the day to participate in and supervise farm work and house construction. Scout and purchase products and services, keep making calls to coordinate many activities, take care of our 3 year old son who just started nursery school, visit our parents who live in the city, visit other natural farms and volunteer a bit for a local NGO. So we are kinda going with the flow. Once we settle in our farm in the next 3 to 4 months, we are hoping to start a routine of meditation, yoga, farm work and community work.

Speakbindas

  • What are the ultimate goals, dreams you want to achieve in your life?

Ragu & Nisha

  • To live everyday in peace and happiness regardless of the external conditions and allow that inner fullness to externally manifest as service. For, as J.Krishnamurthy said, “It is the happy person the true revolutionary.” Beyond this, there is no far-into-the-future goals or dreams to be achieved.

Speakbindas

  • Give us a brief on your initial life after coming back to India and starting an all new life? For instance farming, which wasn’t a part in your life before. How were the initial experiences of dealing with new life that you chose?

Ragu & Nisha

  • There was and is a lot of learning regarding farming which has been a great experience. In terms of personal comfort, we knew what to expect and hence did not make much of a fuss about mosquitoes, leaking roofs, toads, lizards and roaches in the house, constant dust and pollution inside and outside the house, unhygienic conditions just about everywhere… none of these are new. If there are things that we “came back” to in India, these are the ones :). Since we were visiting India every single year we were in the US, we never lost in touch with any of this and hence could manage to live with them. We are resolved to address sanitation and basic hygiene in our neighborhood once we gain enough relationship and trust with the locals. What is new in our current life is the freedom we have in designing our life every day. So we do stop to smell the roses, watch the birds and to random acts of kindness that come our way.

Speakbindas

  • Was there any opposition from your family members against your decision of leaving US and choosing the field of farming?

Ragu & Nisha

  • No. We had been “preparing them” for a while :). Their only suggestion was perhaps we could spend a few more years in the US as we are young for retirement (we both are 36). We countered their suggestion, “You are getting old and we’d like to be near you for a longer period”. This they could not refuse.

Speakbindas

  • How can someone reach to you?

Ragu & Nisha

Speakbindas

  • Thank you Ragu and Nisha, for being kind and spending tele-time with us.

Ragu & Nisha

  • Thanks for the opportunity to share our journey.

About

Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

2 thoughts on “Ragu and Nisha going forward with Greenlocal

  1. Chris says:

    very inspiring stuff with a lot of raw authenticity! thank you for the great interview, for sharing this goodness. rock on 🙂

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About

Devang Vibhakar
Devang Vibhakar
(Editor, www.SpeakBindas.com)
SpeakBindas is a Limca Book of Awards winning blog. It's a PR3 blog with 1000+ articles & Interviews. Devang Vibhakar - Founder - has interviewed more than 350+ people and has been to Scotland, London & Germany. He's a writer, speaker, traveler & movie-goer !! He has also written four books. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of people from various sectors of life to avid readers of SpeakBindas. You can reach him here .