The story of our Farmhouse

I am Devipriya Madheswaran from Tamil Nadu. I was born and brought up in a small village named Kanavaipatti near Namakkal District close to Salem. I've been working with Decathlon for 5 years and 3 months. My parents are farmers (Father- Madheswaran and Mother - Santhi), I have an elder brother who is married and a nephew who is two and a half years old now. We have a cute dog named Cheenu.  

My house is placed at the center of our farm which is why we call it the farmhouse. In our farmhouse, we have cows, goats, hens, and pigeons living with us. Our 20 acres of land is filled with plantations of turmeric, tapioca, tomatoes, coconut gardens, banana garden, and other vegetable and fruit gardens. 

Right now I live in Bangalore but during this COVID crisis period, I got the opportunity to spend some time in the farmhouse and live this life with my parents once again along with my work from home. It's a daily routine for my parents to wake up at 4:30 am to milk the cows and supply it to the milk society of our locality two times a day, morning and evening. Naturally, I joined my parents to help them out with the work at 5 am, then again during lunch break and finally after my work hours. 

So here's what my routine looks like living in a farmhouse during a lockdown!

I wake up at 5 am and join my parents for a walk inside the farm, removing coconut leaves from the farming field until 6:30 am. It normally takes me an hour or two to return to the house. 

After a cup of coffee, we immediately start on the turmeric work which is mostly segregation. The turmeric is planted across 4-5 acres of land and it takes 15+ days to remove them from the land. While I find a comfortable and shady spot under a tree to sit and segregate all the turmeric by myself, my parents are on the field removing the turmeric by loosening and shifting the soil from the plant to a different place. There are usually three segregations in turmeric after it's removed from the soil post which it has to be planted back in a new spot. Since we didn't have any help from laborers during the crisis, our entire family went into the fields and did it ourselves. I do the segregation until 7:40 am if I have an early shift at work or until 10:30 am for a late shift. This was basically my morning routine for the first 15 days of the lockdown until we cleared the entire turmeric field. 

I start my office work from either 8 am or 11 am as per my shift and continue until lunch. During my lunch break, I take an hour off and head back to the field again to help with the turmeric for a while even in the hot weather. I use a Quechua Tent for shade until I finish farm work and head back indoors to resume office work. 

After lunch,  work until 5 pm or 8 pm as per my shift after which I play badminton with my cousins for an hour or two in the evening together. 

In the evening, we all cook together in the firewood rather than using gas cylinders just for the experience and a change from regularity. 

During one of my week offs, we tried making a cot with waste pipes. We've installed trip pipes in our fields which are essentially for one-time usage. Once the cultivation is done, it cannot be used further. We decided to remove them from the field and utilize it to make a cot. My brother, sister-in-law, and I worked together on this. One was amazing and comfortable to use. When my parents and grandparents saw these, they wanted more so we headed to the farm to cut trees for cot legs and made one more for our grandparents. We finally ended up making 3 cots with waste pipes. I was quite proud at that moment with all the appreciation we received from the family and how everyone encouraged us. 

Another day we spent boiling all the turmeric and leaving it for drying. It takes 12-15 days to completely dry and in the meanwhile we planted banana and coconut plants all around the farm. 

Evenings are usually spent picking tomatoes from the garden, tamarind from the trees, and getting food (tree leaves) from the uncultivated farm for our cows and goats.

During work hours, if I feel sleepy or bored, I do paper and stick crafts to decorate the house. Agricultural activities are never-ending so a lot of my time is spent on the farm. I have seen it in real life and how difficult it is to manage without help. During this time, we managed to do all the work without any labour-help and my parents were very happy about it. 

Finally, after 17 days, the turmeric has dried and we filtered the same and sold it. We've kept half a bag for ourselves to make it as a powder for cooking and distributed to all our relatives around. The turmeric work has finally finished and my brother and I ploughed all the empty lands by truck to keep it ready for the next cultivation. After leaving it for a week, we put all the trip pipes again and planted tapioca in the tomato garden which was cleared. 

Then we spent the next week cutting our bamboo trees and few other trees to build cow shelter as the rains started and the old shelter could not accommodate both cows and goats. During this COVID time, we were visited by my mom's sister's family and one of my uncles along with three cousins. We are a big family and all of us took part in the work including my grandparents. 

I have kept all the new flower plants around my house. During the rains, the electricity goes off and often comes back only after two days or so. Those days spent in the dark are beautiful. I've never felt more close to the earth and nature, just like the olden days without electricity. We've survived with candles and had lots of fun at home. 

Pictures of COVID’19 Let’s Unite Lighting lamps for 9 minutes on April 5th, 2020.

We also have a lot of fun during dinner everyday. We cook together outside in the farm field and everyone sits together under the moonlight to have dinner. This is probably one of my favourite memories of the stay. 

After dinner, we all play Carrom together until 11:30 at night or sometimes even till 2 am until my nephew goes to sleep. Since he's a kid, he sleeps in the afternoon and keeps everyone awake at night which is why we prefer to play carrom and take care of him. 

This is my everyday routine and it varies as per the needs of the farm. I have explored so many things and have had so much fun at home with my family members. I've never dreamed that I would get so much time that I could spend with my family at home. While I feel sad for the whole world battling coronavirus and always keep everyone in my prayers, I hope soon everything goes back to normal. 

Lastly, sports is such a big part of all our lives in Decathlon which is why I practice sports everyday to stay physically fit and also practice team sports once a week with my entire family.  I love Decathlon because Decathlon loves the way you are and brings you into the game to win and to explore the world. We are always one and United together! 

Also, I am very proud to say that I have come from a Farmer background in a village and completed my Engineering in Electrical and Electronics and MBA in Marketing and Finance with First Class Distinction. Learnings are like Oceans and I always believe in it and explore things to learn and succeed. I love you Dad Mom! 

Thank you Decathlon and my team who I work with. 

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