Sakshi Bhatia (33), a data scientist, and Arpit Maheswari (33), a product manager, had successful careers with high-paying jobs in the US. But the couple could feel that their fast-paced life in a concrete jungle was missing something. So, in 2016, they quit their jobs and returned to India. “We wanted a life that is healthier, peaceful and close to nature,” says Arpit. “But we didn’t have any idea how to go about it.” The couple then decided to volunteer in a few organic farms in Auroville. “After spending some time there, we knew what to do. We also had the confidence,” he adds.
They bought a plot of land in MP’s Ujjain district and set-up Jeevantika, a natural farm, where they grow their own food and invite people to live with them, experience a life that is a bit slower and peaceful. The basic philosophy of Jeevantika is that it promotes life. “Food is a basic thing that connects us to nature,” Arpit says. “So we decided we will grow our food. Our second purpose was land regeneration. Because, in the process of growing food, we destroy our land by using harmful pesticides, which damages the entire ecosystem. So we also do forestation, but not on a bigger scale. Our purpose is to recover land.”
People who visit Jeevantika learn water harvesting, making mud houses, forestation and farming. “Our design is very simple. We visit our farm twice a day. So we take people and involve them in vegetable growing, compost making, seed building and so on,” Arpit adds. “Jeevantika is for those who want to live life connected to nature, this space allows them to enjoy a lifestyle that is not fast like life in cities.”
(This appeared in the print edition as “Return to Roots”)
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