S. Parameshwaran has been my classmate from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum during Mechanical Engineering under-graduation. He is also from near my hometown of Chennithala, in Alleppey district of Kerala, a small state in the southern tip of India, from a place called Mannar.
Parameshwaran went on to join the Indian Air Force after engineering and retired from IAF as a Wing commander way back in the late 2000s after 26 years. After seeing his only daughter getting married off and going with her husband, a short stint in Bangalore, resettling back in Mannaar must have been very boring for Parameshwaran and his wife. But he hit upon this brilliant idea of going back to nature and taking up agriculture.
In his 2 acre land in Mannaar he started cultivating vegetables as a hobby initially around 2015. Even though the first year was a great loss, he did not give up. Continuing from the second year he has been able to make profits. Even though he gets a good pension from the IAF, the simple pleasure of being able to reduce the carbon footprint and giving back to the society and nature through a green way of living, causing very less destruction to our surroundings and the habitat, has given much more satisfaction to Parameshwaran than the earnings he makes from agriculture.
Parameshwaran leads a very disciplined life, getting up daily at 4.30 AM and working in his field till 7.30 AM. After breakfast and rest, he is back in action this time taking and selling the farm produce in the local farm department store in Chennithala. The high quality education and experience Parameshwaran has gathered over two and a half decades in the Indian Air Force has seen to it that he looks at improving the productivity of the farming operation.
Interacting and taking help from agricultural experts Paramu has been able to make use of drip irrigation to conserve water during summer season. His interactions with the farming department officials have given him an idea of what crops to cultivate and when.
Hats off to Parameshwaran for taking the bold, courageous and generous step of being one with nature and to give back to nature. He has already completed a TV show for a US company to be aired soon and is a favourite spot for field visits from schools near and far. The motivation he has created among his old classmates is so high, that some of them are planning to intern with him, including myself, and learn the simple joys of agriculture and giving back to society in more deeper and meaningful ways.