Category Archives: Current Blog Posts

Communication with Farm Staff

 Communication with Farm Staff

One of the biggest lessons of my life was learnt by me recently.  Obviously as usual it was taught by my own staff at the farm – Subbu and Kandan.

It all started with weeks and months of absolute silence without even a single phone call attended.  NO communication whatsoever from Subbu who otherwise deemed duty bound to blah blah even if they are white lies. And for my part as a thorough corporate bred, consultant trained, master in communication capable of negotiation, hard talk etc failed on my part to somehow convince him into talking.

The usual daily ring that never got answered. Frustration mounted.   Tried to reach through alternate phones and failed.   Finally got hold of a  known common friend and asked him to meet Subbu in person to enquire his health and why he is not talking.  

No use. Dead silence. I went to the end of my wit because it may not be necessary that I am calling to take a feedback, it could be an emergency too or someone visiting the farm or even i myself……

But nothing worked.

Finally one day he called to say he was shy to call me because he has not done such and such work.  I had mixed feeling, one of anger and another of pity.  Counseled  him not to fear to disclose anything.  In my mind I wanted him to feel free to the extent he will open up and attend calls. I was expecting worst. But the matter is very simple. Sometimes human mind gets hangover on trivial issue and can never get out of gult and agony. 

But I never knew that it is going to be his special call to say that he will not call me hereafter before once again dissloving into silence.  He said he will not call till he finishes the work i had given***.  That work never got finished for years now. But still…… He must have felt huge embarresment (which he told me) to attend my calls with pending work.

[*** The unfinished work is nothing but connecting borewell pump to the windmill. That was a trivial work we used to do very often few years back. Now there is huge labor shortage.   Perhaps no one is listening to him. This work however must be done as it is dear to me and I had invested several years into it.  Especially I can save on electricity bills. I make it a point to text the bill value to embarrass him.  The fact that he is unable to organise manpower to lift the pump from borewell and connect it is weighing him down.]

He calls it Zeal (வைராக்கியம்), I call it bull#@!$.  But anyway there is a subtle message that a worker gives you. This is very common in villages.  For years they will not speak with neighbours or relatives till somethings are settled.  Life is not jet speed like in city.

I have no choice but to wait.  I give a ring occasionally.  Sometimes he sends photo of some finished work, like he sent snaps of having put manure around each plant and created water holes.  The work gets done somehow. But not anything new.

I want to respect his zeal holding down my frustration.  I have selfish interest too in fanning his zeal.  Because that should translate into quality work whenever it is done.

We also do this in corporate world, ain’t we ?  I have refrained from sending any mail or call to boss for several months. Why unnecessarily kindle his memory and turn it on us especially when our performance is not so spectacular. ?

Farm Update May, 2021 in Visuals

 General Update :  The farm is not having much activity. Due to COVID lockdown,  Subbu and Kandan are confined to homes.  Even in remote villages, the movement is highly restricted by police.  They visit the farm once a day, pick flowers and vanish back to home. The Covid sickness and death news that is coming from the villages is not encouraging.    Each of the villages are loosing people to this deadly disease.  Since one per family have to attend the funeral, they come to know each other.  People who go to Higround hospital die and the body gets transferred to crematorium by organised groups. Period.

Adjascent to the farm, the narrow tar road is getting widened.  For this road widening, the contractor is dumping mud upto the compound of the farm. I believe he is constructing a concrete wall to hold the mud. That means two things

a)    Farm will a wide approach road from the main road.  This is good for future.

b)   The farm will have steep elevation protecting the farm. I asked Subbu  to plant tees between road and farm so as to act as fence for future. Like hundreds of unfulfilled instructions, this may get staked up.

The wall coming to the left is upto which this road will widen

The gap between Road and farm compound. My worry is people
should not start using this as regular path. Which subbu says cannot be because there is no
entry or exit for this.  Presently this is a service strip. May get covered with shrubs
I want trees to be planted here. So that traffic will not fall from the curved raised road onto the slope.

The scene near the enterance.  The trees have become matured.
Subbu says he spends time in this shade. It can instantly make one happy.

Not bad at all. All the trees that were recently purchased are growing well. 
This patch of land was dull earlier

The Jasmine patch. The only revenue yielding crop today
Though the output is only 200 grams.  I guess extreme hot sun is now allowing
flowering. If I were there I would experiment with a canopy
But such trails if done through workers have failed and resulted in money/effort loss. So not attempting

I also have in mind of setting up a distillation plant for extracting jasmine scent. Again
this needs inquisitive mind and sincerity.

Some more young trees

It is heartning to see the girth of the trees have broadened. These were coconuts that I was worried
since they grew fast and hence less strength. But now it can survive.

No medicine, no pesticide, not even fertiliser.  Just natural growth.

This is how electricity is carried from main room to pump room. Three wires hung from
a stay wire. The plastic separator clips keep the wires away from each other
otherwise they are also insulated. But insulation will break due to heat and rubber becoming brittle

Beautiful view of Farm Pond.  The color of water is muddy. Sometime it will be clear.  This is used by migratory birds.
A forest look or resort look. I can now slowly invite people for farm tourism.

Classic view of WIndmill

Kandan’s work is visible here.  The gooseberry tree is visible have become tall.  The ground is loose
thanks to constant maintenance. Ready to absorb water. Incidently last week it was raining there.

Extremely high density of wild herbs in fence side.  Must be a paradise for those who are interested.

The windmill tower now with proper ladder ( a project by itself).
Look at the small animometer that was kept aside for few years, now again fixed on tower.

Finally the iconic windmill. The trees competing with it.

Farm Update April, 2021

Lot of  Miscellaneous things :

Overall there had been no new activity in the farm for long time.  A kind of lethargy has set in along with boredom in the minds of Subbu and Kandan.  I have not heared about Kandan for some time now. I come to know about him only through Subbu. Kandan doesnot own a phone, nor talks to anyone. His routine is he comes early in the morning to water the trees and retires back before sunshine.

Subbu as usual has been active, but on his own personal front.  He had tilled the soil in some places.   The notable work is restoring the faulty electrical circuit. I belive the fuse had burnt from behind and was hard to find that out.  Pump was not working, but everything was looking fine. Short circuit was found and rectified.

I completed my Vertical Axis Wind Pump and kept him updated with progress now and then. My job was crucial last month racing against deadline to send one piece to my first customer (more details

separate post).  May be this inspired Subbu also. What he kept pending for several months, now he started working on it.  Namely repairing the windmill.  But before that I had been asking him to erect the 40 feet ladder. Only 20 feet was in place and another 20 feet ladder installation was pending.

Subbu always believes in his known contacts only.  That is what makes every job very delayed also. Because those contacts seldom provide time for you. One such guy is a boy who can do welding on top of tower.  Obviously it is a risky job and not many will do that.  So wait…. Now things are moving. Rest in pictures.

As per latest information, some welding work has been completed fixing the ladder. But we wanted to make a stand atop the tower for standing and working on windmill. This was another long pending work (more than 2 years).  Subbu mentions that needs a support structure to be made for the boy to stand and weld the frame for which he has already prepared some ground work.  Therefore that support structure building through another skilled person using sticks is the next work in this week.

An elderly person troubleshooting the electrical box.

appears to be short circuit.

Finally the short circuit is due to wire burning behind the fuse which is very rare. May be due to heat. Subbu identified and changed them.

General view of the farm as you enter. I had asked him to hang this for some time now and he has done. When I visited last time, I had searched for this in the market, could not find the right one.

View of the farm with the old man and Kandan. Permanent shade has set in. Must be good to move here.

These are relatively young trees planted last year.  Growing fine.  I think trees are coming fine in this land compared to other crops.


Sometimes some of the snaps are baffling for me also to recognise from where this would have been taken. The angle of view is very confusing for me also.  Time to visit there.

The much awaited welding boy is setting up his work near the tower.

This is how they do their job.  No comments. Dirty but practical. I donot know if I were there I will do the same or diferently.

Meanwhile one of my facebook friends, who had visited the farm earlier had taken this picture.  You can see the mynah nest atop the tower.  The permanent ladder is being fastened to reach this rotor unit atop the tower.  

Farm Update 17th January, 2021 in Visuals (around the farm)

 Its been a quite a gap now in updating the status. Several reasons. Let me get to the point. Both self and Subbu (my farm manager) were in depression.  Some due to challenge in progressing on anything that we plan. The other is I had tremendous workload from my office. Now that we are working from home, staff availability is taken for granted. Consequently meeting calender is full, short notice and more critical things are discussed.  Overall Job is going fine. But farm is maintaining its status que.  Farm power bills are a shocker. More on that later.

Meanwhile Subbu fell terribly ill past 1 month. Typhoid he said.  He was not picking the phone continuously for 15 days. I gave up. Later he called to say he was admitted and did not have mind to answer calls. Fine.  I advised him to take care.  I cannot put any pressure for some more days to come.

On the day he recovered, he ventured not into the farm, but around the farm and clicked these pictures. Generally local guys donot pay attention to obvious and simple things. Nor they communicate. But since he came from hospital bed, must have felt of re-conquering all that he left.  I compare this with animals marking their territory to assert themselves.  Rest in pictures.  These are rare and oneoff pictures  around the farm. 

This is how it looks in front of the farm gate.   It was plotted long back. Hardly
anyone would have purchased from that real estate company. Anyway it is a potential threat as well as 
opportunity for my farm.

This is the approach road to the farm gate from the main road.  Sastha temple is visible.
Sastha is the deity that overlooks my farm and protects us.

The sastha temple as it is appearing.  I can understand how Subbu would have felt as a thanksgiving
he would have visited the temple after curing himself from typhoid

The pond inside my farm. Cute and filled with water. Coconut trees are healthy

This is how the farm looks from main road from front of Sastha temple.  Banana trees are visible

Adjascent to Sastha temple is this pond. Nachankulam is the name.  One one side of road is this pond. The other side is my farm.  This gets hardly filled with water. Even if it fills, it dries quickly.  But this pond is the reason
for ground water in my farm.   I wanted to plant trees on its bund. Subbu is not taking interest. Perhaps there are
hasseles with local corrupt Panjayath officers who may object


A look outside from one of the fences of the farm.  Single Palm trees are nostalgic for me. Because 
when I surveyed this land, i was only accompanied and greeted by single lonely Palm tree that gave
hope !

Jasmine bush.  This is supposed to yield but not doing when prices are high. Jasmine sells at 1000/- per KG
this season. But hardly any flowers.  Small quantity is plucked by Subbus wife or his girl friends. I donot mind

Subbu told me recently that he had planted some moringa branches. May be it has sprouted. I donot know what this bugger wants to tell me. He never explains by word of mouth.

Another part outside the farm.  Look at the dry ness.  I deliberately sharing this to show the contrast my
farm would have created in this arid desert.,

Inside the farm. Coconut trees are maturing with life. Must be good to be in. I miss this.

The area that got burnt, now recouping.  

One of the new batch of trees. Safe and growing.  This is inspite of issues like Kandan absent, water bills
Subbu completely absent etc.

Near the room and toilet near the entrance.

Near the windmill tower.  Euclyptus must have grown fast. Can see its dry leaves.

Under the main resting shelter. Relatively kept very clear. I appreciate

Another beautiful view.

End of post.