I am narrating an event that occurred at our Nagarkot house some weeks ago in an interesting atmosphere, to do with farm and farming. Our dear readers should take this article in a light-hearted manner and not as serious agricultural research or findings.
On this morning our helper was preparing lunch, as well as talking with his wife. Among the many subjects of their discussion one was remarkable. His wife was saying, “look Husband, our Madam brings lot of expensive seeds from overseas and continuously tries to grow them here, but nothing grows, none of them comes good”. I overheard this conjugal conversation from our terrace and became attentive. I thought that here is a good chance of my learning something new from a real local farmer and his wife. The wife is very logical and a bit argumentative and always has an opinion to put forward in any conversation. Sometimes she proves she is much cleverer than her Husband. He is an ex-army man, who spent nearly 20 years of his prime time there becoming very practical and spontaneous. Their two very different natures and life conditioning is what I am trying to explain here. In my personal opinion it is Logic that you apply in science but not in life. Life is not logic or rarely logical, science is. Life is about good living.
Still continuing her conversation she said: “So expensive, such a nice packet and these seeds from a western land should come better than our seed, but here it is not the case. Our helper who was listening quietly to his wife’s logic then answered beautifully. “Listen, my dear, when there is light here in Nepal, it is dark out there in other parts of the World, the time difference is somewhere over five hours, and in some place even eleven hours. Sun and Moon have a great impact on seeds and their outcome. As you sow, so you reap. The seed madam brings from abroad do not suit our climatic conditions because the seed, which is the source of the crop has different conditioning. Different days and night timings are the reason”.
Now, I do not know if the reason he gave has any effect on seed germination, but his wife was convinced by it. The next day she came in a hurry as if something has had happened. She told me quietly that she had found out the reason why madam’s seed does not grow well. She started telling me the same thing that her husband had narrated the previous day. I listened to her, as I did not want to tell her that the conversation had already been overheard yesterday. To encourage her I said. “Your husband is probably right, may be what he said is correct”. She was very happy to know that her husband has better knowledge in farming than the madam.
The same topic came up again after a few days. My family (their madam) asked me almost same thing. Why doesn’t my seed sprout properly? What is wrong with it? I said politely, “look my dear, I am not an agricultural expert, I have some knowledge about kitchen gardening but not farming. Looks like our soil has more acid content, so sprinkling some agro-lime powered might help improve the soil condition. There should be nothing wrong with the seed you bring. These seeds are lab tested and quality controlled for the market. Look dear I am like our cook. Basically what I see, feel and understand personally that I believe. I am willing to believe him rather than your seed without prejudice. The reason is obvious. Your seed is not coming properly, that you have found and seen yourself, but those Nepali seeds they planted in our back garden have always come great, so you try to find out the reason I do not want to go further into other details”. She was half convinced half not. She is very logical. Sometimes more logic, knowledge and scientific brain bring misery. Finally she said: “Trial and error my dear, I will keep on trying “. I said, “Please keep on trying”. As we concluded our conversation the Sun was setting for that day, we smiled and took our thoughts from the conversation to the horizon. Our evening drinks were ready to be served.
I really enjoyed that conjugal conversation of our helpers and their chitchat taught us a great lesson. Learning is possible anywhere at all the times. You do not need to be an agriculture expert to do better farming. What I learned that day is: Farming is practical, neither an assumption nor theory. Local people from the villages know better farming than the person who has studied agricultural science. You cannot cook an eggplant (Bhantaa) that you see in a book or on a scientific research document, you must go to your Bari (back garden) or vegetable market, pick it up and fry it. There is a nice saying in Nepal, which reads: Kitab KO Bhantaa Khana Mildaina.
In our experience, seeds from overseas normally do not grow very well in Nepal but Nepali Seeds do grow. By this event our staff taught us this great lesson. We do not need to rely on foreign things; we should first look to our own expertise and resources, which are usually better adapted to our Motherland.
Thanks to them.