Aishwarya Balasubramanian could not visit Yusuf MeherallyTara Centre for various reasons, though many of her schoolmates did. She is a passionate nature lover and was adjudged the green champion of Sacred Heart School for her work in 2017 She stood in 2nd rank in her HSC examination the result of which was announced last week. To facilitate her achievement, we took her on a virtual tour of YMCs Tara Centre. Here’s her report. She is special to us – read the press clipping about her feat. Tara is slowly becoming a must visit to students who love nature and keen on sustainability studies.

Congratulations, Aishwarya.

Yusuf Meherally Centre Tara Complex

……………….A serene place for nature lovers
Aishwarya Balasubramanian

This pandemic has brought us face to face with one important fact – We are not mightier than any second virus or bacteria roaming on Earth. We are humans. Creatures of emotions, creatures of faults. Inhabiting, not owning, this planet. While we were wondering ‘ how our world would eventually fall apart ‘ – Novel Corona Virus knocked us out. And especially human economies.

Still I don’t want to come out as accusing or depressing in this post. So I take this platform to share with you a lovely virtual tour I made. I visited Yusuf Meherally Centre of Tara Village while sitting in the balcony of my home. A calm location. It felt a completely different world. One which we don’t get the fortune of living in ourselves. About 3 km from here is the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, a forest. So is a buffer zone for birds.

Yusuf Meherally Centre is a 60 year old social organization working for rural upliftment and active all over India in time of natural calamities. They propagate Gandhian values and principles. Simple and beautiful.

It’s a must visit place for nature lovers to see their Butterfly garden, Crawley Garden, Community Farm, Fruit Forest and above all for its serene calm ambience. Lot of school and college students are attracted to learn about village life. The mud cottages are neat, tidy and comfortable to stay in. It is a standing testimony of simple living that generations of Indians lived in this part of the world.

I heard a dog barking, a neighbouring person bringing in his herd of cows. The background was quiet. There is a separate cottage for the employees working. A training centre for women consisting of tailoring, stitching and a computer room. The person in charge was still on duty in this lockdown. The paddy fields were unique. I always wanted to see one. In the small water bodies I could see fishes clearly even on a video call. Technology aids. The cowshed was clean, the cows like always remind of our very own mother. On the side there were two bottles filled with fresh cow milk. A person in charge here as well. Another cottage where oil is extracted from groundnuts, coconuts and sesame seeds.

The biogas plant was wide, wider than what I used to imagine. Beside it was a small stall where the domestic mass would be measured and handled. There was a replica of Bapa Kutti here. With his painting and slogan. Dormitories exist for those students who come to visit the location. From turmeric leaves, curry plant, aloe vera to eggplant, papaya, drumstick, cucumber, bitter gourd and more are cultivated here. Without any chemicals. Organically. There is a ten ghunta cultivation here which as per my understanding is a place where lots of stuff are grown together. In one place. I got engrossed in just staring at the view. Another small cottage where eco friendly Ganesh idols would be made and kept. I caught the highway leading towards the Sanctuary. A vermicompost cabin. Where packaged manure was sealed and stored.

So I would say, not everything is bad. I am trying my best to not overthink on this Pandemic. I am building myself. Adding more pieces to my personality. Interacting more. And being positive in that head inside the skull. This visit almost took an hour. I am glad my guide – Mr Datta Shingne an Agriculture Graduate and coordinator of many activities of the Centre – was ready to open all gates with the keys so I could take in the whole nature spread out there.

I would like to personally visit the Centre. Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay human.