point Return

Siddarth

pointReturn now has another volunteer in P Siddarth

siddharth.jpg

Siddarth is the fourth person to commit to the pointReturn mission. He came on board earlier this month and has moved swiftly to share our work and responsibilities. He comes about eight months after Karpagam and Sriram; that isn’t a surprise because they have been friends for over a decade.

Like Sriram, Siddarth too is an IIT alumnus and an MBA from IIM Calcutta. He is 39. He worked for 9 years with a software firm, rose to be a Vice-President, travelled the world and made money. But he says he had a finite goal even as he began his career. He decided on this, he says because of a great human being, Dr Dilip Veeraraghavan who mentored him in IIT. “Dr Dilip was a professor of humanities; he truly humanised many future technocrats. I learnt how limited material success was without larger concerns, spirituality and a respect for traditions as a teacher. By ‘tradition’ he meant a very broad set – traditional agriculture, for instance.” That influenced Siddarth to resolve he would make enough money to live the simple life and then quit to live it.

He did just that. In 2005, he joined two other IITians [-some of them seem to be right-programmed in that august institution!] to care for a patch of land in Karnataka. In 2007 he moved on to buy two acres of his own to practice agriculture. I met him briefly around that time, when I myself was starting the pointReturn adventure. Once Karpagam and Sriram moved in at pointReturn, his own interest quickened. And so he is here. “I realised the ride is more enjoyable and productive when you are in kindred company,” he says.

I am of course delighted to have three committed young people to work with. All three enjoy the rough and dirty physical work [-not common in ‘educated’ Indians], share a commitment to the environment,have the easy smile and friendly ways.

They arouse a curiosity in me. Why would such young people leave lucrative careers? In 2005, when I was still publishing GoodNewsIndiaI met the great Dharampal in Wardha. He lay dying but suffered to receive me. When I mentioned I went around gathering good news, he growled: “What good news have you found?”. It was clear he was a disillusioned man, quite broken by the path India had taken.

Quite unprepared, I found myself saying, “Well, young people today have the potential for bringing about change”. He was nearly angry and wanted to know why I said that.

“You see they begin in highly paid jobs and lead highly stressed lives. When quite young most of them brown out and look for something less stressful to do. They put away enough money and gain freedom from ‘jobbing’. I believe they will make the corrections for India.” He stared at me for a while and turned away, unimpressed.

He may have rightly distrusted my optimism. Many do make the big money but most go on to create comfort zones to insulate themselves from the India beyond their front doors. But there are a few who commit to living the life of their deep convictions.

I know at least three; they are at pointReturn.

17 comments for “Siddarth

  1. Boovarahan S
    November 16, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Nice move by Siddarth! But he belongs to a group of minority . People are mad after money and position and seldom realise that just a little money is enough to lead a happy life . And happiness and peace reside in our heart and mind and not in material wealth. Hope more people understand life and return to simple living.

  2. November 14, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Dear Sir,

    I have been following your blog for a long long time… very inspiring. This site is now noted on our site FarmNest.com as a site of interest.

    In addition, you will see that I am working (albeit at a snail’s pace and currently in very initial stages) to set up a farm myself – though it would be slightly different in that I also aim it to be commercially self-sustaining. I have begun writing it down there, and you will see copious references to your great initiative: Project New Farm

    Just one more thing to share while I am on the topic – our site also features an agricultural forum to help open and free sharing of information for farmers in a small way. So if anyone can assist on any questions from farmers or farm entrepreneurs, please jump on board and help out (and yes, even anyone has agri questions you want to ask others, feel free). This is at FarmNest.com Forum

    Thanks,
    Chandra

  3. RaviGopal
    October 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Hi friends,
    Its interesting to read the various comments people have made which reflect a wide spectrum of viewpoints. My wife and I hope to someday be able to do what DV, Siddarth,Karpagam,Sriram and other brave souls in various other fantastic initiatives are doing. As Senthil pointed out, it takes guts to call it quits to the rat race, whatever be its form – however there are two steps to be taken to make the exit; the first is the mental separation that leads to planning for an exit from commercial pursuits and the second is the physical act itself of moving out which is much tougher. Unfortunately, my wife and I are still at Stage 1 (paying off loans and setting right our finances to take such a plunge in 3-4 years time).
    I hope to visit PR and other such places during this period so that I can replicate the initiative in some other corner of India at a future date!
    Cheers to such forums and best of luck to all who have the strength to pursue their inner passion and have the courage to follow it through. Its a ray of sunshine in an India thats rapidly transforming into a consumerist society.
    Warm rgds
    Ravi

  4. rakesh ravi
    October 5, 2010 at 6:50 am

    welcome siddharth
    what about your family and children?

    • pointR
      October 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

      Siddarth is yet to marry

  5. Manjunath Padiki
    September 27, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Inspiring to the say the least! As i read I can hear the words from ‘imagine’ …
    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one!

    @Anand: Funny we never ask the same question to ourselves … whatever it is that we are doing!

    Manjunath

  6. September 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I draw inspiration continually from all that you do, every one of you, at pointReturn. I am s designer with an avid interest in green building and have been following DV’s project since the first windmill. Now, a project you all create. Just the other evening, in a round table discussion on the growth of gardens in my home town, I presented many photos and descriptions of your project, to the Board of Supervisors. Three years of development and hard work I showed. I had everyone’s attention for more than an hour in describing the true genius of your project at pR. Most of the questions I couldn’t answer, but I directed so many interested people to your website for further study.

    So I say to the person above, who asks: “Does it help society?” Yes, it has helped this society of hard working green builders in Marin County California, across the world but with the same concerns. A new era is emerging and young people care so much, that progress will happen no matter the struggles in front.

    To of all of you folks at pointReturn, by being the beacon that you are; we have modeled our garden project after yours!

    What a truly small world we are, when it comes to common minds and passionate projects!

    Congratulations to Karpagam, Sriram, Siddarth and especially a wink from me, in your direction DV.

  7. sujatha
    September 22, 2010 at 1:31 am

    @senthil – i don’t think that, in order to give back to society,you necessarily need to leave corporate life and stay in a farm.you can work for a corporate AND have a simple lifestyle AND help people in need.

  8. r seshaadri
    September 22, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Dear Mr.Anand,

    Certainly the self satisfaction.

    And the self satisfaction for these really educated persons lies in doing the work that are true to their heart. Some get satisfaction in the like of point return mission. Some others get satisfaction in making the 30 to 300 as said by Mr.Ravinder.

    Hope will certainly help the society, as this is the true meaning of production and others are only conversions. And it is the noblest way of increasing the networth, not necessarily the personal networth of Siddharth
    and like.

    Request the team to spread the message so that respect for the real productive activity will be let known. Kudos to Karpagam, Sriram and Siddarth who live the path and set an example.

  9. Anand
    September 21, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Curious to know, what is the purpose of doing this? Self Satisfaction or Helping society. If Helping society, how does this help society.

  10. Priya
    September 20, 2010 at 11:18 am

    So inspiring! People like these make you question your life and learning, time and again. Sriram has been and always will be someone I respect, look up to and regard immensely!! Kudos to pointReturn !!

  11. Sheila Baker
    September 19, 2010 at 6:16 am

    May you continue to ‘grow’ such committed people, as well as your trees.Nourishment is a two-way process.

  12. Kishore
    September 18, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Inspiring and I hope that the family continues to grow. May the impact of DV’s and these young people’s work be felt far and wide

  13. Senthil
    September 18, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Admirable..wish I could follow this path. Being in the corporate rat race and never ending debt in quest of material comforts, I just hope and wish I have the guts to get out of it and give back to the society. Sometimes I wonder…. if I put in atleast 50% of the hardwork and dedication in doing something meaningful other than generating profits for the corporate world….

  14. September 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    A great decision is made at the right time! My hearty good wishes; good luck on your new venture.

  15. September 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Salute! :)

  16. Ravinder
    September 12, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Good thinking sir!

    However, India has many of the other type too – typically some of our politicians. One of them started as a Govt. teacher – not stressful at all, moved on to become a MLA/MLC and whose “net worth” is now more than 30 crores – under stress now to invest it for future returns. All in the last 5 years. Wonder whether he will quit at 30 or want to make it 300 in the next 5 years? He will surely start educational institutions, and be honoured for his contributions to society in 10 years time. Such people (if one must call them that) are not “few”.

    All the more reason to celebrate the likes of Siddarth, Karpagam and Sriram. :)

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