What is pointReturn?

pointReturn is the solo effort of D V Sridharan, Publisher of goodnewsindia.com. Its primary objective is to restore a tiny corner of abandoned India into a sustainable resource for water, energy, food, and cash. When plants, ponds, birds and small game have made it their home, say in about five years, it will be time to ponder how human activity can further add to its relevance.

After 6 years of travelling around India and reporting various positive developments, I came to certain conclusions about the direction India was taking. I was concerned about the mindset of both the government and the proliferating NGOs. Among commentators, there is no lack of articulation about the ills that beset India, but I felt that before I earned the right to air my views, criticisms and solutions, I must demonstrate the commitment of my money, time and efforts.

To give myself the time, I have moored the cruise ship ‘GoodNewsIndia’, that I have run for six years. I may return to it in 2008. Maybe too, cruising through GoodNewsIndia stories induced the belief that all was well with India, and ergo nothing further needs to be done by you or me.

pointReturn is my silent response on the way to earning my credentials as an interpreter of India. It is influenced not a little by Gandhi’s most powerful statement: “Be the change you want to see around you.” Responsible living and physically demonstrable personal commitment, are the urgent changes needed in privileged Indians, now being seduced by promise of endless material prosperity.

I shall update this site as and when I complete a significant step in restoring 15 acres of land, about 100km outside Chennai, South India. You may write to me directly at goodnewsindia [at] gmail [dot] com

7 thoughts on “What is pointReturn?

  1. My idea of building a complete green building did not materialise in full. Yet I have completely avoided using steel and minimised the use of cement. I have used Mangalore tiles for roofing with a center opening in the middle of the house and it makes the house cool in the evenings and mornings which is not available in RCC buildings.

  2. Sir,
    As a regular reader of good news India, I used to quote many real life incidents from this web site to youngsters whenever I had the opportunity. Now, as I was wavering my mind on building something you are doing now near Chennai, I felt close to you by a feel of telepathy and am sure I can follow you and others who are already planning to go to the point of return… My place is Madurai and after I complete some of my commitments in July will surely meet you in your Kathadi Veedu one day during August 2007. I hope I will lit a light from there and carry it over to Madurai :) BTW, I live in Chennai too and many temples in and around that area were cleaned and few are being renovated by our NGO we formed REACH FOUNDATION,hence I got the name reach chandra!!!

    Kudos to your ideas and positiveness!

    Chandrasekaran j

  3. Dear Sridharanji,

    Started reading this website and after a marathon session that stretched over five days … finished yesterday.

    Hats off to your commitment and perseverance.

    Over the last few years there has been this growing discomfort … that stems out of the realisation that I am now officially PART of the rat race!

    One is lulled into inaction by the fact that one have commitments. The possibility of wealth creation promises realisation of dreams sometime in the future … every night I say to myself … “Someday”.

    Well, reading about pointReturn and other such initiatives gives me hope.

    I am still saying “someday” but this time without the heaviness!

    Will seek a lot of help and guidance from a lot of people here … hope to join in very soon.



  4. DV, not sure if you remember me since we last exchanged mails a few years back. Hats off to you for this amazing project and wish you the very best! :)

    I will certainly visit when I come to Madras next, sometime in July/Aug.



  5. Dear Sridharan,

    Felt happy to know that more and more people are experimenting with self sustaining life styles.

    I am Nandan currently working in Bangalore IT field. I am interested in natural farming and have recently bought a farm in Palakkad,kerala and am setting it up as a natural farm, as per Fukuoka’s method. I am planning to take an early retirement in next year and make a living out of farming. I hope this can be achieved with so many people to guide us.

    I am also attracted by methods of Subash Palekar, Dhabolkar even though there are some changes in the methods, mostly the theories and intentions remain same.


  6. Well, well… we are couple recently moved to Alandurai, a village 22 Kilometers from Coimbatore. We are setting up an organic farm (with some permaculture design) and are building a community center to offer a few services like Yoga and Ayurveda on a 10 acre land that we bought along with 6 friends. Right now we are talking to the people from COSTFORD, an institute founded by the Gandhian architect Lauri Baker to construct a house for us on the farm and a community center. Our intentions are identical to Sridharan and Shivaraja. Check http://www.greenlocal.org for more details.

    Perhaps all three of us and other interested people could meet sometime soon to exchange ideas and resources? Shivaraja, do write to me at: howcani at gmail dot com. Since you are local to Coimbatore, we could meet first. May be both of us could travel together to meet Sridharan.

  7. Dear Mr. Sridharan, as a regular viewer of goodnewsindia.com, I was disappointed when I did not see any new articles recently, till I learnt that you were taking a break to attend to pointReturn. Those amazing articles that you have published so far have been a source of hope and inspiration for me.
    I am following your experiment of pointReturn, and waiting for the success that will surely come!
    I am a software engineer based in Coimbatore. In my own small way, I am engaged in an experiment in sustainable living, for which I drew inspiration from some of the stories in goodnewsindia. It is a much smaller version of pointReturn, about half an acre, located on the periphery of urban Coimbatore. The objective is to prove that it is very much possible to live in a sustainable and comfortable manner in an urban setting for a nuclear family, using solar energy and rain water as the main external inputs. The harnessing of solar energy was the weak link in this plan, till Moser Baer recently realized what a goldmine this country is in terms of solar energy, and put Rs. 2600 crore of funding into building new capacities and new technologies in this area. (They have tied up with a couple of US based companies that you have already written about in goodnewsindia. Clever chaps!).
    Now I am fairly confident that the basic ingredients are in place to achieve such a sustainable manner of living even in an urban setting that is already built up and congested for space, as most Indian cities are.
    The main elements in my experiment are :-
    1)The use of solar energy – For electricity (including charging a vehicle like the Reva electric car) and heating.
    2)The optimal use of water – Harvesting the rainwater; and the use of recycled water
    3)The production of organic food for the family
    4)Material for construction – the house is to be built from the material available on the land (mostly the soil itself). I am trying to get hold of Chitra Viswanath of Bangalore (http://www.inika.com/chitra/) who has mastered this technology, but she’s hard to reach!
    Once these main points are addressed, I will turn my attention to other aspects such as the use of steel and other materials that are energy-intensive to produce.
    Even if we ignore for the time being the materials used (including the material and energy that goes into the creation of solar panels and electric storage equipment), and just achieve sustainability in the day-to-day use of energy and water, that’s a huge leap! And it looks possible!
    Since we have just started out on this road (we’ve only purchased the land so far), I don’t have a report card yet, but will keep you posted as we cross major milestones. And if you know of anyone who has already done a similar experiment, do write… oh, but then you would have published it already!!!!

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