In 1986, at the age of 18, I had with me Rs 1800/-. This was my first income, earned working for three months at a salary of Rs 600/- per month. Perhaps worried that the money may make me go wayward, my dad made an offer that I couldn’t resist. If I agreed to invest my money in a property, he was willing to contribute Rs 1800/- towards the purchase of a plot. I liked the deal. I dreamt of my dad getting me a plot of land opposite Spenser Plaza on Mount road and therefore agreed to his offer.

Partially my dream didn’t come true., For Rs 3600/-, my dad bought a 20,000 SFT barren piece of land in a nondescript village near Acharapakkam, a town 5 hours away by bus from Chennai those days. By year 2000, everybody in my family, including my dad, had forgotten about this investment. I didn’t; after all, it was my first investment.

founder - paalaar urban farms

By 2010 this place came to be called Melmaruvathur, and property prices skyrocketed in and around it. Around 2010, I started work on developing my plot and erected a fence on the perimeter, sunk in a borewell, and planted a few fruit-bearing tree saplings on my plot of land. Sometimes through design and at other times through providence, a few cows, goats, and hens got added to the property. Today, I have come to own a farmhouse that contains all the elements that constitute an integrated micro-farm. Btw, the traveling time between my current residence in Royapettah and my farmhouse in Melmaruvathur has also drastically come down with the improvements in road infrastructure in the last 30 years. This plot of land is the most tremendous boon that my family got. We spend our holidays and spare time in our farmhouse. We grow our own food on this plot of land.

When I retire from active life, which I have no intention of doing, you will probably find me tilling my land, tending my cows, goats & sheep, and collecting eggs from the hen’s cages.

Three months salary got me a farmhouse

Moral of the story: Land is the seed.” Athher Ahmed – Founder, Paalaar Urban Farms.