“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 agree to invest my money inland, 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 to 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 the year 2000, everybody in my family, including my father forgot about this investment. I didn’t, after all, it was my first investment.
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 plot. Today, I have come to own a farmhouse and a completely integrated micro-farm about two hours’ drive away from my current residence. This plot of land is the greatest 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.
Moral of the story: Land is the seed.”
Athher Ahmed – Founder, Paalaar Urban Farms.