by Pradeep Pariyar Thapa
Often, if not gazillion times, many asked me why I started farming in America; “Why don’t you return to Nepal if you are going to do just farming?” They asked me as if I should not be doing farming in USA at all and as if I shouldn’t switch to farming after all other professions (IT, journalism) I pursued for so long. But, let me tell you- it’s never too late to do the right thing in our lives. If we have undying passion, conviction and inquisitiveness on anything good, we should not wait to start our new journey of life. Farming is my life long goal and I’ve underlying, undying passion for it and guided by my conviction and inquisitiveness of doing it right.
My family owned farmland for generations to date. I am a born farmer, came to existence into farming family. I grew up in playing on my maternal grandmother’s lap (see picture when I was 6 months old with frak (bhoto). I used to roam into corn field and rice terraces before I was part of it. My Mom once told me my exciting (rather exotic!) birth story- I was born next to a buffalo calf called Seti. First peck of kiss I received was from that cute little calf buddy. I’ve vivid memories of the fresh raw milk that I drank directly from that loving mother buffalo called Kaili. My father and mother used to squeeze the milk from Kaili’s cistern out to my younger brother’s and my wide open little mouth. I am forever grateful to Kaili that I was nourished by her milk (dudh), lacktoderm (tar), yogurt (dahi), butter (nauni), buttermilk (mohi) and clarified butter (ghiu/ghee). Ever since, I have never forgotten those fond childhood memories. And, now, I want to create that magic and tradition here in the United States.
Long story short- while pursuing better life, I studied IT, adapted life with technology and migrated to the United States. My life was perfectly fine until COVID pandemic emerged and affected everything. Suddenly, continents, countries, counties, cities, villages, offices, restaurants and so on so forth went into lockdown mode. Grocery stores became empty or closed. Uncertainty of our lives was so fraught with grief and fear. I went into re-engineering of my thought process then I realized that our hunger can not be shut off. We need to feed ourselves and the community no matter what. With this bittersweet reality, I decided to make U-TURN and go back to basic for what I was raised for- that’s just farming, farming and farming.
To be continued…