Farming for life

Listen to this article:

Chand Lal at home. Picture: NAVNESH REDDY

Family unity and upbringing, play a key role in grooming a person’s personality. Such teachings influence one’s outlook on life.

Chand Lal grew up living a simple and humble life in the farm.

His family instilled in him, at a very young age, about building a future for himself.

He and his eight siblings had a tough upbringing growing up in the Sigatoka Valley His parents were farmers and faced challenges bringing up a huge family of seven sons and two daughters.

“We used to get up early to milk the cows,” he recalled. “We also took them to the open field for grazing and helped our parents in doing farm work.”

The 83-year-old feels emotional whenever he reminisces the good old days when he was growing up with his siblings.

“Now only me and my younger brother are alive. The rest have passed away,” he said.

“I stopped going to school when I was in Year 6 because my dad passed away. All siblings had to share responsibilities.”

He added that his elder brother Bhan Pratap was more of a role model to him during those tough times. But rural life, as demanding as it seemed been, gifted him with a long life.

“Even at this age, I am able to walk properly and interact with people.

“I often stay at home with my family and meet up with friends and family members only on special occasionally.”

Lal has encouraged teenagers and youths to farm their land and not depend too much on white collar jobs as farming can reap better financial returns.

“I feel farming is largely neglected because climate change has played a major role in turning many away from the land.”

The octogenarian said understanding each other’s differences and working together as a family were important factors in maintaining peace and goodwill in the community.”

“My wife was a very hardworking lady. She helped me in farming and in almost everything I did.”

“She passed away around nine years ago. My younger brother lives next to my house and our families have a very healthy relationship. We respect each other and share a strong bond.”

He says families must not indulge in petty conflicts but build harmony and togetherness.