VINEYARD @ BARKEGAON, MAHARASTRA,
Changes taking place in the heartland of Maharastra
I had quite an enjoyable and interesting trip to the heartland of rural West Bengal during January,2007.I wrote about that journey in my Journal in igoogle.This year, a similar opportunity of visiting a village in Maharastra came up from an unexpected quarters.
During our visit to Pune this March , my wife and I were invited by my elder son's friend Nitin Shinde to their village Barkegaon. It is 35 km from Pune.We were taken there by Girish , another friend of my son Sujash and Santosh, elder brother of Nitin.On the evening of 16th March,2008,Santosh drove through the crowded roads of Pune patiently for more than an hour before we reached their home .
Shinde shares a row-house like building with 5 families , built within a compound wall that covers half-an-acre of land. A road cuts across the sparsely populated village .The village was dark due to 3pm-to-3am power cut. The roads were illuminated occasionally by shafts of light from tractors pulling away huge trailors of sugar cane plants.Shinde's house and the Winery, lighted with emergency power generators were like islands of light on a dark canvas.
We reached Barkegaon at about 9 pm. After a typical Maharastrian vegetarian meal , we went to see the Winery under installation .Six Stainless steel vessels of varying heights and diameters, sieving and sraining mechanisms, a laboratory, all housed under a well designed shed give the impression of a young set-up for the age-old technique of wine-making.At 10 pm, the shed was humming with activity, with fluid ( crushed grapes with skins) gushing out of a tower. Nitin and Girish kept sniffing and tasting the fluid to understand if fermentation is proceeding well or not !We were slightly disappointed because we missed the crushing operation totally.....it was complted a few days before our arrival.
Next morning, we got up at 5.45 am to walk through the 7 acres vineyard before the sun-rise. The vineyard had no grapes as plucking was completed a few days before we visited Barkegaon. Some creepers were having no leaves also..... barebone creepers were being watered by thin tubes ,running across the field, supported on iron angle frames , while transparent droplets were dripping from the 'wounds' of these creepers.
I climbed up a 5 feet scaffolding to watch sun-rise across a neighbouring corn field . With greenery all around and mist lifting from the far-off hillocks, the ambience was very out-of-the-world.I remembered the other scene of sunrise I saw in Erera village where the sun emerged from the veil of light mist across a padd-field there. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cshyamal/370029885/in/set-72157594501143238/)
The produces of this corn-field ( plus those from the neighbouring villages) go to the Food-processing factory of Ashok Shinde and are then packed away to the Indian and American markets.
During the day, we went to the Winery and two Food-processing factories of Shindes. It is intersting to note how food-processing is changing the economic condition of this family,village and this region !!
A few photos of the farm,household and factories of Shindes are here.... let us hope that these two young entrepreneus do better and better in life.