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When software engineer Venkat Iyer traded his stressful urban existence for a more relaxed rural one, he discovered that it was possible to live happily outside the framework of hyper consumerism. Iyer shares the story of his transition from managing microchips to farming in his recent book titled, Moong Over Microchips.

It may seem a contradiction in terms but change, in itself formless, is what changes all animate and inanimate forms. Change manifests itself in everything from materials, products, systems, institutions, processes and thoughts to relationships and emotions. From Heraclitus to Einstein, inquiries into change revealed diverse perspectives with each insight reaffirming the inevitability of change. In the contemporary world, change has helped individuals restructure their lives in order to ‘be the change you want to be’.

For software engineer Venkat Iyer, change meant a planned shift from a self-imposed fast-paced stressful urban existence to a more relaxed rural setting where time is plentiful and his life has a more nuanced meaning. The resolve to seek peace in a space he could call his own took root about 14 years ago and he moved to another world just hundred kilometers away from Mumbai. Convinced that a transition alone could not cleanse him of the city, he sought to be close to nature. Since farming alone couldn’t give him the equivalent of the monthly pay check he was used to, he was compelled to transform his consumerist lifestyle.

Iyer’s story is insightful and reflective and shows how personal resolve can answer the question of responsibility that comes tagged along with change. The responsibility towards self, society and surroundings can be intense and can generate much empathy for humans and other living creatures, including slithering reptiles. It soon became clear that the organic way of life was bringing back a lot of creatures to the farm. Even the colorful rooster did not need an official invite to join the flock of hens. Nature was in awe of itself, celebrating each new arrival.

The reader might wonder if such romanticism can last long, and whether ascetic living could be the new normal. Venkat relocated fairly easily despite having to battle people and their prejudices. Once he became part of the social milieu, he took support from the locals and extended cooperation to them too. The transition from managing microchips to cultivating moong was promising; harvesting 300 kgs of the common lentil as the first crop was a major morale booster.

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