*“La Dolce Far Niente.”
Oftentimes, we have to disconnect to re-connect; disconnect many aspects of one’s present lifestyle to recall and re-connect to pleasant, often fading memories, feelings and emotions. In so doing, we find that we achieve a long-lasting mental and therefore, physical boost.
When did you last stay at a safe place, far away from your schedule-determined, harried and hurried life, in a brick and mortar world that made you reflect on memories of a relaxed life, of your carefree childhood and the other ‘good times’? When did you last muddy your hands and knees, planting trees or playing with friends under the village mango tree? When did you fall in love?
“Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?”
Do you remember and want to re-live those easy-flow days when you simply toddled alone in the woods; in gardens caressing flowers and plants, listening to the whisper of leaves. looking at the sparkling stars in a clear, dark blue sky? When did you see fireflies dancing under a tree?. When were you just relaxing on a comfortable perch in an open verandah, looking at the sky and wondering where the birds are flying to?
When did you, if ever, sleep in a home laid out on the pattern of a tribal hut, soaking in the plain beauty and purity of rough limestone washed walls adorned with photos or paintings between tastefully selected curtains; simple cemented floors with terracotta borders, and windows and doors ornately sketched with dancing figures, flowers and birds? When did you lie comfortably in bed just looking out to a green, green world?
At Svanir, you can do just that and more. You can walk over to a fruit tree patch, un-contaminated with chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizers, and pluck the juiciest, seasonal offerings of nature, and then without bothering about the frustrating persuasions of a clock, sit under a tree and relish its original nature gifted taste. If you come during a non-fruiting season, you can join the household caring for the plants, removing grasses and weeds from their base or spraying natural neem-karanja liquid to keep insects away….resolving that you will return during the fruiting season…
You can always walk over to our fully organic kitchen garden, grown with tender care and pluck a bhindi, perhaps a cucumber or a bitter gourd and then take it to the kitchen for preparing that special dish that your mother used to lovingly cook for you …so many decades ago. Of course, Indrani would plead with you to teach her the recipe and knowing her, show you the very next day, her adaptation of it. The chief tester would however be baby Ishaan. His immediate expression would tell you what he has thought of it!
Would the other guest just watch? Certainly not. They too would join in with their versions for the next meal ….and we can all have a great time. Nothing like a foody time in life, you would surely agree. Indrani would make available to you one of the two kitchens for all this excitement. Soumya and I for one would wait patiently just around the dining hall for that call, “Lunch is served”!
Your children, who may have read of farms and natural gardens but have not entered one can establish a bonding with unhurried and undemanding nature, and the peace she brings. Through their instinct and eyes and spurred on by the force of fresh-air-inhaled lungs they would discover nature’s interactive character. Is that a butterfly or a moth they may ask? When city lights are not there to obscure their vision they may ask, “Papa, what is that star?” or just remark, “I have never seen so many stars…. is that how the night sky looks? Would we adults have an answer…..or would we be thinking of the last part of the “Ever So Important Project Report”?. We are told that some children in western countries still believe that milk comes from a vending machine!
“We are so fond of being out among nature because it has no opinions about us”, said Nietzsche, the German philosopher. I would like to add that nature always gives, never takes, even when apparently in a calamity or death, we tend to think otherwise. It is just that we must have the heart and the widest of concepts to know this. We at Svanir are privileged to share our non-materialistic wealth with you. Please come and enrich our minds too, in the process of viewing and understanding. Please find time … including in the rainy season when nature is verdantly rich and its creatures are most active. Come and see the fireflies.”The best things in life are not things,” Art Buchwald.
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough”. Rabindranath Tagore.
“But there’s a very serious point, and I think that in the headlong dash of daily life, we often lose sight of the damage that this bank-centric, roadrunner form of living does to us. We’re so marinated in the culture of speed that we almost fail to notice the toll it is taking on every aspect of our lives — on our health, our diet, our work, our relationships, the environment and our community. And sometimes it takes a wake-up call, doesn’t it, to alert us to the fact that we’re hurrying through our lives, instead of living them; that we’re living the fast life, instead of the good life. And I think for many people, that wake-up call takes the form of an illness. You know, a burnout, or eventually the body says, “I can’t take it anymore,” and throws in the towel. Or maybe a relationship goes up in smoke because we haven’t had the time, or the patience, or the tranquillity, to be with the other person, to listen to them.” Carl Honoré.
To visitors we plead: we would appreciate it if you do not come to Svanir tagging a busy schedule in mind– to see this and that and that the whole day. Of course, one must experience local wonders and events but at a pace that feels like every moment is a Sunday. An essential ingredient of every normal Sunday, please do not forget, is a relaxed morning, a great breakfast, a cosy corner of the garden reading a book from the home book-shelf and suddenly falling asleep… till the nudging scent of some special dish coming from the direction of the kitchen stirs your appetite. Then that special siesta…when did you have that without a phone call from your boss jarring you to a state of neurotic alertness? The day will flow quietly on and the night sky will beckon, not the strident debates on a TV set. Wondering why you are again feeling so sleepy, you will doze off…Just a couple of days at Svanir, and you will feel like a different person… ready to go back with several ideas for your next project…the one that you were finding no answers to. This is rejuvenation…yes, come to Svanir.
*“La Dolce Far Niente,” means, in Italian, the sweetness of doing nothing. According to Psychology Today, “The idea that “doing nothing,” is an event in and of itself…..How different would your quality of life be if you made time throughout the day to experience la dolce far niente? Instead of ……. checking your email one last time to see if anyone else is needing you to do something, instead of using your free time to check your bank accounts or pay that cell phone bill- What if you just did nothing?”.
27th September 2019.