1.3 The call of the soil – Activity – 1

Read the extract & complete the activities given below [12]

It was April 2004. I stood in the middle of the lush green field of moong (green gram)and looked around me. It was just before sunrise and the sky was turning a bright orange. The ground was damp and the leaves were shining with dew. My bare feet were muddy as I walked around gingerly, inspecting the plants.

Around me were rows of chikoo trees and below a dense foliage of moong. At that point, I could not have asked for anything more. The moong plants, not more than two feet tall, had green pods hanging out. The pods were not yet ripe and there was a light fuzz growing on them. There was still some time before the  harvest. I  felt exhilarated.

I stood watching the sun rise above the towering trees across the fence and slowly made my way back to the house, a white structure in the middle of this greenery. I could not believe that I was the owner of this land and that I was looking at my first crop as a farmer. After I had paid the advance money for the land, I thought I would have sometime to get familiar with farming. But Morudada, the broker who got us the land, had other ideas. He was keen that we plant moong at once. I was not prepared for this. I was still reading books and trying to figure out what we could  sow  and how  we  should  go  about it.  Moru Dada was quite firm. He said the season was right for sowing moong and the best seeds were available in  Surat in  the  adjacent state of  Gujarat.

I made a quick trip to Surat and bought around 10 kilograms of moong. Moru Dada rented his tractor to plough the land and quickly planted moong all over the  place.

A few days later, we were overjoyed to see tiny green leaves. I had never seen moong growing before and was thrilled at the sight. It was the same thrill I had felt as a young boy when I saw the first of the hibiscus I had planted bloom at the Railway Quarters in Vile Parle in Mumbai. I was grateful to have taken Moru’s advice.

The next thing Moru dada wanted to do was spray some pesticide on the plants. He claimed that it would give a higher yield. This was something we did not want to do. We were clear that we would not use any chemicals and tried to explain it to him. He reacted as if  we  had suggested  hara-kiri.  It  took  a lot  of convincing to ensure that Moru Dada and his friends did not use any chemicals on the farm. They refused to understand how crops could grow without sprays.

Contrary to what everyone had told us, nature did her job and she needed no bribes to get the work done. Soon it was harvest time and we managed a respectable 300 kilograms. An awful lot of moong and with it a lot of confidence. Now I was certain the land was fertile and that it was possible to grow crops without chemicals. It  was a major morale booster.

A1] Global Understanding- [2]

Match the pairs –

           A                                  B

  1. Surat                     a. April 2004
  2. Moong                  b. Land broker
  3. First farming      c. First Crop
  4. Morudada           d. Moong Seeds

A2] Complex factual – [2]

Complete the following sentences.

  1. The writer remembered the thrill that he had felt….
  2. Morudada claimed that……

A3] Analysis – [2]

Give Reasons-

The writer disagreed with Morudada because..

A4] Personal Response [2]

‘Nature needs no bribes to get the work done.’ – Do you agree with this statement? Explain.

A5] Language study [2]

Do as directed:

  1. I made a quick trip to Surat. [Rewrite the sentence beginning with  ‘ quick trip …….’]
  2. I could not have asked for anything more. [Frame a rhetorical question]

A6] Vocabulary [2]

Find words related to agriculture from the extract.

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