Chai Chat - an invitation to pursue your passion

 jaya narayan

We all work for a living BUT do we truly, deeply, passionately love what we do? Very few amongst us actually do.
Most of us have resigned to the fact that enjoying what we do and making money are mutually exclusive.
Now meet Savita, a dear friend and a fellow co traveler in the journey of personal growth. Savita to me represents someone who has nurtured a unique dream and has been able to make it commercially viable.

I hope her story can help us review our strengths, passions and avenues to bring them to life.
Me: Tell me something about what you do?
Savita: I have created “Buda Folklore” that is located in Honnavur in the Uttara Kannada region of Karnataka. Buda Folklores' vision is to emerge as a focal knowledge center for folk culture and heritage. We plan to create a folklore research center with an extensive database on various tribes and indigenous communities thereby ensuring public access and awareness about folklore.
We do the following -
  • Education
  • Publication
  • Research and Documentation
  • Production
  • Community development
  • Conservation
Our focus is on -
  • Propagating the knowledge of folklore of Uttara Kannada to the world
  • Making folklore traditions relevant to current world scenarios across various application
  • Creating a learning community that explore folklore knowledge and its application in contemporary situation.
  • Exploring connections and commonalities with folklore traditions across India and the world.
  • Sharing knowledge-online
  • Enabling continuity of folklore
Me : How did you discover your love for this area of work ? What about you (as a person) makes this area special?
Savita: I grew up in a context where village life was valued and we had close relationships with indigenous communities. Their dark kitchens, open bathrooms, the festivals, the village fair, the sound of folk music, the smell of firewood, and the kerosene lamps stayed with me in my early childhood memories.

I interacted closely with the tribals who were affectionate, content and happy people. I saw them transforming into scholars of great knowledge. They could recognize hundreds of medicinal plants, make tools and toys on the go. They would sing songs based on epics and their perspective on these epics was so different from what we read in books. I experienced community living with their rituals and festivals. They enjoyed an intimate connection with nature. Every part of their life involved nature. There was simplicity and wisdom in their way of living.

When I went to the city to work as a teacher. I missed that part of me. I realized that this unique context provided me a perspective that others who were city bred lacked. I also found a lot of ignorance about tribes / tribal living.

I realized there was immense scope to explore new avenues, revisit documented knowledge at field level, and showcase their work. I painted the canvas to create “Buda folklore”. Building on our existing relationship with the local communities I started examining ways of facilitating small scale low impact cultural tourism to the area. I involved the local communities to help diminish the negative cultural impacts that tourism has especially on the young people of the communities.

Today, we have been embraced by everyone who values our wisdom and traditions.

Me: How do you make your passion earn money?
Savita: I have combined my passion with education and community development. Honnavar the place itself was a great advantage for me to attract people. The geographical landscape of Honnavar with the Western Ghats on one side and the Sharavathi River and the Arabian sea on the other side is unique in its location.

At first, I took my friends on a holiday to stay with my parents and enjoy the local cuisine. Then I invited a group of my students to experience Honnavar .Then I invited schools with nominal fee. Then I invited students from Mount Carmel College for internships for a month to documentation work.

Now we have expanded - have a multitude of offerings
  • Workshops on medicinal plants, folk art, mat weaving, folk drinks, uncultivated plants.
  • Honoring folk artisans
My next plan is to initiate a pilot project in the region to develop artisan community centers that would act as culture center for the community as well as a place for visitors to go and come away with a better understanding of the community and the local culture.

I am able to recover all my costs and invest the money back to the communities. We invite schools, environmentalists, designers, historians, botanists, food technologists, culture travelers, architects through our various programs. We provide them an opportunity to interact, observe, and learn by living with the tribes in Uttara Karnataka.

Me: What gives you the determination to work around challenges / obstacles?
Savita : Working with the community is not an easy task. For them visualizing the long term benefits is not easy May be its our need to conserve or to preserve. I have several limitations. The biggest challenge is working without appropriate communication medium -brochure, website, blogs, posters etc. Communication plays an important role in this kind of work. But what helps me is so many people joining hands, I see friends helping me in writing proposals for funds etc. I see more and more educational institutions sending in their students here.

Me : What is your message to others who are waiting at the threshold?
Savita : If you are really passionate about something and if you truely believe in it then take a deep dive. Until then your soul will be restless until you take that decision.
This path gives you strength.
It becomes your identity.
It becomes your life and soul.
Money follows.


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