Mangalore: We all know that a car or motorbike with ‘horse-power’ runs on ‘Gas’, but do you know a animal with ‘horse-power’ that runs on ‘Grass’ ? – and one such animal is the ‘Horse’. It is learnt that many Indians following the West are choosing to alter their lives and change consumerist habits to do their bit for the city and the environment. A ripple effect from all their work is creating awareness about exploitation of natural resources. But it’s not just the West that is looking out for more sustainable ways of living and taking to animal protection, environmental consciousness and greener lifestyles. But I ran into one youngster who is also making a difference in the society to bring awareness about pollution, saving fuel and energy, and spreading the message about caring for the animals and keeping the society green and healthy.
But you may ask me, “Who in this consumerist society would change their lifestyle to go natural? Well, quite a few I suppose, but for sure I know this young gentleman whom I had close encounters with and his horse, is surely trying to make a difference among his college and community members. He is none other than 24 years old Avinand Achanahally, a Post Graduate student doing his final year in MSW at Roshini Nilaya School of Social Work, Mangalore. Yes, people across the world and India are transforming their lifestyles and making kinder choices to do their bit for the environment, and so does Avinand. I interviewed him in the throes of this paradigm shift, who many others like him are advocating conscientious and responsible living not just in America but across the world, including India and off course, Mangalore.
Yes, vehicles use air polluting energy. They pollute water with runoff of oil, dirt, brake dust, deposited vehicle exhaust, road particles, automotive fluids, and deicing chemicals from roadways and parking lots. They’re the largest source of urban noise pollution. They create solid waste when they are scrapped (25% can’t be recycled). They kill wildlife in collisions. The mining of resources to make them pollutes the environment. On the other hand, horses produce “natural” waste that is a benefit to the landscape, and the basically operate on “solar” energy (used to grow their food).
Horses “can be” cheaper to own and operate than vehicles (depending on how you go about it, and if you have the land for them). And insurance isn’t required! And if you ride a horse instead of riding a two-wheeler or drive a car to college or your workplace, you don’t have to worry about getting a traffic violation ticket, nor you will to spend on regular oil changes or mechanical repairs nor do you have to shell out more money on fuel. Only expenses you will incur in raising and maintaining a horse is the food cost- that’s it.
How much lifestyle benefit there is really depends on your outlook on riding horses! Well, OK it also depends on how far you have to go, what the weather is like, and how much of a hurry you’re in! Horses are also great when you need someone with a listening ear to talk to. They don’t interrupt, and they’ll look up at you every now and then with those big, dark eyes (in between mouth fulls of hay) and appear very understanding and sympathetic to your problems. And it can be very therapeutic to rub their soft noses. They are very polite, calm and harmless to have them as home pet. Keeping all these in mind, Avinand opted for a ‘Horse’ rather than going to spend lavishly on a high-class motorbike or a luxurious car, like his rich friends did. He wanted something that was natural, good for the environment and energy saving.
Although, Avinand who spent close to a lakh on buying this horse, he says that’s worth the money that he put it on something that he always wanted to have, and also being the best investment. A local entrepreneur/ builder M P Ganesh has encouraged and supported Avinand in various ways, in owning and maintaining “Sikandhar”. His 7 years old male horse by the name ” Sikandhar” is of ‘Katyavadi” breed used mostly for pleasure riding, home-work use, wedding chariots, in various functions/celebrations, for fun ride etc. Avinand spends roughly Rs 2000 a month on food for the horse, comprising of grass and race-course food containing wheat husk and other ingredients, much cheaper than expenses in maintaining a vehicle.
Avinand Achanahally, is the son of a agriculturist A L Vijaya Vivekananda, who is also a coffee planter having coffee estate in Mudigere/Sakleshpur; and K U Roopa, who is a house-wife. Avinand has only one younger sister, Adamya aged 21, doing her engineering studies in Bangalore. Doing his final MSW at Roshini Nilaya, Avinand is also the General Secretary of PG All College Students Association for the year 2104-15. He is also the Director of Malanad Youth Association, and was president of College union at St Aloysius College, Mangalore in 2010-11. Originally from Mudigere, he did most of his early schooling in Bangalore, but did his college at St Aloysius here. He was a good volleyball player in ‘libro’ position, and took part in various co-curricular activities.
Avinand has great love towards animals and birds- he has a wide variety of birds, few well-bred dogs and now owns a horse. At Roshini Nilaya he has started a ” Sustainable Development” Concept, which includes birds etc – Avinand says, ” Students instead of wasting their time on their mobile phones or browsing too much on Internet, they can feel the touch of the nature, hear the chirping of birds, watch greenery around the campus, admire animals and natural surroundings. This will bring awareness in them about keeping the community environmentally clean and green”. He has also done ‘Vermiculture’ at the campus, and for all his projects he has received full support from his principal, college teaching and non-teaching staff and off course, the students, and he thanks all of them from the bottom of his heart for fulfilling his dreams and accomplishing his dream projects.
When I asked him what was his idea/motto behind riding a horse to college or do personal errands , he said, ” Since childhood I had a passion towards horses, and our family owned horses then. while all my friends wanted to buy expensive bikes and cars, I opted to stay simple and with love for the nature and animals, and also to keep the environment clean and pollute free I wanted to set an example for others also how nice and healthy it is to ride a horse than ride a bike or drive a car. By riding a horse you can learn about horse therapy, get physical fitness, and more over you will develop love towards animals, and also learn how to take care and maintain animals. My main intention in riding my horse to college is to save fuel/energy and reduce noise/air pollution”.
I should say this ” stud-boy” Sikandhar is getting popular, because every girl students of Roshini Nilaya likes to ‘flirt” with him, want to “kiss’ him, have “photos” taken with him, want to pet/touch him etc- Sikandhar is just a ” New Stud in the Campus?”. And it is nice to note that students have already shown their liking towards animals, starting with this horse. Avinand says he has plans to open a horse-riding school in the City, and he also wants to give free rides to kids whenever he gets a chance. Just lately he has been riding his horse to college, but also wants to ride his horse during any protests on rape, atrocities on women or any other protests seeking justice towards women/community, including the Nethravati Project fight.
Finally, Avinand has a message to all young students, ” Student life is a golden life, make much use of it. Simply don’t waste your precious student life on unwanted activities and bad habits. Show love and interest towards the nature and environment, utilize the benefits the nature has to offer you- and by doing thsi you can make a difference in your life and lives of others. Be a student as long as you still have something to learn and achieve, and this will mean all your life. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and power and magic in it. Begin it. Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope better for tomorrow”.
Avinand with his Parents and Sister
While we are talking about horses, I want to end this column with a silly but funny joke:
An out-of-town visitor not knowing the roads proper drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse, named Dhooma. He hitched Dhooma up to the car and yelled, “Pull, Seema, pull!” Dhooma didn’t move.
Then the farmer hollered, “Pull, Bheema, pull!” Dhooma didn’t respond.
Once more the farmer commanded, “Pull, Reema, pull!” Nothing.
Then the farmer nonchalantly said, “Pull, Dhooma, pull!” And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.
The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.
The farmer said, “Oh, Dhooma is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try.”
Exclusive Report by Alfie, Team Mangalorean
Author: Alfie DSouza- Illinois