Sandhya Sourirajan


I am a nature enthusiast, travel blogger, trekker, solo backpacker, sustainability geek, heritage enthusiast, bird watcher, animal conservation worker, pet lover, organic gardener, researcher and just another Indian harbouring crazy dreams of a clean and green India.

“There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.” – George Matthew Adams

The above inspirational quote has contributed so much to my progress in every stage of my life and I owe it to hundreds of wonderful souls around me, who have guided, motivated and encouraged me to live and enjoy every bit of my life.

I have been gardening and connected to nature since my childhood, however my love affair with nature and woods started with a project in my college days. My professor had received a project proposal to design an alert system for elephants crossing forest borders and for the same our team had to visit the forest to understand the existing techniques and its challenges. Wild elephant intrusion around villages close to forest borders is quite common near Coimbatore for several years, and back in 2009/10, the forest officials had set up solar powered fence and had dug trenches as deep as 10 feet to prevent elephants from getting into villages. However, what captivated me that most was the presence of mind of the giant animal. I was astounded to notice that the elephants had been very smart enough to identify the motherboard of the solar fence and smash it by uprooting a nearby tree. Thus, with the power of the solar fence gone, they were able to freely get past the borders into the nearby villages. Whereas, upon encountering the trenches, the elephants had to just create a makeshift bridge by uprooting few more strong trees to get to the other side of the trench. This experience made me realize that we are nothing in front of nature, and my way of looking at animals and birds drastically changed from this day.

After getting to know about Chennai Trekking Club through a few volunteers in the 2011 Chennai Coastal Cleanup, my journey to woods began. The birding bug bit me after a few treks and a birding guide and binoculars got added to my backpack as I started pursuing bird-watching as a hobby. Few years into bird-watching (I am still an amateur :P), I was pained to notice that watching birds required a long travel from the city due to loss of bird habitats. My next few months were spent in re-modelling my garden to be a butterfly and bird habitat by adding a few host and nectar plants. After Vardah devastated my garden in Dec 2016, I am re-working a pollinator friendly garden as few species of birds and butterflies visit my garden regularly.

While being involved in a number of plastic awareness sessions with CTC, I came to know that single use plastics need not be dumped into the daily waste baskets as they could be reused for laying plastics roads. Encountering landfills of waste even in some of the frequently visited forests motivated me to shun disposables to a major extent in my daily life. Since 2014, I have been segregating my waste at source, reusing the organic waste in my garden, recycling the hard plastics to a kabadiwala, providing thin plastics to vendors (who use these thin plastics for laying plastic roads) and have worked to adopt reusable items to reduce my daily waste. I owe it to some of the amazing CTC volunteers around me, who have motivated me to adopt a nearly close to zero waste lifestyle.

Diving deep into gardening, I was troubled to read about the murky tactics employed in India to exploit farmers. I finally quit my IT job in June 2017 to visit a number of NGOs to understand the farming techniques practiced across India while freelancing as a Software Consultant for some of the farming projects. After reading the books of Masanobu Fukuoka and Subash Palekar, I realized that farming is something that is feasible without burning holes into our pockets and I have been practicing zero budget natural gardening in my backyard from 2017. From Mar 2018, I have been designing User Interfaces for IIM-B Agriculture project in Bellary/Dharwad districts for farmer/crop data collection, suggestion of fertilizers with most optimal cost through linear optimization, etc. One of my long term plans is to use machine learning and data analytics to bring down the farmer suicides in India and improve the lives of the farming community.

This blog page is a collection of few beautiful memories from my beautiful past with occasional posts on gardening, solo backpacking, birding, trekking, waste management and farming practices. Happy reading 🙂