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    The Channe4 show, Grand Designs, in which  TV presenter Kevin McCloud follows some of Britain's most ambitious self-building projects, as intrepid individuals attempt to design and construct the home of their dreams, is exciting as the episodes depict how the almost impossible dreams of people somehow materialise. But one always wondered if the price in terms of the financial, physical and psychological struggle was worth it.

    That was why when one of my close friends and colleague told me a few years back that he and his wife too were excited and serious about living their eco friendly dream and were relocating to France, I didn’t realise how serious he was.  I always thought the dare devils who become celebrities on the TV were always a minority who you don’t meet in real life but, Les and Christine Sheldon really proved me wrong.


    In fact it was another close friend Salim, thousands of miles away in India, who dreamt and realised his dream of building an eco friendly home in his ancestral land, strewn with teak and rosewood trees hundreds of years old, who proved to me that the art of living for Eco Love is not restricted to the western world and is more universal than one would have thought.

    While the Sheldons had to go through the rigors of moving lock stock and barrel across the channel and hunting, finding and developing a dilapidated property in a village with hardly 30 inhabitants, in reality a harrowing experience not much different from the episodes you watch on the television, my friend Salim had to wait till his retirement to eventually find the time to realise his dream home and had to struggle no less, albeit for different reasons.

    As it happened, Les had to dig as deep in to the ground to build his swimming pool as he had to climb to repair his crumbling roof and of course do all the hard labour of renovating the in interiors to convert to modern habitable rooms which he lets out as well as landscape the wonderful garden space he and his guests surely enjoy.

    Salim, on the other hand had to get his tiles seasoned under rain and sun for a couple of years to get that antique feel for his new roof so that it doesn’t stand out under the shade of the old trees and surrounding greenery, small change in comparison to the task of supervising and managing a horde of unskilled labour he could muster locally.

    Nevertheless, looking at what they have achieved, I must admit that perhaps the joy people derive from pain and hassle they go through to fulfil their desire to go back to the nature and find harmony with it is greater than what they derive from achieving more material things in life.

    While modernising, rebuilding and developing your home is nothing new and in many cases something you can’t avoid, if you love nature and give that love to your project, the whole process can be a rewarding experience, like more and more people are finding out.

    Article first published in TECHNORATI as http://technorati.com/lifestyle/green/article/the-joy-of-eco-love-and/


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