The story goes back around 10 years. Some bright young students were having a Botany class and the topic of discussion was flowers. Flowers of all colors, red, blue, orange, violet, yellow, green... "Green?? Who said that ?", demanded the teacher. The culprit was asked about which green colored flower he had seen and was ordered to bring one to the class next day which he couldn't. The reason for this was, as the teacher told them, that there are no green colored flowers, none in the whole world !! No green roses? How unromantic !!
Fast forward 10 years and we find ourselves in Ooty. Well not exactly in Ooty but on the Coonoor - Kotagiri road, in a organic farm called "Beulah Farm" which, in Hebrew means, Blessed by God. It is run by a person called K. Eapen Jacob, who is 70 years of age and who insists that he is only the in-charge of the farm, owner being the God.
In the farm, Jacob grows various varieties of herbs, fruits and rare plants, lots of these are used in continental food. For the first time in my life, I saw 3 varieties of peppermint. There was a plant whose leaves were 50 times sweeter than sugar. And there were strawberries, peaches, avocado and marmalade oranges. And this brings us to the things for which he is famous world over, his Jams and his wines, Elixirs as he likes to call them.
He makes around 10 different kinds of jam and lots of varieties of wines (> 30). The speciality of these wines, apart from the fact that he makes one from every thing he grows on his farm, roses, rhubarb and even basil leaves, is that no yeast is used in their preparation. I am no expert on wines but he said that everywhere in the world, wines are prepared using yeast. Interestingly he says that he has no secret formula. He made his first wine from rose leaves by accident when he left a pile of them with sugar and water and forgot about it. Later when he discovered it by the nice smell it was oozing out and offered it to some of his friends, it turned out that he had produced some really fine rose wine !! Since than he has been making these wines. The hilarious part was when one company offered him lots of money for the formula but won't believe him when he told them that he has no formula !!
Jacob says that these wines are grace of God and you immediately think that such a simple person is made for God's grace. He gets a lot of visitors everyday and despite being in his 70, he is always so enthusiastic and open to show you around that it touches you. He will proudly show you all the various species of plants that he has around and some of the cute birds that he has on the farm. You always get to taste all the wines and jams whether you are buying or not. Even the prices are fixed at 100 /- per bottle which were fixed in early 90s and he has refused to increase it. He says what he is selling is the cheapest thing in the world, water and sugar. What should he charge for? Somebody should go and tell this to Pepsi and Coke please !!
And when you will come to know that out of all the various varieties of wines that he makes, he has tasted only one, you will also start calling him a magician. So much love and so much affection and you start wondering if he is for real? Where do you find a person in this camera crazy world who says that he doesn't like to be photographed? In his guest book, there are entries of people who are who is who of India and still he treated us, 5 unknown youngsters from Bangalore, with all the attention and love.
And as if all this was not enough, after 10 long years and thousands of kilometers away, it was in his garden that I found the proverbial green rose ! Yes, it exists !! The world is not that unromantic after all !!
For a second, I just turned to check if he had not just disappeared like those genies from the fairy tales. But he was right there, busy showing some other plants to the junta.
Some of the days, you just want to believe in all those fairy tales !!