Their decision to return to native village from UK was dubbed as ‘foolish’ by many but the couple was firm in their resolution to reconnect with the roots.
Ramde and Bharati Khuti, the creators of the popular YouTube vlog ‘Live Village Life with Om & Family”, appear to be the perfect exemplar of how to lead a sustainable, rural lifestyle in these times of mindless urbanisation. From organic farming to cooking over an earthen hearth or celebrating the little-known folk festivities – the Khuti family is setting sustainability goals for everyone.
For any new viewer chancing upon their channel, it is almost impossible to assume that barely three years ago, the couple was well-settled in London, UK. They gave it all up and returned to their native village Beran in 2017 to pursue organic farming and lead a picture-perfect village life, with their five-year-old son, Om.
Located in Porbandar district, the quaint, nondescript village of Beran was where Ramde Khuti was born and brought up. The peaceful village life had an everlasting impact on his upbringing, so much so that he couldn’t ignore the beckoning of the village soil even when he was at the peak of success in London.
Giving Up the Dream Life in London
Talking to The Better India, Bharati Khuti shares, “We moved to the UK in 2010, just six months after our marriage, which we spent in Beran. In London, I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Travel & Tourism from Sunderland University while Ramde made a decent career as a retail manager.”
She continues, “We were staying in Stratford in East London and leading a life which was sought after by many. But, for us, it was never at par with life back home. We somehow never thought of becoming permanent citizens of the UK.”
It was after the birth of their son Om in 2014 that the couple began to reconsider their future options.
“My father-in-law’s health was not well at that time. Ramde wanted to return to India and support his parents in their senior years. At that time, I was working as a trainee air hostess with British Airways, while Ramde was a successful managerial executive. Returning to India would amount to giving up all our hard-earned success in London,” shares Bharati.
Returning to the roots
However, it’s the calling of the motherland that prevailed and the couple decided to return to India after meticulous thinking. Their decision was dubbed as ‘foolish’ by many but the couple was firm in their resolution to reconnect with the roots and offer their son a healthy lifestyle.
In August 2015, the couple returned to Beran – a village inhabited by a little more than 200 families. Farming had always been the family profession but it was all conventional cultivation with heavy use of chemicals. Ramde and Bharati vowed to alter the practice and adopt organic farming.
In nearly seven acres of family land, the couple started growing groundnut, cumin, coriander, sesame, Jowar (sorghum) and grass for their cattle – everything in a completely organic manner. They replaced the chemical fertilisers and pesticides with their organic homemade alternatives. At the same time, they bought buffaloes and started traditional dairy farming at home.
One of the First Family Vlogs in Gujarat
“While both of us were engaged in farming full-time, I wanted to do something more, something of my own. That’s when I had the idea of recording our lives and showing the world how beautiful village life actually is. People always tend to stereotype villages as backward, but we wanted to end that myth by making videos out of our daily life,” shares Bharati.
The duo thus started vlogging in 2017 and their videos soon gained an unprecedented amount of popularity on YouTube and social media. At present, they boast of a whopping 4.5 lakh subscriber base while also enjoying a dedicated follower base on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Their son Om also features regularly in their videos.
“We are now one of the top vlogging channels in Gujarat and perhaps the only family vloggers. Our audience is spread all across the country and many of them have been inspired by us to adopt organic farming,” shares Bharati.
Inspiring Thousands Across the Country
Through organic farming, the family enjoys an annual turnover of around 7 to 8 lakh rupees, depending on the rainfall and other seasonal factors. Coupled with their income from vlogs and social media, they easily earn way more than their income in the UK. And not to mention that their lives are much more peaceful and happier as proud citizens of India.
The couple will be acquiring their official organic certification this year after which they are willing to expand their sales. But informally, they have managed to influence hundreds of farmers in their own village and neighbouring hamlets as well, to take up organic farming. People who were sceptical initially decided to go through after seeing their success first-hand.
In a real-life Swades-like story, Ramde and Bharati Khuti have emerged as role models in not only Beran but all over the country.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)