Category Archives: Stepping Stones

the frequent but not so small leaps needed to achieve our goal

Global Sustainability Jam Hyderabad (Nov 23-24)


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Roots hosted this years Sustainability Jam in Hyderabad. An event of global scale, the jam was conducted in upto 60 countries with frequent twitter updates throughout the network along with skype sessions between participants of different cities. India itself had 4 cities participating with Hyderabad playing host for the first time since the 5 or 6 years of  the jams inception!

The Sustainability jam happened immediately after the finish of the co-working floor and was an interesting experiment foreshadowing the type of climate we wish to expect on that floor and throughout the premises. While this event was a single time affair that happened globally we would like to envision our space becoming a more permanent base and outlet for people to hack the urgent and pressing issues that we are witness to. Now lets get the momentum to build!

Here is the event as featured in the Hindu..

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Raj Janagam Introduction to Roots


1463647_660246474015877_1928231235_n Jammers congregate on 2nd floor to flesh out their Idea/s


Solutions, solutions, solutions!!


Some jammers slacking off on the second floor..



Place Making in Hyderabad



Any pioneering effort can arouse lots of cynicism. Ive often heard that what were doing is impractical, not “possible” within the narrowly defined limits of our surrounds. Ive heard friends and family tell me that california is a safe haven for these experiments.

Luckily the red carpet has already been laid out in hyderabad. Its very comforting that this trend is already apparent and thriving thanks to a few pioneer species who have already done the footwork in proving a concept thats not stifled by limitations. While each effort differs in its own way we are all here in the spirit of restoring the commons in whatever varied form. The following article is an ode to these oasis’.

You can Find the full length article here.

Swathi Sucharita from Times of India says, “Hyderabad is witnessing an upsurge of intimate, cultural spaces created by individuals, not spurred by commerce, who feel the imperative need for nurturing such ‘thinking’ spaces in any healthy society”

Here Is a video by our friend from over at “our Sacred Space” describing her journey. She came back after a 13 year stint In Berkeley, California. You can find more details about her in the article above as well. You go girl!!

NVC (early Sep 2013)


September marked the arrival of Shammi Nanda and along with him he has brought us the gifts of Non Violent communication and Restorative circles. More than techniques these are immersions into a state of conciousness that leverage our innate sense of empathy using effective communication through NVC while Restorative circles are a form of violence prevention structured to transform conflict and see the dormant gift that it can reveal. I firmly believe we can organize systems of justice at the grassroots level that prevent escalation of conflict that leads to wastage of immense resources directed toward a justice system that is primarily embedded in a reward punishment duality. Like shammi says it is essential in any ecovillage or Intentional community effort to dedicate a space for creative fighting, taking the time do develop a means to resolve conflict or else neglecting to do so often ends up draining the spirits of community memebers in the long run.. For more Information on NVC please see and for more information on RC’s please see

Here is a writeup in the Hindu relating the offerings he made while in Hyd.

Below are pics from the 2 day NVC workshop @ roots.

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left to right: Harshita Soni, Shika Gandhi, Srikanth Dhulipala, Shammi Nanda

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Center circle: Needs in blue Outer circle: feelings in pink

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Guinni Arora, Harshita Soni

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Left to right: Shammi nanda, madhu Phani, Raj Janagam, Guinni Arora

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Millet Workshop: Learn-Cook-Taste (Circa July 2013)


Shyam who heads Jiva Organics  conducted his first millets workshop at Roots. The workshop was hands on with a cooked shared lunch as well as an awareness based presentation (see Powerpoint) Millets have innumerable benefits and have been part of the local staple diet until recently. Easy to grow, organic and suprisingly nutritious they are amazing substitutes for common cereals (please see attached pdf for a point by point comparison in slide 6).


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Another amazing emergence in Hyderabad is recent debut of a Millets based Restaurant by the name of Ahaar Kuteer, located in Begumpet, here are some additional pics I took upon my visit. Now whoever said progress is a slow process?

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DIY products and Gift Circle (circa september)


Two much awaited fetishes we have at roots are DIY (Do-it-yourself) Eco friendly products and gift culture. This week heralded the preview to not one but both! We also had a special guest appearence from our forest friends Rene and Richa who live at one of the original communities in Auroville by the name of Fertile. That with a dash of tribal festivity and colors made the evening quite holistic…


(from left to right) Akhil, Dulip, Chef Ali, Psy, Richa, Rene, Sneha, Surya Vamsi


Great collaborative community building activity given the varied designation of tasks 😉 and not to mention the ladoos pack a wallop of taste and energy!


We made spontaneous face art out of these! talk about stacking functions 😉

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With all the inspiration that poured through on that day we also managed to have a spontaneous gift circle. Gift circles are something I have always imagined to be a mainstay at roots, a process I hope to engage in as per reinforcing gift culture and community kinship, both of which are not mutually exclusive but integral to one other..For more information on the what and hows of gift circles please see this

For an inspiring write up on our gifting based roots and how it is relevant to modernity please see Eisensteins A Circle of Gifts..

As an Adjunct to the aforementioned extravaganza we also had a general get together a few months later (November)  to discuss Gift Economy and its applicability within local context. One of our Special guests was a regular visitor to Hyderabad by the name of Vinod Sreedhar. He has been an active component of “Giftivism” and had some wise words to share. You can find more of his work at  Journeys with Meaning.

The whole evening had the same joy de vivre  that was evident and comparable to the first gathering. Just the symbolic labeling of the event seems to inspire a type of energy revolving around trust and abundance. Lets hope our experiments with more Gift Circles and Seva Cafe have the same follow through!


Left to Right..Vivek Oak (Hyderabdi freelance computer wiz and holistic thinker), Nina Osswald (organic farming expert) Emna (visiting from Tunisia and working for non profit bhumi), Vinod Sreedhar, Dhaval Shukla ( Swaraj university grad and Bhumi volunteer)


Far right.. Natale Danko (Theatre, entertainer, social activist, cross pollinator)