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Fiji Time: 6:26 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Farming on the roof

Dawn Gibson
Saturday, October 06, 2012

AT 66 years of age, Suva-based retiree Darshan Singh Ram Rai Pur spends his days planting and occasionally selling his home-grown produce which he harvests from his roof garden.

Having grown up in Wainibuku, 9 Miles, Mr Singh told The Fiji Times he learnt how to plant from his father, the late Dhanpat Singh Ram Rai Pur.

"I came here in 1963 as a qualified motor mechanic and worked in my own garage on Auckland Street and then roughly seven years ago, after I retired, I began to plant as a hobby," he said.

Mr Singh plants chillies, english cabbage, chinese cabbage, tomatoes, okra and spinach, some of which he sells to his two tenants who flat beside his house.

"I make a living from my vegetation. I eat what I plant and get money from the tenants who rent out the two flats by my house," he added.

On top of this income generation, Mr Singh also gets revenue from a house he rents in Nakasi.

He said having an income was not everything to him, and that gardening gave him blissful peace of mind.

"When I plant, I feel happy because I am doing something with my mind and my body despite my age.

"Sometimes I can go out onto the rooftop for four or five hours a day, and other days, I can be up there for only an hour. It is hard work but it is so peaceful."

Mr Singh, who has two children — Jasmindar and Indarjeet Singh — compares the effort and love put into tending for these plants to that of raising a child

"They're just like babies, you have to keep at it, it is very time-consuming but rewarding."

Mr Singh, who lives in Toorak, says it pleases him whenever people acknowledge his dedication and creativity

"Drivers come past quite often and stop outside the house to get a glimpse of my rooftop. Some people even take a few photos while walking past," he added.

The proud retiree says he never gets lonely and he encourages more people to involve themselves in planting or anything that makes them content, particularly the older generations.