Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Group Hug..of Hope

Sometimes when there are small steps big paths are laid down easily,
Sometimes it only takes a few drops
to lay the foundations of big lakes
Sometimes it's only a few hands joined
that can stand against everybody...

It stood there always, from my earliest memories as a child to now, protecting the smaller plants and nurturing them in its shadow. It's a small park, the only one in our small locality which still has some green colour it. To me the small flowers and the big banyan tree serves as a reminder that peace is still present around me, something that I miss in my busy corporate life.

It started out like any other day, where I was rushing to office as usual late. Quickly remembering if I have everything with me, my wallet, my phone, ID card and run to the car when I heard the argument. Dismissing as the usual thing, people today have such less patience and such huge ego, these arguments are now an everyday thing, but a few words caught my attention, “the tree is my friend”, “you can get any order that you want”, “but sir, I have orders to cut it down”, “We need parking space”.

Curious I decided to go and find out, the voices seem to be coming from the nearby park. Reaching there I found out that my frail grandfather was standing next to two smartly dressed men and shouting at the top of his voice, quickly I rushed next to him to just solve the matter, “Dadu, what is happening, what's all this?”, he looked at me with a forlorn look, like I would not understand, “Nothing beta, these people have decided to reduce the size of the park, and build a parking space for people like you since the number of cars have increased and there is no place to keep them. For that they need to cut down this tree and a few plants and make space. I am telling them that they can't do this, this tree has been with me since my childhood and I will not let it be murdered”

One of the man then spoke up, “Look Ma'am, this is an order from local municipality and you all have agreed to it, look I have signatures and its not that we are destroying the entire park, just a part of it and please its not call a murder, we are just cutting this one tree, please make him understand, else I will have to call police to take him away.”

Before I could say anything, he replied resolutely, “Do whatever you want, I will not let it cut, you people have destroyed the entire planet in name of development, my rivers, my air but this is personal and if you have to cut this tree, cut it along with me.”

With this, he went and hugged the tree as three of looked helplessly, hastily I told them, “look, why don't you come back in the evening and we will sort it out.”

And I left for office, but I just couldn't concentrate on work. The question of whether it is a murder or just cutting of another tree, kept on troubling me. I left early for home to get it resolved. Just as I was about to reach home, I saw a huge commotion outside the park, fearing the worst I rushed inside the park, thinking I will need to take dadu home, even if by force.

Inside was a completely different scenario, all the children of the locality were sitting around the tree that my dadu was still hugging and a few other elderly people had joined the hug, the two officers of the morning were standing with an angry look along with a few police officers and the angry parents were calling out to children and their parents to come back home.

Seeing me, of the angry mothers started out, “It's all because of your grandfather, look they are not letting police do their duty, its just a tree. The space is so much needed, we are buying a new car next month and where will we park it, please ask him to stop the melodrama.”

I don't know what got to me, but I saw the birds resting and the leaves dancing to the breeze and I went beside my dadu and smiled, “go home, Its now my turn to hug my other grandfather, my banyan tree, Don't worry I won't let it be murdered.”

He looked at me with disbelief, then smiled, “Thanks beta, I am so happy” and then I joined the group hug as more and more of us joined, hugging the old tree and deciding we will not let it be murdered.

We sent an application and the authorities relented, we explained to everyone why saving that one tree mattered and now when I look at that tree, as it sways with the breeze as people sit underneath its shadow, my heart fills with hope, optimism, yes there is humanity and love still left. Let's protect our environment around us, we can do it with a few small steps..of HOPE!!

Let's revisit the CHIPKO movement and hug the trees around us!! Let's renew the HOPE and OPTIMISM in humanity!!

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