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Growing up in small towns in the early 1960’s we lived in houses with gardens and lots of plants and animals. There was no concrete on the pavement or on the side of the roads. We did not need rain water harvesting and houses had a maximum of 2 or 3 floors. Living in Delhi now I have to make an effort to go to a park or garden to see the good old mother earth. We have concrete jungles, be it markets or apartment housing blocks or high rise buildings having 13 floors or more. Last week I read an article in Hindustan Times that Noida is considering a one house one family policy to re charge ground water. I distinctly remember seeing ground water being pumped out to build underground parking when a Plaza was being constructed in Greater Noida. So first we drain out the water and then make laws to gather rain water. We are doing things in an absolutely absurd manner. I met a lady around 15 years back, and she lamented that she constructed her house with a functional rain water harvesting system. The authorities did not inspect it and did not give her completion certificate. Kind of reminds me of the woodcutter sitting on the branch he was also cutting.
Our children are living in these concrete jungles and we are now celebrating Earth day so the people become aware of how Earth needs to be saved. There is a broader community awareness and base with a designated Earth Day I am told. I was asked to do a workshop for children related to Earth day. Great! Individuals and activists are doing their bit but our politicians and policy makers need to do their bit as that is what will eventually make a greater impact. We need to stop ravaging the Earth and wherever the earth is hurting give it time to heal.
We as children actually saw plants grow, but today the children learn things virtually. In this fast growing consumer Society, where we consume more and more, we need to think how our actions will impact our future generations. We have forgotten to share and care.
In fact there was a time in Poona when we had about 10 white hens in a pen in the garden. It was fun collecting warm eggs as soon as they were laid. One particular hen laid an egg with a twin yolk and I learnt to recognize the egg by looking at the shell. The hen poop was used as manure. It sure was a great learning experience. One summer Holidays we were handed a book on beekeeping and told to read it. Soon my father got a wooden box and a colony of bees. It was fascinating. I learnt how the honey collected in various months from November to April differed because of the different flowers it was collected from. We had to feed the bees in the summer months as we had extracted their food i.e. honey for our need. Living in Allahabad at the time, we shifted house from Ashok Nagar to Lohia Marg and when the bee houses were shifted they mounted guard at the entrance. It was fascinating to see the bees at the entrance in a matrix formation. Yes growing up we never celebrated Earth Day but were still more aware.
As my neighbor in Delhi commented ‘You know when the children were young I would carefully unwrap the gift to use the gift wrapping again, I was a miser but today I am in fashion as I recycle” Now that is a good thought to end on.