So, who is going green?

We live, we learn. Each day teaches us something new. Its like life is a gigantic jigsaw puzzle and each day that we live, we learn to fit one little piece in place.  We understand it all, one piece at a time.

 Of late, this little piece has fit into my puzzle. Irrespective of how many theories people propose about social  change, the one thing that is of real consequence, one that really matters, is intent – pure and simple. That is what is fundamental  to change. If you have the intent and your heart is in the right place, all other things follow.

It is with the right intent and a good heart that these young boys and girls are working at  a  project that yields results very slowly, but has benefits that are long term and impact large populations.  What do they do? They rescue trees. Ever  heard of something like that?  I hadn’t till I got to know of them.

While everyone is talking about the deteriorating  condition of the planet and painting a depressing and scary picture of the future for all,  these young people are actually out there doing something to  improve the situation. And they are doing it with very little money,  no corporate backing, no political support,  but a clear intent and a  strong will.

The mother found this group- they call themselves The Green Umbrella- quite by accident. She had been wanting to plant banyan trees for long time and her search ended with The Green Umbrella . The organisation’s  mandate is to rescue indigenous plants varieties  such as peepal and bargad or vat that expel large quantities of oxygen and support biodiversity offering food, shelter other creatures. They  identify  plants  that need rescuing, such as those that grow on roof tops of  dilapidated old buildings and neglected road corners , carefully extract them , re-pot them and tend to them till such time that an appropriate and permanent space can be found to plant them- not an easy time in a city like Mumbai! They also try to get hold of species that are fast becoming extinct and propagate them. Besides rescue operations, they  undertake horticulture and gardening assignments and procure for you rare species of medicinal and spiritual plants, if you promise to take good care of them.

The mother has brought home a rare type of banyan. Called the Krishne vat, the striking feature of this plant is that the edges of  its  leaves fold inward gently. Legend has it, that Lord Krishna  used to eat butter out of these leaves. The Green Umbrella found this rare plant at the Byculla Zoo and made 4 cuttings.  Unfortunately 3 didnt survive. The one that did, is being cared for by the mother now.

The Green Umbrella  operates in and around Mumbai.  Working on a  shoe-string  budget, and incurring most expense out of their pocket, this group of 6 youngsters hold jobs, but their heart really is in plant recuse and revival. A worthy cause to support, if you feel for  plants and worry about the fast pace at with which indigenous  species are disappearing.  If you want to know more about Green Umbrella’s  work or support the organisation in any way, you can write to Vikram Yende at I am sure any support extended will be greatly appreciated by the team.

The good stuff

For the fact that I was born in this city.

For the fact that I gained an education in this city.

For the fact that I found employment in this city.

For the fact that in my own way I love this city.

For the fact that I should make up for all the times I have cribbed about Delhi.

For all those facts and more, I will write a post on what I like about dear Dehali. I owe it to the city. And now when I get down to it, I realise I have enough to say to populate a 10 point list!

The greenery– Delhi is far greener than Bombay, let’s not even debate this. Tree lined roads, parks of all shapes and sizes, the ridge, schools with large playing fields, homes with a patch of green in the front and  may be if they are lucky a green backyard  too.  The greenery ensures Delhi can breathe  and makes it look oh so pretty. With the greenery come the flowers. Different flowers for different seasons.  Which brings us to the next point- the seasons.

The seasons– Summer. Monsoon. Autumn. Winter. Spring.  V/s Summer. Monsoon.

In terms of variety, Delhi leads the way.  And as most people would agree, variety=fun.  Different food, different clothes, different activities to suit the weather conditions makes for an interesting life. One in which managing your clothes (winter, summer, somewhere in-between) is a task by itself. :-p But still, its change, it’s good. As a side note, I must mention winter continues to be my least favourite season, but surprisingly I am warming to it. Very, very gradually.

The vegetables– They just taste better in Delhi. No real reason has been identified for this as yet. But they do. Take my word for it. May be its something to do with the fact that Bombay gets all vegetables all though the year so they taste, well, a little tasteless. Delhi still has some concept of seasonal vegetables, though I see that fast dying too.

The space– Delhi has it. Bombay doesn’t. There is nothing more to be said.

The history– Both cities have their own fascinating histories, but Delhi seems to have more structural reminders of its past. There is the Quatab Minar, Jantar Mantar, Red Fort, Humayun’s tomb, Safdarjung’s  tomb. And these are just the big and famous ones. Tucked away in the corners of the city are numerous small, sometimes nameless monuments that don’t even make it to the tourists’’ itinerary.  Ever visited Green Park or Haus Khas village? Or Mehrauli? You can’t miss the tombs, the ruins or the gumbaz that are dotted these areas.

The people– Friendly, happy, helpful. Sometimes a bit nosey. OK, mostly nosey. But essentially friendly and happy. People who are keen to exchange a few words, to invite you over for a cup of tea, to chit-chat about nothing in particular.  Not to say that people in Bombay aren’t friendly or happy. But they are far too busy, too caught up in the rush of everyday life to spare time to reach out to others. That, at least, has been my experience. I also feel Delhiites are far more helpful. They really do go the extra mile to help you out.

The pace– Much slower than Bombay, Delhi has time. Time to smell the flowers, to feel the cool October breeze, to talk to the neighbor, to relax, to think, to miss the first bus and take the second one. Bombay pulsates. Its energy is infectious, but it can (and does) get tired after a while. The way I see it, Bombay needs to slow down and Delhi needs to get moving!

The memories– Back in a city where over 20 years were spent, practically every road, every garden, every market brings back memories.  Yes, the city has changed beyond recognition, but amidst all the change, the memories persist.

The family– Lots of relatives. Lots of offers for free lunches. Lots of warmth and love.

The friends– Friends from school, college, the old neighbourhood. I have made some of my best friends here in Delhi. Ones that have stuck through the years. Ones I can call for anything, at any time, without a second thought. Living in the same city as them has been absolutely wonderful.

So thats what I love about Delhi. If you’ve lived in Delhi or have even passes it by, tell me what you like about it.