Monday, May 20, 2013

Tonight, it's raining

The thunderstorm wakes you up from your sick bed. It's raining! You quickly get up, roll up your trouser legs and set out into the rain-drenched darkness, your blue umbrella letting in the lightning, your fatigue left behind with the blanket. Every clean puddle is yours to splash through. The froglings jump across to the safety of the garden plants. You evade the snails, you don't want to hear that crunchy sound. You walk into the street lined by cows standing still in the rain, letting the terrible summer wash away from them. The cows who never go home, who wait all day at the bus stop, for their bus that never comes! :)

You pat one of them in your path. (Lately you have taken to patting cows on your walks. Calming cow-therapy. This must be another step in your downward slide.) You watch the few people, who like you, are not chicken, and don't let a little water stop their routine. The bikes parked on the sides are gleaming in the sodium-vapour lamp-light, their owners sheltering in shop-fronts. The street dogs have all curled up far up on shop verandahs, fast asleep, they are not losing their dirt to any water.

You find your way through traffic jams at the junction, you manage to cross the road, you walk along narrow strips of available footpath, you jump across stones to evade flooded roads. And then into the beautiful tree-lined roads of your morning walk, now plunged in darkness, the occasional car-lights lighting up the red gulmohar petals flattened on the black tar. You walk in joy. You sing. You stop at the park gates, now locked, and look into the temple of dark brooding trees, the sound of the rain different here, falling through thick dense foliage. The God is in there, the sanctum sanctorum, you can feel it, you worshipper of trees. You continue, after a moment's obeisance.

On the way back you see people walking home in the rain, the ones whom the storm surprised on a summer day. You want to offer to walk them home under your big blue umbrella, and return to take more of them home, smiling, welcoming, sharing the warmth you can barely contain. You want to live in a small place where you can do such things, be the umbrella-carrier who takes people back home on unexpected stormy nights, and only asks of them the story of their day in return. Shelter for a Story. You cannot think of a better bargain. You want to be that jobless, and that useful.

At the corner shrine where the small stone Ganesha resides, the peepul tree's leaves shining golden in the lamp-light. Pure gold, from which the drop-lets fall. Such richness, so casually left at the roadside for you to find.

When you get back home, you remember that you have been ill and depressed for days, you are probably dying of undiagnosed things that are waiting to strike you down, who knows.

Well, you’ll die another day. Tonight, it’s raining. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kuldeep Dantewadia

On a rainy morning in Lal Bagh Botanical gardens, a small group of us sat around in a verandah, listening to this young man speak about his passion. Soon, there is a group of strangers gathered around us, listening to him spell-bound. Meet Kuldeep Dantewadia, the youngest entrepreneur I have personally met, thanks to the Rang De Meet the Changemaker walks. Today is his birthday, he is all of 25 today :)

At 22, Kuldeep started, after having worked for 6 months with a group of friends, to find the best ways of waste management. He teaches young kids in schools how to preserve water and electricity - who in turn go back home and teach their parents. He tells them to empty their water bottles into a barrel at the end of the day - water which is then used to wash the school bus. Things as simple as that. Now they have grown into a consultancy that offers eco-solutions to schools and companies, for energy-optimisation and greening campuses.

A few good souls hold up the world. Those of us who do volunteer work get to meet some of them. On a really bad day, when the world around is sinking into deep negativity and hopelessness, I remember these people.

Reap Benefit
Low cost eco-solutions with tangible results
Waste. Water. Energy. Biodiversity.