That was a bright Sunday morning when I was standing on the terrace leisurely watching at a pair of house sparrows doing merry go round in the hanging bunch of bananas, that are to be relished sooner, from our much pampered home – garden. My thoughts got fixed with the pleasing sparrows lingering on. Nowadays catching sight of birds and butterflies dancing around lush green trees has become possible only in a holiday package where people get to see dribs of colossal nature behind bars in zoos and parks. Meanwhile, the broiling sun overhead thawed my underweight brain, melted my enlightened thoughts and finally pushed me indoors. Wish some programmer develops an add – on for the hefty sun such that, I can long press and slide down its brightness to a little above zero percent. Sitting indoors I suddenly fell over the floor, jerked by the most thunderous thunder I had ever heard in my life! Wondering at the abrupt change in weather, the previously thawed underweight brain of mine, cooled well enough and booted up, again minting enlightened thoughts.
😆 Meanwhile, the broiling sun overhead thawed my underweight brain, melted my enlightened thoughts and finally pushed me indoors. Wish some programmer develops an add – on for the hefty sun such that, I can long press and slide down its brightness to a little above zero percent. 🙄
This time my enlightenment became transnational. It crossed international borders and lastly landed at the Capitol Hill. I needfully felt tempted to tweet Mr Donald John Trump that I can prove all of his 115 tweets quoting “climate change – a hoax”, an utter wrong. Had he been born in our place, he would have been far more rational to believe in the phenomenon. Pitying the POTUS, I moved out planning to make a loud laugh at the grumpy Sun while enjoying the rain. When I smilingly looked at the sky, there came a bolt from the blue! The skies were as clear as the untouched pages of my one – year – old aptitude notebook. Not even a patch of dark cloud. At one corner stood the Mr Sun or Ms Sun (am not gender – biased and here Mr is before Ms only because I was taught p, q, r and then s), sarcastically laughing at me with the hundred percent brightness. Finally I felt hoaxed. Again I heard the thunders, even under the sun. No, I wasn’t hallucinating! I heard more and more, but, of late, thunders were heightened with roars. I peeped out of the compound acting positively sonotrophic.
The scene that emerged there was astonishing. The tri – junction of the street was entirely festive and the thunder was the effect of the deafening crackers. As the fireworks seceded, floral showers dominated the scene. I guessed it as a marriage procession, but, as usual I was wrong! When all of the burst crackers and flower petals settled down hiding the road, a huge outsized banner at the backdrop, with a small dais, a standing mike and four chairs made the picture. The banner called the day’s event a “Green Drive”. I know it well, the crackers are anti – green. No, am not an anti – national. Believe me, I can understand it still well. The crackers were burst to cleanse the environment from Aedes mosquitoes, so they are “functionally green”.
The banner had many noteworthy details – the name of the party along the top edge, the name of its leader in the middle covering one quarter of the whole banner and his life – size photo extending from the right side edge to the centre of the banner. Towards the left was the most eccentric image, only one fourth the size of the party leader’s photo, in an enormously political poster. It was a calm photograph of the most common adoration of the nation – Dr Kalam. The party was there, not to party, but to commemorate the birthday of the “Missile Man”! Little did I know that politicians initiate green drives and all! After all acts of wavering and showering the politicians settled on the preset dais. One after the other all four of them baffled over the mike. If I had to say it all, that would never end like Draupati’s saree. The bottom line was that “Every single good thing that happened on the planet since its existence, was due to the efforts of their party and its leaders”. Did you know who discovered the electricity? It was by their overseas party functionary, Mr Benjamin Franklin, who worked as the National Secretary of their party branch in the US. Such revolutionists were here to create forests in the locality, celebrating Dr APJAK’s birthday.
Among all the four, there was one, who was superfluously talented. I bet you, had he been India’s PM for atleast a week’s time, he would have secured a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, at ease. Had he been the first PM, he would have made the UN shift its headquarters to Chennai! Believe me, his words were truly captivating. For years I have been hearing that, Dr Kalam studied under the streetlight during his schooling when he dint have access to electricity. But this man presented a different theory. “As there was no electricity in his village, when the sun went down making the dark hours, Abdul Kalam sir did his homework under a tree near his house” and that’s why their party has planned planting saplings, in remembrance of history. May be, I had previously heard the tampered version of the rival party! After the long sermons all four of them got off the stage, again amidst roars. They were all set to plant saplings.
With a ton of sanctity, they stood ready in front of the dug up pits posturing themselves for the next day’s photo – news stories. Each of the four had a different sapling contained in a similar specially designed sapling bag bearing the party symbol and its leader’s charismatic face. Amidst even louder roars this time, they planted the saplings in those pits. Haah! My enlightened mind again sprung up thinking, when political parties act like NGOs, sure, the country’s development will escalate a hundred and sixty hundred times more than the mushrooming rate of engineering colleges, in no time! That was the moment when I held pride like a Bharat Ratna nominee. The four gentlemen, sorry, The Four Gentlemen, carefully restocked the pits and that one Mr PM – befitting, actively made circular basins around each of the planted saplings. After watering the plants plentifully, The Four Gentlemen made turmeric blotches over the plants and also smeared over the four “planted by” boards made in steel bearing their noble names, giving a divine Indian touch.
Later they announced that cost – free saplings are to be distributed to the residents. All the people lined up enthusiastically and it reminded me of myself that I was standing first from last in the street length queue outside the ATM, last November. Now my enlightened thoughts made me remember my friend too! One of my friend, around the same time last year, parked his bike in front of the ATM planning that he might join the queue in 5 minutes, get the money in an hour and fly in his bike outside the ATM door. When he parked the bike and walked past the queue to join the last one, he landed himself 3 feet away from the main branch of the bank! His bike was One point Five kilometres away from him! But in the green drive, the four gentlemen made four queues and made it a swift process. My garden – addict dad brought home happily a mango sapling and planted it in the evening.
Since the day he had added one more particular in his assets. Every morning when my father waters the growing plant I would always look at the Four – Gentlemen – planted – Saplings (take it as a noun) on the roadside, always unbothered. My father and his jogging friend would carry buckets every morning to water the saplings after having their tea. My father eagerly anticipated to see the birth of a new shoot in the sapling. In a week’s time there was a sprout, not in our home garden – confined plant, but in one of those four roadside plants. That made his day. Mine too. The next morning even before my father reached the roadside for planting there was a cow grazing over the just born plants. By the time these waterers could reach there, the to – be – aadhaar – protected species (again a noun) moved away finishing – off the fragile beings.
Being grief – stricken, dad and I crafted four bamboo guards and installed homes for the suffering plants. He was worried much and spent extra time over the roadside ones and shunned his gaiety even when the mango sapling in our home garden showed up three sprouts. It has been four weeks since the green drive but there is not even a single bud in all of the four plants. Last night, we planned of manuring the plants today with our home – made vermicompost. When I woke up this morning to get along with my dad for watering, he was nowhere to be found neither in the house nor in the home garden. I guessed he would be at the roadside and went out. It was such a Little boy and Fat man jointly falling in my head moment! The roadside plants, the bamboo homes, my father’s fondness everything became matters of excavation.
A number of cement bags for the on – going construction in a nearby site on the roadside, has been unloaded and piled up over the unvoiced plants making those pits dug a month ago, their graveyard. Except for the “planted by” (my usually – enlightened – but – now – frustrated – mind reads it as, “buried by”) boards bearing the names of precisely – aadhaar – protected species, nothing remains there now.
Standing under the Sun, my enlightened mind reaches out to request the four gentlemen, “Dear Gentlemen, if survival of the homeless is synonymous only with Aadhaar, then please make these dispossessed trees as well, aadhaar protected.”
Picture and Cartoon credits : S. Muthumani