Balvihar April 2019
The spot where the cowsheds used to be buzzing with activity all day, now seemed completely different and quiet.There was a beautifully maintained garden where the kids and Bharathi could notice tiny brinjals, tomatoes, ladysfingers and chillies swaying in the breeze.
Karan Bhaiya’s passion in gardening had created something so magical.
She turned to her brother’s voice” So you are finally here Rani!!” That was how he called her – the youngest and most pampered child in the household and her five brothers.
When the grade 4 kids had to be taken on a 2 day trip, Bharathi who worked as a teacher in a private school in Pune city took the opportunity to take them to visit her village home. She knew the kids would love being there and they would be safe too.
The children went off with Karan Bhaiya to explore the village, the fields, the farmhouses and interacting with the locals.
As she stood under the shade of a tree and sipped some cool coconut water, Bharathi’s mind wandered to her younger days when the whole family would share the household chores and run off to the fields to help.
Throughout the day, she heard the excited chatter of kids. They had so much to share about all that they had seen.
The trees, the red soil, the nearby river, the rocks, everything fascinated them.
In the evening, they had a campfire where the kids divided themselves into five groups – the rocks, the trees, the water, the air, the plants. They had a debate about who was the most important.
Every group listed how useful they were in contributing to life on earth.
When all the groups belittled the group of rocks about not having much to do, Bharathi had to intervene. She pointed out to them how without rocks, it would be impossible to retain water in the soil which would other flow down the slopes and go waste. The rocks hold the roots of trees in place, and add strength to the soil around them.
The discussions continued the next morning when the group went for treks in the nearby hill, a treasure house of plants, animals, fresh air and clean water. The big river looked like it was frozen from the reflection of the sky.
There was no smooth tar road. It was just pebbles on a rugged uncleared path. The kids walked down the paths to experience how living with nature would really be like, something the city life would never show them.
They broke stones to discover crystals, learnt about composting and planted saplings around the village.
Karan Bhaiya explained to them how marvellous the gifts of the earth were – be it the most delicious and sweetest jackfruit or mango, bitter neem or bitter gourd, the sour-sweet tamarind, vegetables and fruits with different tastes but growing on one soil.
The two days just passed by in a jiffy and when it was time to go, the kids got goodie bags filled with lemons, fruits, a few boxes of mangoes, tamarind, turmeric, ginger and carrots and what not. They were feeling ecstatic. They appreciated everything they had seen.
They swarmed around Bharathi continuing their nonstop chatter about the awesome experiences they had in the previous two days, Karan Bhaiya was proud of his little sister who always did the right thing. She had rightfully kindled the love for nature in the young enthusiasts who would think and work for preserving the planet.
Bharathi had taken the right decision to make the connections at the right time – with Mother Earth and her people.