Jonaki thus concluded her thirty minutes presentation by saying,
“Hence friends, instead of only worrying and preaching on the need to save our planet, The Good Earth; simply loving it would do wonders. We must love our Planet, Earth and should care for it to really save it.Thank you.”
There was a momentary silence and then the huge auditorium broke into a thunderous applause. The applause continued for quite some time and the petite Jonaki with folded hands, stood there beaming on the stage. It was the National Conference of the environmentalists on the World Environment Day. It was being held at Chicago and Environmentalists had come to attend from all parts of the world. Jonaki along with a few others too had come to participate from India.
A press conference soon followed the speeches. There was a strong media coverage and the journalists were bombarding the speakers with all sorts of questions that were answered well. Suddenly a journalist directed a question towards Jonaki.
“Miss Jonaki, when the whole world is trying desperately to save our planet Earth, how can you give a statement that we need not worry about that?”
There was a tinge of sarcasm in that question that could not be missed by any one. Jonaki though, replied very calmly,
“We humans, who are responsible for the pathetic state of our environment today and are clueless as to how to save ourselves, look foolish when we talk of saving our planet. We humans are born out of this planet, our Earth. We are made of it’s elements. We are the Earth, aren’t we? We just forgot this simple fact, our origin and started alienating ourselves from it that has led us to this chaos. Now we just need to understand our origin and love it. Hence I say, we need to love our Good Earth. Any measures that we take to save our planet, without love, will all be short lived. Only if we love our planet, will we care for it and then probably, with corrective measures, we will really be able to save it.”
Another applause broke through and silenced the journalist very effectively. Sarah was sitting on the front row of the audience and her whole being was filled with joy. She could never forget the day that had transformed both her’s and her friend, Jonaki’s lives for ever. Some five years back, both the friends had gone to visit The Valley Of Flowers in Uttarakhand. It was a two week trip and both of them were loving every bit of it. The gigantic Himalayas all around dwarfed the humans. The flowing river, Mandakini looked so majestic and powerful. Both the friends were soaking in all the heavenly beauty around and felt in a different world altogether. It had been raining since the previous night and everyone was hoping that it would stop soon. But the incessant rains kept increasing and soon they became torrential. The trees all around on the mountains swayed with mighty force and suddenly the bus screeched and stopped. There was a land slide and the road was blocked. There was no way that the bus could go further. For the fear of landslide on the bus, they could not stay in the bus either. Everybody stepped out in that heavy rain. Visibility was very poor and everyone had to walk carefully through the flowing muddy water washing down the mountains. Fortunately there was a government school just round the corner and drenched to the core, everybody reached there. Everything was dark; there was no electricity. Everyone trooped inside the classrooms. Fear was writ large on most of the faces. The heavens seemed to be falling down. The roar of the river was too scary. Every one was shivering in that rain and wind. The howling wind sounded very eerie. Then the hell broke loose.
There was a deafening sound all around and nobody could make out what exactly was happening. The winds, with their force, seemed to be trying to break through the mountains and the rains seemed to be trying to wash them away. There was a massive flooding. Everyone sat their with ashen faces holding each other’s hands. Some were calling out to their Gods, praying, chanting and even crying. Some were just sitting like stones hoping to let this pass. Never did a night seem so long. Dawn broke and it brought shock, to say the least, for everyone. The school was at the bank of Mandakini river. They looked around and saw half the building from the periphery, not there any more. There was unbelievable destruction all around . Huge damage to property along both the sides of the bank, were seen. It looked as if they were sitting at the centre of some catastrophe. The river in all it’s fury had washed away big chunks of land with property, people and cattle. Half houses, hanging at various angles, from the edges looked made of cardboard. Nobody had ever been a witness before to such a calamity.Suddenly a big portion of the room where many of them were sitting, just fell off. A newly wedded couple and a family of parents, grandparents and two kids were sitting there. They were no more seen. They were gulped down by the furious river. No one could move. Suddenly a man let out a scream and fell howling on the floor. Then started wails, sobs and fits. He was the grandfather in that family, who was sitting with his two year old grandson, on the other side of the class room.
Jonaki and Sarah were dumbstruck. The devastation of life and property had left them numb. They just sat there and kept gazing all around. Broken stairs of a house, a hanging ceiling fan from a broken house, gushing water flowing into a house, people sitting on tree tops with their children, dead bodies of people and cattle flowing on the river, were sights that they had never even dreamt of. They did not even realize the unrestricted tears streaming down their eyes. In some time the rescue team arrived. They helped them all to safer places from where they dispersed at their convenience. Jonaki and Sarah could not leave. They offered to volunteer and they stayed back for a week, helping people in any way they could.
During that week, both the girls got to hear from many locals that how in the name of progress, Mother Nature was trampled with. Mountains were blindly blasted to make way for people to reach the unreachable, to cater to their quest. No one ever considered the consequences of the soil erosion, felling of trees to promote mindless construction all over. Now Jonaki and Sarah saw clearly the disastrous effects of human intervention in Nature’s field. They would work the whole day and in the evenings, they would sit and talk about the stark reality that had been revealed to them. Man, in their arrogance, throwing all caution to the winds, had disconnected himself from their own origin, Earth. That was when they realised that man needed to understand that they should love Mother Earth for they themselves were made of it’s very elements. There needed to be a complete mind shift and the thought that they would do their bit in bringing that about, started taking shape.
The last five years had been extremely purposeful and productive for these two friends. They had dedicated all their time, post work, in spreading the awareness of loving our planet Earth. They believed that loving always meant caring and so if one loves Earth, he/she will take utmost care in not bringing any harm to it. Every week end they would go visit residential schools and talk to the students about this. They would conduct workshops to just show them the connect and origin of humans and Earth and the rest would become so simple and logical to understand. They would take the children to Nature camps, to bring them closer to nature. They would conduct clean up drives with children cleaning the surroundings, show them the ways to do segregation of waste, the dangerous effects of using plastic. It was real fun for all of them involved because the more they got to know about their planet, the more curious they would become. Those students had become torch bearers of this awareness too and this concept and practice was spreading fast. They now understood the real meaning of the 3 R’s; reduce, reuse and recycle. Afforestation was catching pace and people were fighting for the parks and fields around.
The students had learnt to be mindful of their actions and that blind progress can never be desirable in the long run. Jonaki and Sarah were invited by schools all over the country to speak about their idea and it was extremely heartening for them to see their concept being practised so widely. Their dream of a revolution regarding the planet Earth was steadily, being fulfilled.
Nothing would make the two friends happier than being called the daughters of the planet. It was indeed amazing to see how a thought could be transformed into a revolution, thought Sarah, as she went to hug Jonaki who was walking down towards her.
“Love your planet; Save your planet” flashed on the screen behind them.