Description: This story talks about the sensitivity of generation next towards restoring lost glory of their native place, especially the ecology.
It was a fine morning when an old retired bank manager visited the village. It was his very first day in the village. The village was seen going through a really bad period. Unusually heavy rainfalls or prolonged droughts had become more common than usual. Along with being a bank manager, the old man was an environmental lover as well. He had only one dream in his life and that was to explore as many eco-friendly and green places as much he could and that village was perhaps his last stop.
The old man had heard a lot about the village from his late father. His father used to speak about the freshwater lakes, lots of strong trees, clean atmosphere, beautiful bushes, bunch of flowers and a place full of greenery but during his visit, the beauty of the village, as described by his father was missing. The lakes were fully polluted, lots of trees were smashed down by the engineers for their work, and also the air seemed to be polluted. The children were suffering from deadly diseases. In short, the village was suffering really badly.
During his first visit to the village, the old man met a person there in the middle of a street. He asked him about the situation of the place and what caused all of it but in return he was questioned back, “Are you a visitor?”
“No, not really. My late father wanted me to live here after my retirement, so I am here.” replied the old man.
“So, you are not a visitor, hmm.” said the person.
“Yes. So, tell me, what happened here?” asked the old man.
“Something bad, really bad. We have been experiencing a lot of unusual rainfall and heavy winds for about a couple of months now. These winds have done wrong to our crops, pockets and majorly to our way of living.” replied the person.
“Oh, that’s really very sad.” said the old man.
“Yes, it is. Could you please give me 100 bucks? I will give you back someday.” asked the person.
In reply, the old man asked “Okay, then, can I get a shelter in return from you?”
The person agreed “Hmmm, okay come along with me you can stay with me. Follow me.”
While following the villager to his house, the old man asked the villager tons of questions about the village. While listening to the villager, the old man realized that the village is very much different from the way his father had seen, a lot has changed in the village. People were giving away their lands for construction, their trees to the city businessmen. The things the villager told the old man were very shocking and he also said that the people living in the village are only good to the visitors, not to the people who are coming to live here for the rest of their lives. The old man realized that he was one of them and would get to experience a lot of things.
The old man was having a great time in the village enjoying the cool breeze at night but somewhere deep down in his heart, he was not happy regarding the current situation of the village. He saw that the people were cutting the trees in bulk, burning it and throwing away the remaining material. Burning wood to a high extent also resulted in pollution and throwing of waste wood in the lake added further to the damage of the environment.
The old man thought of an idea of making people aware about these activities. He wanted the villagers to plant more trees which would not only be good for the environment but also for their living. The villager was really impressed by the idea but the other villagers did not like it. In fact, when the old man advised the villagers not to consume so much wood every day, a villager shouted “Have you gone crazy? How can we prepare our food without burning the wood? This person is crazy.”
In order to execute his idea, the old man then thought of an alternative. As businessmen from the cities were coming to the village to cut trees and construct buildings by fooling the villagers, the old man decided to play with the minds of these villagers as well but for their benevolence. The old man told the villagers to write letters that they are losing trees and place them near the biggest tree in the village and assured them that if they do so, God will help them. The villagers agreed and waited for the miracle to happen.
The next day all the letters were missing from the place and instead everyone got some money from an unknown source. Actually, the old man had replaced the letters with the money as he had enough in his account to help the villagers.
Then he requested the villagers to come near that tree and said “These trees are the real Gods and this is why, you all should come together and plant more and more trees in the village. God is going to reward you one day for this act of yours.”
Very soon the old man became an idol for the villagers who started to follow him slowly. They started planting more trees in the village. In this way, the old man was able to restore the lost green cover of the village. He was hence able to pursue his love for saving the environment.
About the illustrator –
Aadhya Ganesh is a student that is passionate about taking action to protect the environment, using art and music as a medium to connect people to nature. She loves to play and teach piano and she aspires to become a veterinarian.