‘Going green’, not with envy, but contributing to a healthier environment, ‘organic food’ gaining prominence to such an extent that one wonders if babies yet to be born to constitute generation next would be organic too! Vegetables produced in abundance in one’s backyard and terraces have become the in-thing these days. ‘World environment day’ is celebrated with gusto and great enthusiasm every year on June 5th. When the world around me gets greener by the day, this incident comes to mind. A four- meter wide kutcha road gives access to my house and two other houses behind mine to the main road. The sale document of the three plots categorically states that residents of the three houses shall have equal rights to the road with none obstructing free movement of the other. My wife, a diehard believer in the concept of ‘Green Earth’ firmly believes that every blade of grass contributes to the health of the ozone layer, and that it was her responsibility to nurture many such blades, and thus contribute to the health of planet Earth and the environment. Man’s mindless destruction of the greenery blowing many a hole in the Ozone layer, glaciers melting at the poles leading to flooding and deluge worldwide not only pained her, but prompted her to act against the destruction through her little ways. She ensured she had an elaborate garden before our house as space allowed inside a typically cramped residential plot in Kochi. Apart from the garden, she decided to plant some saplings beside the four meter wide road. Her intention was never to encroach into the four meter road which rightly belonged to our neighbors too, but to add to the health of the environment, and also to the beauty of the untarred, slushy road. But one of our neighbors did not buy that theory. He considered my wife’s love for the green as breach of his rights to the road in its entirety. He religiously uprooted every little sapling she planted the very next morning angrily at her intrusive ways, quite belligerently and sometimes violently too, like a man possessed. Leaves on the tree standing at the corner of her garden were accused of leaving scratches on his car as it passed beneath the tree. Conceding to his demands, we had many a bough of the tree overhanging the road cut many times. But the tree grew back with vengeance, and renewed vigor. My neighbor decided ‘enough is enough’, and vociferously expressed his demand to have the tree felled. Much to my wife’s disappointment, mother Earth lost yet another tree, adding to the indisposition of the ozone layer. Our eyes were robbed of the pleasant sight of the tree’s seasonal flowering, and many a bird of its accustomed spot to chirp on. But nature’s loss added to the health of good neighborliness! My wife’s further attempts to plant flowering saplings by the side of the contentious road on the sly were stalled by the rest of the family. My neighbor passed away one evening, succumbing to a heart attack, shocking the neighborhood. It has been many months since his passing away. But My wife has not attempted to plant another sapling beside the road ever since. My wife, probably faced with a dilemma between good neighborliness and a robust environment must have decided to let the former win over the latter, should the bereaved family decide to inherit its late head’s strange allergy for things green!
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