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The truth about setbacks

So you had a setback? Congratulations. I am not crazy, I really mean it. Though they tend to have depressing effects, setbacks are a necess...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Course of Nature

“Change is the course of Nature;
  This does not infer upon humans,
  The right to force
  The change upon nature.”

What are you supposed to feel when you have a rendezvous with nature after almost twelve years of separation from it?  I don’t know what people feel in such a situation but I felt bereft. Maybe I am not so good with long distance relationships but something had definitely changed. The first thing I had to consider was ‘have I changed? Have I grown so accustomed to concrete and technology that I can no longer relate to the greens and wild?’ But I knew the answer to this one. No, no one can change enough not to fall in love with the swaying leaves, dancing butterflies, the glorious sunshine but something was definitely different.

Then it must be the other side. The nature had undeniably changed but the surprising part was the magnitude of the change. And the funnier part was(or would be if I wasn’t so upset) that it had impressed everybody by this show of dignity. But of course, I who had been intimate with nature all my childhood wouldn’t be fooled that easily. I don’t blame others for nature was truly glorious there, all trees grouped into sorts, butterflies flitting around and the newly tamed nature gave its best wild appearance. It seemed surreal but not as much as the past when nature was truly wild and showed its true self. The whole thing must seem confusing so I ought to give you a little idea of the true nature of nature as I had known.

The Glimpses of the Past
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light.- William Wordsworth

The nature of my childhood lived on the fringes of respectability, it was wild and untamed. The trees grew everywhere, there was no order whatsoever and indeed who would dare order nature? It was its own master. There was no grouping among the plants, all sorts intermingled with each other and we-the children loved almost all impartially, maybe we did differentiate like we did like trees like mango and guava better because they were easier to climb. No one would try climbing a palm tree, at least we didn’t! And the hot favourite was the pandanus tree (kewra ) with flowers and fragrance, obviously amounted to the best. The place was full of butterflies, dragonflies and moths. Just so that you don’t get any ideas I have to mention there were no poisonous snakes and if there were any non-poisonous then they must be rare too. 

I have to mention that I did not live in a far-off village somewhere but on the outskirts of Mumbai. Most of this place was wild and right next to the forest department area. This place was not just a luxury to be marvelled upon but a necessity in a tropical country like India to maintain balance of nature. Besides we were not cast off, all the basic necessities and luxuries for better living were at a moments distance plus having wilds nearby was an added advantage. Can you believe we even had a small hill nearby; it was such fun climbing the hill and pretending to be king of the nonexistent castle. The place was a regular haunt of all children after school and in the vacation; it was full of colours, music, laughter and fragrance.

As children we thought the place eternal, the trees might change, flowers might be different but they would there forever. We would grow, may lose touch but there will someone else. This is the way things work, don’t they? That was the happiest phase of my life when I didn’t know the meaning of boredom. This is what I owe to nature and this was the nature I had known indefinite expanse and lord of the surroundings –my own real fairy tale.

The Present Scenario  

The truth about forever is that it does not exist nor does now the fairy tale of my childhood. This is what I learnt in my nature trail and I was stunned. The truth is I had heard about the changes but like always we hear a lot of things without actually imbibing anything. But when I saw the nature I realised how suddenly I came to be living in the city rather than its outskirts. All these years I was so busy enjoying the delights of the city and with education, career, and a lot of things I had nearly forgotten my affair with nature. Now my city is all concrete with greens at some far-off intervals as a reminder or maybe to show we still leave in this world. There are huge towers everywhere and trees somewhere so as to show they do exist.

Now I realised that our wilds were an orphan, they were not owned by the forest department and as such could be claimed by anyone. The orphan was duly adopted and the nature now presents in civilised form fit for being inhabited by the civilized animals- human. The wild element was ruthlessly annihilated and the nature now was entitled for a job. It now served its duty perfectly by presenting itself to a nature trail where everybody could learn about nature and it even earned a salary plus some reputation.

The trees are well grouped, everything arranged in an orderly manner to give a wild and disorderly appearance. I really don’t understand why couldn’t people study nature in its true form earlier, was it really so substandard? How does our quality of life and living improve by breathing in polluted air instead of clean air or by sights of concrete or plasma/led screens instead of pleasing greenery? Is our music really better than singing of birds and laughter? Why do most people require stimulants for living if success provides happiness better than nature?
In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. - Charles A. Lindbergh

If we had Truly Loved

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
~Gerard Hopkins

Shouldn’t I be happy that the nature I loved and still love is starting to gain respect but I still can’t get over the fact that the ‘Lord of the surroundings’ is been treated like a ‘dignified visitor’. I have no complaints about the people who trying to preserve the nature at least they are trying to do something in which we failed. How can 1-2 acres of land be the same as thousands of acres of lost nature? 

I answered my earlier question with confidence that I haven’t changed; my love is still the same but on retrospect I have to recheck the depth of my love. Had I truly loved, I wouldn’t have been too busy to intervene when nature was stripped off its dignity. I didn’t care enough, I was too selfish to look beyond my life, my wants that I didn’t even notice losing something I already had.

Now the only music is supplied by technical gadgets, no more singing of birds. No, the birds weren’t killed; the humans are not that cruel. The birds and insects became homeless and if they die wandering   nobody could blame it on humans. How long were these creatures planning to depend on the nature? What about self-dependence? My only hope is that they find a home somewhere on this planet in their own right but not in cages/zoos (not again to give humans the upper hand and show fake kindness)

The only one wish of any parent is to give their children more than what they themselves had in their childhood. I don’t know how we are going to manage our bargain when we have already lost what we had, we can’t promise them anything more when we are not even sure if we can give them the same amount. We still need to wake up to preserve the remaining part. We need to routinely remind ourselves of the saying, ‘the earth is not inherited from our ancestors but borrowed from our grandchildren’.

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.  This is not done by jostling in the street.  ~William Blake

Strive for a green earth
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  1. this is nicely written. agree with your ending message.

  2. Development at what cost? Even today when we go to small towns/villages we experience the real nature, but not in town.

    1. It is really sad that development is at the expense of nature. Conservation has become the need of the day.


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