A (green) day to remember

A day to remember 

23rd Nov, 2014

By Sinthu

I come from a family of farmers. Throughout my school days, a vacation to me meant, going to my grandparents’ village and helping out in the farms and fields (which we really hated then coz all our friends were going to fancy places). When I completed my school and got a seat in college in Chennai, I was full of dreams about finally living in a city. On the day I landed in Chennai, almost 8 years back, the City welcomed me with the hot Sun and no shade to rest. And the four years that followed made me realize how great my grandma’s village was. Every night I spent in my hostel room sleepless because of sweat and every summer I spent in the premises with the Sun literally frying me, made me want to run away from the City. But the City wouldn’t let you go that easily. Now that I have almost become a Chennaite, I wanted to do something back to this place. And there was the accidental entry of ‘Ainthinai’ thro Back to Roots. Since then, Ainthinai has become a part of my life. 

I must say- the CTC green day on 23rd Nov, has set a new milestone in the volunteering history of CTC and Ainthinai.

The Vigor with which the day was planned and executed will forever stand as an example for the ‘never-say-die’ volunteering attitude that runs in the blood of every CTC volunteer. Each and every phase of the work was done with utmost care and dedication by each and every one involved.

The Vigor with which the day was planned and executed will forever stand as an example for the ‘never-say-die’ volunteering attitude that runs in the blood of every CTC volunteer. Each and every phase of the work was done with utmost care and dedication by each and every one involved.

‘Green Day by CTC’ was envisioned by Masu and the whole core team happily appreciated the idea. With Peter’s consent, the works started and it wasn’t an easy ride. From formulating the plan to getting permission, there were hurdles at each stage but the organizers stood by the cause and worked their way out of every difficulty. Ela and Krishna dint leave a stone unturned to finalize a location with the Forest department’s approval. Masu and Siva were frequenting the place to ensure that it had all reasons to conduct a plantation drive. 
While the location plans were still getting done and re-done, on the other side event date was fixed and invites were sent in all directions. Yazar did a great job designing the posters and they were a huge hit. With Peter sending inspiring invites carrying the cool posters, it was no wonder that the registrations were huge in numbers. A 200 +count for a tiring volunteering activity is a commendable achievement. Isn’t it? The word kept spreading and we kept getting support from many people. It will be a sin if I don’t mention the helping hand rendered by EFI (Environmentalist Foundation of India) and Arun by way of lending tools and also people.
Constant mail communications, extensive brainstorming and regular meetings among the organizers and volunteers helped to keep the intent of the mission intact. ‘Tools’ was a major issue but with the help of EFI, a kind hearted villager and many others, the ‘tools’ team managed to mobilize the needed equipment. The team comprising of Mani, Vinoth, Nambi and others did an amazing job in making it happen. They visited all corners of the city(from thiruvanmiyur to tambaram) and also out of the city (thiruporur) to gather tools for the huge crowd that was going to come.
Coming to the main task- A thousand saplings? That means digging 1000 pits?  Considering the amount of manpower that will have to be consumed to the job, the team went with the idea of renting a JCB to dig pits so that the work of the volunteers would be eased. Part of the team reached the venue by Saturday itself to prepare the place to witness the event. What they did there that one day had a huge impact on the way the event went the next day.

Even before the Sun came up on Sunday, the venue started getting flooded with the volunteers and there was energy echoing in all dimensions. To the surprise of the people who arrived in the morning, everything needed to start off was kept absolutely ready. Pits dug, Zones divided, Teams allotted for zones and all necessary resources neatly arranged. All that the volunteers had to do was, shout out their team name, collect the tools and saplings and walk with their team leads to their respective zones. People who know the planting process very well were made team leads and it was an absolute delight to work with them. They demonstrated each and every process and made us enjoy what we were doing. By around 9.30 almost 75 % of the work was done. And then was breakfast!! The team had made sure that the volunteers got the best available food there. It was unlimited Pongal with rationed vadas to all J Breakfast brought in much more energy and people bounced back to work eagerly. All thro the time, People from the Forest dept were present in the location, guiding us in the process. And the MLA of Walajabad solicited the occasion by visiting and planting a sapling.

It was a surprise that people dint get tired at any point of the Planting- Manuring- Closing- Mulching- Watering cycle. It was team work everywhere. Laughter and all the posing to the cameras made the lake a happening place. There came a time when all dug pits were filled up with saplings and new pits had to be dug. JCB was called for. And there arose frenzy. It was JCB vs Volunteers for some time when the pits were closed by planting saplings faster than the JCB dug them. And here I should mention abt this one man. He was digging pits when our van reached the venue, he was digging when we were having breakfast, he was digging alongside the JCB and he was still on the field when we all started back. Dear Peter, You mail signature says- Life starts at the end of your comfort zone. But I have a serious question- Where the hell does your comfort zone end?

Photography team was at its best on that day. When there are 150 + models posing for you in a vast field, wont that be joyful for a photographer? And for us volunteers, when there are around 10 photographers moving around us and clicking all our actions, what other motivation do we need?

Wrapping up with a quick briefing, the event came to a closure. No… it just dint end there. After sending off the volunteers, few souls did stay back to ensure that the remaining work was completed, garbage collected, tools returned and the place left neat.

Anyone who participated in the event day, am sure would have left the place with a huge satisfied heart. And yeah! It was just a good bye till we meet again for the maintenance activities. The team is very sure that it is not gonna let the effort of 200 + volunteers go in vain. There will be regular follow ups to ensure that the saplings retain their life and grow to nurture the earth.

There were so many dedicated volunteers who were on their heels all the time. Am not naming any coz leaving a name would be a mistake I make.

There are so many things I can keep highlighting abt the event

·         The selection of saplings was so thoughtfully done to match the soil type

·         Concern of the locals was addressed by planting revenue yielding teak saplings

·         Engaging the locals was taken care of

·         With such a huge population working, the amount of garbage generated was almost nil.

·         Ultimately it was team work at its utmost form !!

I as an individual feel very proud to have participated in the event and I hope everyone else who participated also does!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five × three =