Whose World Is It?
Sitting on a bench of the park was a frail, old lady. Slightly sagging skin, some wrinkles, some grey hair and a thin frame were the only indications of her age. Otherwise her spirits and hopes are still younger than those of the young boys and girls seen around in the park.
She was sitting in a park of one of the private colonies in Chandigarh city, India. Usual morning joggers and people who came for a daily walk had curious glances in their eyes, whenever they crossed her. She could not only see it on their faces, but also read their minds. But this lady, in a green saree laughed it off quietly. “Poor children, not their fault. It is not everyday one sees a strange, old lady in his neighbourhood park” she thought. It was not a new thing for her. She came across similar experiences in one or other visit of hers, every month.
Visits like these were a monthly ritual for her. Every month she came out in her human form, to watch over her children like other mothers on her land, to caress the weak and needy ones, who really could do with some divine, motherly support. After every such visit, she contemplated if humans really do need her love and support, or more appropriately, deserve her love. But then, she was a mother; a mother above all. She was “Mother Earth”.
“Please give me something to eat, I have not eaten anything since yesterday”, came feeble voice just then, breaking her thought process. A little, nine years old boy was standing infront of her; he was almost in rags. Children like him really need my love she thought. Digging into her bag, she took out something. It was a lunchbox and made the boy sit lovingly next to her. The boy was visibly confused and scared. But to his surprise instead of handing over the lunch to him, this gentle, old lady started feeding him herself, by her own hands. All the time one of her hands, caressing his head, soothingly. Suddenly the boy was all smiles. His worries, anxieties and pains suddenly ceased to exist in his mind. It was a wonderful feeling, he had never felt this way before. His own mother had died a long ago, and his father was a poor labourer. The boy had learned to live the life hard way. But this pleasant, refreshing feeling was so different and indeed a nice change, he thought. It was reinvigorating him to live life his own, and that too happily.
Mother smiled with satisfaction. It is not everyday that she gets the pleasure of feeding one of her children, with her own hands. It was not that she does not feed billions of her children on her lands on other days. She did it but was in other ways. She had left her fertile lands at the disposal of her children. It was up to them to use the resources given by her sustainably and intelligently. It was up to them, to not just think about themselves, but also about their brethren. But sadly, men and women of human kind were mostly selfish. It was the power of the might out there in the cities even. Sometimes she thought forests are not extinguishing, they have only changed form. Wild forests are giving way to the other kind of forests: “the urban jungle/forests”. In both worlds, it is the mighty and powerful who reign; who set out written and unwritten rules; or if not that, who are able to lead a happier or less worrisome life in comparison to the weaker section of the society. The only difference is in urban forests, one has no choice but to appear and roam around in a sobered down avatar, and follow certain mannerisms. Whatever the case maybe for her even those animals were her children, from fearsome, big, wild cat to a tiny ant. Recently, she remained more worried for these meek children of hers. In early days, man feared these animals and insects, but now, it is the other way round. Some of the more selfish lot of men, were either snatching away the natural habitats of these animals, or taking away their lives directly and indirectly. Change or depletion of natural habitats meant some of the weaker species were bound to go on the way of extinction one day or other.
Human tempered with natural sources and resources, tempered with the natural balance between natural habitats and urban habitats. This imbalance, more often than not, proved devastating for man; bringing the fury of floods, droughts, climate change and what not. Then the man blamed nature. Ya right, if only nature could do anything by itself!
It was not that all the men are selfish. In fact, many people of human race, did love and understood the contribution of nature in their own lives. Some of these are even involved actively in saving whatever they can. But if not small, the numbers of such humans are still not enough. But like, such children of hers, she too will not lose her hopes she thought.
“Thank you Ma ji” (a word for mother in Hindi), said the delighted little boy suddenly with a smile on his face. He is going to remember this day and the lady always, he thought. She saw that the lunchbox was empty, she hadn’t noticed it amid her thoughts of her other children and love for this boy. “Ok child, please take care of yourself”, said she. “Yes Ma ji, I will”, and the boy hugged her lovingly and ran away to his own destination. He was gone in seconds. So she was back to observing other people and her own thoughts.
Not only this, it saddened her that the children for whom she does so much, without uttering a word, hurt her unknowingly. Her land has been divided into nations, nations into states, states into districts, and so on, of course for proper governance purposes. People of every such nation, state, district, city took that part of the world as their own. Mightiest of them thought they had the powers and rights to govern, change or rule their own world, be it a home, an office, or a place/subject of more importance. They could or attempt to be their own kings n queens. She did not mind, after all, first a person, a citizen, and a nation must be aware and proud of his/her own individuality, positives and accept negatives; only then he can fulfill needs of others. Had this been the case, she would have been proud of her children. These very own qualities had taken a negative or selfish turn in humans now. She could do nothing about it, she wanted each one of her children to understand their own duties, goals and impact of individual contribution on these lands. Though, they did remember their respective rights mostly, very few of them remember and follow the path of their duties. Human forgets, that it is not his or her world, it is their world, together. Most importantly, it is her world, their mother, who nurtures and cares for them.
But she won’t interfere in their learning process. Sometimes she did feel the anger in her. At such times, one or other part of her land witnessed an earthquake. But the devastation it brings, also makes her cry thereafter. So, she tries to be calmful, cool and patient mostly. One day she knows, man will learn from experience.
One day, humans will value their relation with each other, with this land and its other living creatures. She intends to wait for that day. She will allow men to tread on their journey to the discovery of this question: “Whose world is it?” and also to find the answer to it.
Till then, she will keep visiting her children. She was already planning which city or forest to visit next month. Maybe some other part ofIndia,Canada, US,UK, SriLanka, or evenIceland, in some other attire or getup. “Come to think of that, how it would be to visit some of the children of my animal kingdom next time, in some forest!” thinking so, she smiled again and prepared herself, to get back to her original form.
Whose World Is It? by Charu Bhatnagar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
© 2012 Charu Bhatnagar
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