While most people’s eyes light up on hearing the word ‘free,’ this week, the city dazzled at the mention of tree. We all witnessed a new‚ tree-dimensional’ Hyderabad this week, with everyone on a planting frenzy. Green was the colour of the week and everyone was part of the government’s ambitious project ‘Haritha Haram’. It is no mean feat to plant 25 lakh saplings on a single day. Colonies, campuses, offices, the tinsel town, TV channels – everyone responded with tremendous responsibility. I saw cute teenagers holding up placards saying ‘Free Plants. Please Take’.
The festive look on Monday made us feel it was an extended weekend which started on Thursday for Ramzan. Come to think of it, it was a smart move to do it on a Monday. Just imagine if they had done it towards or on the weekend? I wonder if people would want to get out and plant trees early in the morning. But then,when we can wake up on a Sunday morning and run around the city or dance away to Bollywood tunes on vehicle-free patches, then this too holds promise.
I would like to believe, and perhaps convince you too, that we are an evolved city with a decent sense of community awareness. Added to this stars and celebrities lead such initiatives with great dedication. From Lakshmi Manchu to Regina and Samantha who are usually the front-runners of positive change, we occasionally have our male stars coming out too.
My instinct tells me that we will soon find ourselves in Guinness records for maximum number of city initiatives. Car-free Thursdays, Haritha Haram, health runs, fight for accident victims, candle rallies, protests and more… We are ready to drop everything and be out on the streets. It makes me happy and proud that we are not part of the slow-to-react cities. Nor are we the easily flammable Delhi. We are the poised positive new-age lot who are spirited to encourage great things and condemn bad things.
I am now also hoping other sleepy cities and countries will borrow our spirit and knowledge to champion causes. Hey wait. We are not cheer-leaders, but champions of change. Keep walking people. The next one is round the corner.
(The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)