As a kid I hailed from a lower middle class family. During the summer days especially in a city like Chennai, it was very hot and humid. We used to run to the terrace and sleep under the night sky to cool ourselves. Life was blissful admiring the sparkling stars and the moon too.
Then as we grew up, finished our formal education and started our career, we split from our families and started life on our own. As a bachelor, I never had the time to go to the terrace to see the night sky again.
We then moved to bigger cities and the stars almost disappeared from the sky. It was not because the stars were not around but we as human beings had polluted the environment so much that there was a layer of dust and pollution hiding the stars from our naked eyes.
The air coolers and then the air conditioners entered our homes making us cosy indoors and we moved further away from the beautiful night sky. Literally we found ways and means to run away from nature. We neither got the clean air to breathe nor the sights of stars and planets.
We have become materialistic human beings. We are happy accumulating wealth and not realising that money cannot buy health or happiness for us. There may be nothing wrong in satisfying our material needs as long as we can afford it. But to forget the laws of nature and respecting nature can be catastrophic for us.
We realise how much we miss our connect with nature only when we visit a hill station or a forest for a vacation. Unfortunately most of the holiday destinations have also become as crowded as a city nowadays. We need to find destinations where we can connect with nature and wander around listening to the song of birds, admiring the movement of the clouds, the sound of the wind or gazing at the stars.
We need to strike the right balance between technological advancement and the preservation of nature. One cannot be at the cost of the other. While technology and development have definitely made life more comfortable for us, it cannot and should not be at the cost of nature. After all nature bestows us with unlimited resources and gives life to our living. We have a responsibility to respect and sustain it.
This pandemic is a wake up call for all of us. We suddenly realised that we have destroyed nature for fulfilling our selfish human wants. A symbolic illustration was recently seen by many of us. We cut trees from the forests and destroyed nature in the name of modernisation and today we are in need of oxygen from cylinders because nature may be teaching us lessons on sustenance.
Life comes a full circle. I would love to go back to the open terrace and have a good night’s sleep on a natural fibre mat under the stars. I would like to commit that I will respect nature in all ways I can. I will give back to nature at least as much as I take from her.
Let us commit to respect nature in all ways possible from today.
S Ramesh Shankar
15th May 2021