Sunday, January 10, 2010

My morning of extreme eco-friendliness

On one hand you have global warming because of all this CO2 in the atmosphere. And then someone went and put an hole in the ozone layer. On the other hand you have people felling trees to make paper for something as stupid as vodafone itemized bills. Oh, and the giant panda's almost gone, as is the Siberian tiger. Now, as any self respecting earthling, I've always been deeply concerned about this sorry state of affairs here on mother earth. And so, I've always done my bit towards protecting the environment - I send at least three chain-mails everyday imploring people to stop using plastic, and watch animal planet till my eyes water. Of course, having seen no measurable difference out of my actions, it was but natural that I volunteered to help the eco-club at my work place to plant trees at a near-by village.

The volunteering part as always, happened in a spate of eco-extremism sometime on Thursday afternoon, when you are in a state of heightened soporificity after a heavy lunch and a morning of analyzing some VB6 code written by some dim wit in 1999. When today morning dawned, I woke up regretting my decision to the core. I mean, who wants to spend a perfectly fine Sunday planting tree saplings in the middle of nowhere? Moreover, what's more eco-friendly than the India Sri Lanka match? And that's how things would have been had it not been for Kirthana. At around 9 AM, she calls me and gives me a long lecture, the long and short of it being: Where the fuck are you? Turns out that Kirthana, who had agreed to accompany me to the treeless village in question, had already travelled the distance to Tambaram from Anna Nagar, and was now tramping around in front of MEPZ. Yet another SNAFU, Sundar, you forgot to tell her!

Sundar then went and rescued her from the leering lorry drivers that hang out in front of MEPZ. Experts however suggest that I'd have been better off leaving her there, but that's an altogether different story. Figuring that I'd better plant a few trees just to humor her, we came home, and I quickly changed, and off we went - to office - on a pleasant, perfect Sunday morning. This was my first time on the bike since my accident, so I drove at a safe 70. That way, I was able to beat the drunk taxi drivers trying to occupy the same volume of space as me. Half an hour later, we ended up in our campus, and no one was in sight. We called up the organizers who told us that the group had already split into three, and were launching a systematic three-pronged attack on the village armed with an assortment of saplings.

Right. Kirthana and I looked at each other, and unanimously agreed it was a complete waste of time gate crashing their little party. Now what do we do? Kirthana blamed me for being a lazy slouch, and I blamed her for being completely unable to read people's minds. After doing the blaming bit for a while, Kirthana suggests that I teach her to ride the bike and then we'll go home.

Now, all my masculine/macho senses are screaming at me to not teach a girl to ride a bike, but then I really want to go home, and say, "Fine". She learns surprisingly fast, (OK, there's nothing much to it) and I let her do a few rounds on it. Then we go off to the canteen and Kirthana paid her tuition fees in full by getting her teacher a couple of burgers, some potato fries and a few cans of pepsi. We make a quick detour to some unattended cubicles, and check for mails from our on-site coordinators (surprise, surprise, I'd gotten one! On a Saturday night)! Then we start. This time I do 80, as I really wanted to get home to watch the match, and we reach Tambaram in almost no time. I drop Kirthana off at the bus terminus, and race home to reach just in time to catch the first over. Half an hour or so later, I receive a text message: It's the chairman of the eco-club. He praises me for being part of an admirable, select few who are awake to the environmental needs of the hour, and thanks me profusely for helping plant over 300 saplings in the little village of Anjur.

Now that's the way you help the environment. Watch and learn!