Peachy-keen on public hap­pi­ness, says Spring She Baba

HT Ludhiana Live - - Wellness - RENUKA NARAYANAN

Did you hap­pen to spot the peach blos­soms that bloom briefly in Delhi in Fe­bru­ary? How el­e­gant they also look in long sprays in a sim­ple ceramic vase. How lucky are some parts of the na­tional cap­i­tal, so full of flow­ers. But be­yond the high- so­ci­ety bougainvil­laea and rose shows, do we pub­licly or per­son­ally in­vest enough in public green hap­pi­ness?

Many of us must be deeply wist­ful that so much of ‘ su­jalam supha­lam’ In­dia seems so beg­gared by poverty of imag­i­na­tion and main­te­nance in the world be­yond Lodhi Gar­dens and In­dia Gate Lawns; that so many green thumbs in our coun­try are de­nied a chance to con­trib­ute on hon­ourable terms to public spa­ces, to the qual­ity of na­tional life.

Gar­dens and green spa­ces do mat­ter in keep­ing us re­freshed for the daily grind. They are deeply psy­cho­log­i­cal and af­fect our well-be­ing in pro­found ways. Chi­nese writer Jung Chang, au­thor of the world­wide best­seller Wild Swans, told me years ago in Delhi -— at the In­dia In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre, over­look­ing Lodhi Gar­dens — that one of the mind-con­trol moves that Chair­man Mao made to keep his peo­ple in line was to or­der that trees should be cut down.

And what about us as in­di­vid­u­als, treat­ing all public spa­ces as a pri­vate dust­bin? Surely one of our most dis­gust­ing col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ences has to be the an­nual Dussehra mela in Delhi colonies, of park lawns cov­ered with lay­ers of greasy pa­per plates, dirtying peo­ple’s feet, stain­ing hems. What re­li­gion and what cul­ture can we claim to pos­sess if we can’t take the ground be­neath our feet for granted while gawk­ing as we came to do, at Ra­van? Is it re­ally so much trou­ble to af­firm our hon­our with a sim­ple act of good cit­i­zenry and take four ex­tra steps to the dust­bin, while gath­ered to cel­e­brate the epic hero who wan­dered through jun­gles and crossed the sea mil­len­nia ago to do what had he had to do to keep his hon­our?

Cul­tural lit­er­acy: at the end of the day, the big­gest agenda for the Dharma con­fer­ences and big re­li­gious gath­er­ings of the sac­er­do­tal class ( priests and babas) of ev­ery sect should be to spread the civic mes­sage that ‘Clean­li­ness is God­li­ness’, that God would so much rather be of­fered ‘mind­ful­ness’ as worship in place of greasy lad­doos and messy bunches of flow­ers in plas­tic bags. Peach blos­soms are merely an­other poignant re­minder from Na­ture to ‘mind it’. Renuka Narayanan writes on re­li­gion and cul­ture she­


Be­yond se­lect few places, clean and green gar­dens are rarely seen

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