Saturday, May 19, 2007

Our Amar Tinkle Club.

Amar Tinkle club is a small organization of true book lovers and tinkle readers. Tinkle readers from various cities have formed their own ‘Amar Tinkle Clubs’. One such Amar Tinkle Club is ours, right here in Bangalore, and I am proud to say I am part of it. The First Amar Tinkle Clubs started in Mumbai, then spread to various other cities, and the beloved ‘Father of Comics’, Uncle Pai, creator of the Amar Chitra Katha series, originally came up with an idea. An Amar Tinkle Club mainly consists of kids and young adults and we engage ourselves in fun activities, like reading, debate and such other things. Well, I thought our club must be something more special. As I have written in my other post My favorite tree, a tree from our road was mercilessly cut by a haughty neighbor so we decided to talk about the issue seriously, and finally take some action. You will be surprised at what small kids can do. They have a wonderful sense of judgment. Right now, we are a group of four! I thought I should post some pictures to share the proud moment of Amar Tinkle Club’s first meeting!!

Well, in our first meeting, all of us resolved to do one thing—buy a plant each and raise it. I got the idea from a concept I read about. It appeared in an open sesame issue, a long time ago. On the day a boy was born, a mango tree was planted in the orchard. As the boy grew, the tree grew with him. When he was twenty, the tree was strong and burly. When he became old, the tree sagged. The man called the tree “My tree” because he thought of it as a friend, and played under it’s shade all the time. When the man died, the tree was chopped down for the pyre. In the end, the tree feels happy that the man had been so nice to it, and it feels it is dying an appropriate death. I loved the concept of “My tree” because if we do grow a tree, we will attach a bond to it, and we can proudly say that our trees are our properties, and I think it will not be too hard to treat inanimate trees just like our pets and nurture them with care.

It was a hot summer’s day, but the little meeting went smoothly. I only wished my cousin, Rukmini who lives in Mysore was here in Bangalore with me, she would have loved it. Both of us are nature lovers, and she would have liked to take part in this.

There were intimate moments of fun, too! An Amar Tinkle Club member, my brother’s friend was so angry about felling down of a tree that he volunteered to spy on that ‘bad tree killing woman’ and throw stones at her! Well, well, I told him that “An organized effort to nurture trees and care for nature” did not include throwing stones and ‘barbarism’. For this, he replied in a typical style ‘that is what I would do!’ and ‘you sound too complicated! Girls are weird’

The most difficult thing about dealing with a kid and making him understand complicated concepts like global warming, deforestation, water preservation, and polluting of air before he snoozes off to sleep or starts catching flies. The main aim is to hold their attention which is not as easy as it sounds! They love to enjoy better things like cricket and TV, and it took me a lot of effort to make them abandon the idiot box, and turn to me instead. I can understand when their thread of thought goes astray—that’s when there is a misty look in the eyes which says ‘This girl is bugging me’ and a huge yawn. Then, they’ll start doodling their fingers, and twisting a piece of metal wire around their hands, all the while nodding their heads in happy pretence. Then, I had this bright idea. A really wise one popped up in my head-- To play with their psychology.
“ Look, all the adults in the world are stupid,” I said, “ You know that!”
For once, we all agreed on the same point. “Uh-huh,”
“ They are so dumb that they cut trees and stuff, and some people, like the ‘bad tree woman’ make a mess of the world. So, we should show them that kids have got tough stuff too, and we can be responsible. We are surely more brilliant in such matters than adults will ever be!”
“So will you buy a plant for the Amar Tinkle Club?”
“Oh, you bet!”

The best thing is to give such small boys with you-are-going-to-save-the-earth feeling because it makes them feel important. They love to be considered as “Green Warriors”. Give them a stick and a spade and they’ll go around pretending it is some secret instrument which is going to come in handy in this ‘useful and extremely dangerous venture’. Surprisingly, it does not take much time to convince them that the world is sort of video-game like in certain aspects and they can go on planting one tree after another just as fast as Mario climbs a tree to rescue his princess.
We dispersed by afternoon, just before lunch and we shared a silent promise in our hearts to do something to make the world a better place. It was a secret oath, a noble pledge, and I think there was definitely a smile on my brother’s friend, Pavan’s face as he was planning to depart. In a day, he had become a recognized valiant green warrior!! And I felt that I had made a small difference in the world….for me, as well as for my tiny friends. “Beware,” I whispered, “The Green Warriors are here!”


Anil P said...

Hi, I quite liked your enthusiasm for nature. You write well. There are many aspects to living that one encounters on a daily basis and they can and often do provide for interesting writing material.