My first trek in the Himalayas was a transcendental experience. Even a decade after, I remember the intense beauty of every vignette I came across. That’s why I was excited about the Himalayan Cleanup, held on May 26 this year.
I grew up in the Konkan, drinking water from a well that was filled by rainwater, filtered through the area's laterite aquifers and “fortified” by the leaves shed by the jackfruit tree above it. And then I moved to Pune, where I came across a cloudy, salty, heavy liquid that passed for water.
It was supposed to be a normal monsoon as Indian Meteorological Department had predicted. But barring the central plateau, the rest of India may be forgiven for thinking that the Biblical deluge has come a second time.
The children of Shri Ram Vidya Mandir in Dotiyal in Almora district of Uttarakhand were hushed as they entered the hall. Within 15 minutes, they were all giggling in anticipation of the fun of learning something new. This is one of the schools where students are taught the basics of hydrogeology and water quality.
In the early half of the last century, two people in love with each other worked in their own separate ways to create the India of their dreams. Venkapaiyya worked in the district court at Kasargod, Kerala eventually retiring a few years before India became independent and spent his days administering the laws of British India.
When Satya Devi was a child, the open well near her house in the village of Malku Majra was the water source for the household. She reminisces, “The water was clean and soft. The well would never go dry.
When I meet Puran Chand, an activist in the forefront of the anti-Renuka dam struggle, he dictates from the two much-thumbed pages of his notebook the several objections he has against the government’s plan for the rehabilitation of people displaced by the Renuka dam.