Snake Shyam buttonholed a bunch of neighbourhood boys on their way to play cricket at a Vijaynagar park to give them a pep talk on tree-care. He then asked each one of them to plant a sapling, all around their makeshift pitch. The boys who probably expected this guy to pull out a python from his bag might have been a bit disappointed seeing Syam minus snake; and, what's more, hearing him talk about carbon emission, usefulness of wayside trees, instead of snakes, their lifestyle and food habits.
The boys however gave him a patient hearing;picked up the saplings, thoughtfully placed there by Sapgreen;and planted them - venue - Vijayanagar II, opposite JSS High School; day - Ugadi, April 7. If only Shyam’s pep talk could turn these boys into stakeholders in nursing the saplings in the park, one needn’t worry about their survival. The JSS school principal has volunteered to provide water.
Such was the simple, but spirited, start of Mysore’s first green-delivery start-up company founded by two 25-year-olds – Ashwin Upadhyaya and Anil Kumar A S. A small, but significant, turnout included a bunch of collage students, spirited software professionals, a couple of tree experts, Mysore’s best known tree-pruner Hyder Ali Khan, doyen of local media corps Krishna Vattam, who wore the cap of a tree-lover for the occasion, a few Friends of Roadside Trees (FORT) and Anil Kumar’s parents, who have reposed faith in their son’s decision to dump a secure lakh-a-month job for a green business initiative with uncertain future.
Ashwin(centre), Anil and Hyder Ali Khan(left).
Anil with his parents and mentor Mr Krishna Vattam (centre)
I don’t know if Anil asked them to plant, but I reckon there can’t be a more fitting start to the tree-plant company than having parents of both co-founders to plant saplings at the park at the earliest. For Sapgreen, this park isn’t just another planting site;it is, rightfully, the place of company’s birth. It represents a piece of history.
Not wanting to be left out, FORT-Mysore members joined in, with Mr E R Ramachandran, Mr Vattam and yours truly planting our saplings side by side.
My wife and I sponsored our sapling, a neem, for our grandsons - Siddarth and Nikhil. The elder guy Siddarth, two years and a half, started going to play school this day in California. And we celebrated it with a sapling here in Mysore.