Gopi’s Trees

Gopi’s Trees

Before treesIt was an unusual email.

“Dear Sir,,

today you people cleaned plastics and waste material in and around the Whitefield church. it’s really wonderful job sir,

our requirement as follows:

* 12 trees for gandhipuram
* 15 trees for vijayanagar,
* we need badami trees (it will grow very fast and it will not do any damages homes, it’s look good and healthy)
* village boys will take care of the trees.
* bamboo guard is ok. (metal may damage the trees because of heat produce)

thanking you,

yours faithfully
Gopinath P.


Gopi and friendsTurns out, this Gandhipuram and Vijayangar are just down the road from Immadahalli. So we agreed to meet by Mayura Bakery and go check out his site. Along the way, we learnt a lot. Gopi is a well meaning self made man. As are his friends. Meeting him and his friends and hearing about his ambitions for this little village made us want to go all out to support him no matter what. He wanted the streets to be like “foreign”. He had done enough research to know which trees would go quickly, provide shade and yet not upset the foundation of the nearby houses. All these were crucial factors. In addition, he had already figured out a game plan for their maintenance in the early months. Kids were signed up and a competition was set up. 24 kids got a tree each and if their tree made it to a certain height by the end of the year, then they would get a prize. Ingenious. If we enabled such changemakers, wouldn’t we all be better off for it?

Fast forward  to Jan 22.

mita and anuMeet Anu and Mita. Two people that had never met each other but on learning about this need from Gopi, decided to jump right in and help out. Knowing this would not be an isolated requirement, they decided to find out how they could make this a repeatable experience. Off they went to the ITPL nursery to procure the plants having done research to ensure that was the right place. However they were in for a rude shock. A volley of words were exchanged and they returned empty handed. Not to be deterred, 40+ calls were made and the next day all the trees were procured! BBMP was contacted to procure tree guards and after some creative thinking, 24 tree guards were obtained. Compost was readily offered by Balaji Pristine, a community that is leading the effort on segregation and composting their own wet waste.

mitaWith everything in place, we were all set for the planting on Republic Day. We were invited to a flag hoisting at the local Government school where as we sat and watched the beautiful kids sing the anthem, we couldn’t help but think of so many things we could do as a community to make the school a better place. But that is for another day. On this day, our mission was to plant trees on Gopi’s streets.

We walked to the street nearby and were amazed at all the preparation. The holes were dug deep. Compost lay on a heap. The trees were all watered and ready and the tree guards were on standby. Mita and Anu hit the dirt with gusto while all the villagers joined in. Their passion was contagious. With so many people involved, soon it was all done and now the trees are in. Gopi hopes this works and others take the cue.

Shade SoonIn all this, three changemakers emerged. Gopi, Anu and Mita. They didn’t set out with any vision. Gopi just wanted trees on his street and did all the work necessary to make it happen. When he went as far as he could and needed help, he reached out..Anu jumped right in to help, wouldn’t take no for an answer as she tried to procure trees from our civic agencies. And Mita held it all together due to her passion for trees and everything green. It meant many visits to the site, taking some time off from work, figuring out alternatives etc. They all have families, priorities and other pressures. But if they didn’t do what they did, 24 trees wouldn’t be reaching for the skies right now.  But talk to them about it and they will brush off any attempt at a compliment or even a thank you.  They were doing this for their own soul you see.