It’s a cool winter morning when i started from my home around 7 AM. It’s heavy traffic on that day a normal 40/45 minutes journey took me more than 1 hour to complete. Finally, I reached my pickup point around 8.15 AM. I’d to wait a while till our bus arrived at Jayadeva hospital near jaynagar east end. The weather was so nice even waiting at the bus stop was a pleasure. My wait was over in 30 minutes with the arrival of our well-decorated white liner bus. I found our event coordinators raising their hands towards me from the entrance of the by us. For me most of the volunteers in the bus were strangers by face before this meeting.
I collected my volunteer T-shirt in the bus and get united with others as one NTT DATA volunteers group. All of us are quite well dressed and in festive mood. I mingled with them and had a good discussion. Most of us work in different work location serving different customers. Few of us knew each other only by name from our telephonic conversation and email communication before the event. So it’s a good platform which provided me very nice experience of making new friends and getting to know each other.
We started our journey towards our destination. It’s blue, green and white all around and our young team was in the mood of an excursion. Though we’re visiting for a social cause, the enthusiasm and fun was no less than that of a picnic party. The way to shivannahalli was quite picturesque.
Ramakrishna Mission, Shivannahalli is located about 30 kilometers from city center. Our bus reached the venue at around 10.15 AM. We get out of the bus at the drop point and had some snacks. Then we went to meet swamiji at the mission. He welcomed us all and was looking at us as if waiting for a while for us to come. We had a photo session with him. The level of hospitality was simply great. We’re all provided with free breakfast and lunch there. The quality of food was of high standard and all vegetarian.
We picked one plate each and stood in queue. The discipline demonstrated by our team members is exemplary. We cleaned plates on our own after having food. That time reminded me of my school days when we’re taught basic discipline at our study. We used to celebrate Ganesh (Lord Ganapati) puja and Saraswati (Devi Saraswati) puja at school. In those days i was very impatient to get ‘prasadam’/’meals’ during a PUJA we celebrate at school. So are other kids there. Probably, this is only kids’ behavior and we learned discipline as we grew up. Even today I follow the same discipline at home taught by my mother. I used to clean my own plates and that of my ageing parents while at home.
It was fun venturing into the forest with others. We found many coconut trees and few raw coconut shells on the ground. Probably, those fell naturally by wind. Few of us had coconut juice and the white cream inside. The size was quite large and I used to get one in market at a cost of Rs. 20 in Bangalore. It was an amazing experience. It reminded me of the movie CAST AWAY, how people survive long only with natural products. We found few wild spiders on the way with their big nets. They are quite poisonous as I come to know from locals there.
We’re all feeling tired after a long exercise of planting and watering trees. We’re feeling hungry and few of us had some food again. We had vegetable fried rice with ‘raita ‘(curd mixed with fruits and vegetables) and oranges.
It was like a journey of a lifetime for me. I was thinking how much value it can add to all our life when we do ‘satsang’. It is nothing but spending time with and learning from like-minded people whom we term our GURUs / LEADERs. We’re asked what the purpose of our visit is whether we know that. Great leaders inspire people with a question like this and Swamiji started his speech with the same.
We had a lot of learning on nature conservation through his speech and discussion. We used to make excuses for cutting trees. Even we don’t need to take away a single log of wood fallen by any natural disaster. It’ll decompose automatically. We give reasons for all wrong doing like we are clearing roads for smooth passage of our vehicle. We just need to clean roads in our living place and not inside the forest. You can easily walk over a fallen tree if there is a need and it does not take a very long time to decompose.
He taught us many things related to conservation of our forest land. We learned the need to protect our environment. When he was gifted a set of synthetic color paints, he told us the need to use natural paints whenever possible. Artificial paints are made of chemicals and petroleum products that pose a threat to our environment. In our old days we had great painters who used only natural paints and their paintings are still in good condition after so many years.
We discussed many issue like greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, use of plastics bags vs. bags made of biodegradable material, man made forest fire, cutting trees, killing wild animals etc. We can keep our pollution level under check if we try avoiding use of vehicles that emit toxic gases not suitable for our environment. We have alternatives these days – thanks to technology. We can use electric vehicles and whenever possible can avail mass transportation system rather than our personal vehicles.
As it’s all from my memory, I might have added little additional information not discussed there from my own thoughts. Overall it was quite invaluable time for all of us. When all of unite for a good cause, we can easily change ourselves and our environment for the well-being of all.