These are opening words of a song composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Last couple of years, I saw this song come alive right in front of my eyes. Here’s the story.
There used to be more than 500 lakes in Hyderabad. Most are dead today, encroached by the ever-growing human population. I mutely witnessed the death of Durgam Cheruvu, a huge lake where I enjoyed quite a few boat rides a decade back. Today, the lake has practically vanished. Ironically, it still appears in the list of tourist spots in Hyderabad.
Coming to the point, my apartment complex is close to another lake, albeit smaller in size. It gradually started shrinking due to lack of care and encroachment. Like most of us, my husband too got concerned. But unlike many, he decided to act on it. Two years back he started seriously looking at the lake restoration. He first tried speaking to the government authorities. He sent a petition to the municipal corporation. No one listened. It seemed like he was banging against a stone wall. He tried few more times, before logging in a RTI. He got a response; over Rs. 2000000 were allocated for lake restoration, but no action was being taken. He continued his battle for lake restoration, he tried different options, without losing hope. After more than 1.5 years, he was able to get few like-minded people together. They created a website ‘Save Nallagandla lake’ (http://nallagandlalake.org/) and started the propaganda. He was constantly meeting people, trying to get support, but mostly fighting a lone battle.
Back at home, he would talk about saving Nallagandla Lake, share with me his frustrations or small victories along the way. Few times, I heard him with interest. But, many a times, I only listened half-heartedly or with skepticism. I wondered, what can one person really do? Why’s he wasting time?
How wrong I was! One person, with determination can indeed do a lot, of course not alone, but through the momentum created by his efforts. And the belief that others will join.
Few months back, he met few people from Art of Living (AOL) who were keen to contribute to this cause. In no time, a small case primarily fought by few individuals caught momentum and snow-balled into a large cause where people started contributing. Today, AOL has taken it up as a project, being personally monitored by Shri Shri Ravi Shankar. Now, I am confident that Nallagandla Lake will not see the fate of Durgam Cheruvu.
So, what’s the purpose of sharing this story? My own learning. Many a times, lack of support has pushed me back. I have worried walking alone on a path less traveled, full of disappointments and challenges, even though I believed it to be right. I held myself back when I realized that others’ don’t agree with me or don’t believe in it. At times, I doubted the might of one individual, who selflessly moves towards a noble cause. This incident helped me dispel all such doubts and fears!
Jodi tor daak shune keo na aashe tobe ekla cholo re,
ekla cholo, ekla cholo, ekla cholo re
- Rabindranath Tagore