‘Blue sky studded with stars in Delhi, a city where clear sky is a rare phenomenon!’
‘Residents of Jalandhar in Punjab wake up to a scintillating sight of Dhauladhar mountain range 200 Kms away in Himachal Pradesh.’
‘Four weeks into the lock-down, holy water of Ganga at Hari-ki-Pauri in Haridwar has been declared fit for drinking after chlorination for the first time in decades.’
Blue sky, clean air and water: lock-down is rejuvenating our environment. In this gloom and doom, there is something to cheer about. The silver lining is earth is bouncing back in the absence of human activity. While we are holed up in our homes, Mother Nature is rebooting itself, enjoying its much needed privacy and detox.
With all the commercial establishments closed, transport suspended, factories shut down, and construction halted, pollution levels have drastically come down. Air is cleaner; smog has given way to clear sky. India is breathing fresh air in the last few days. Earlier we were breathing toxic air; now the air is clean but we are made to wear masks. What an irony!
As human activity has reduced, nature is using this opportunity to heal itself. Not just the air, rivers and lakes are also cleaner. With factories throwing effluents into water bodies shut , there is improvement in the quality of water. Marine life is getting new lease of life.
Liberated by the lock-down imposed on man, animals and birds are moving on their own accord. Every day pictures and videos of birds, and also wild animals straying into man’s domain are being shared on social media. Of course many fake , dated pics are also in circulation, but undoubtedly the noise of traffic has been replaced by the bird songs. While man has gone into hiding, the birds have a field day! That is what Connought Place in Delhi looked like on the day of Janta curfew as a flock of pigeons descended on the deserted market place, which is otherwise bustling with activity. My son is super excited to have an unexpected guest, a peacock in his balcony in Gurgaon.
Wild life is venturing into urban habitat, emboldened, and perhaps a little amused by the absence of man and the lack of activity. A leopard strayed into the deserted streets of Chandigarh creating panic among the residents. A Neelgai was spotted moving leisurely on the roads of Noida, where earlier the vehicles used to jostle for space. Animals are feeling safe, enjoying a great sense of freedom, as we are holed up in our houses. A cartoon aptly brings out the irony ‘Man is caged, and animals out in the open are feeling amused.’
Man has been ruthless in the exploitation of nature. In his lust to take control of the entire planet, he has overpowered all other creatures. In fact, man is out to conquer the space, wishes to reach the stars, but stands humbled by a micro-organism on the earth. He thinks he is invincible, but nature has exposed his vulnerability. It is a lesson for man to acknowledge how small he is in His scheme of things. Covid19 is a wakeup call for man to be humble, to respect nature, and to be gentle with all the creatures in the world.
(Published in Momspresso on 24 April)