The birth of a child in any Indian household is celebrated with bling and fervour. While large family gatherings, elaborate christening ceremonies or naamkarans, three-course meals and host of gifts are the trend, a Pune couple decided otherwise.
For the Naiks, the celebration of their 1.5-month-old Alisha challenged all stereotypes and traditions. Instead of a lavish party, Ranjeet and Neha Naik decided to plant over 101 trees at Malshiras village and donate over 51 saplings to local school students, spending over Rs. 50,000.
This area at the Malshiras village near Bhuleshwar temple in Yavat is infamous for dry spells of droughts since the last few years.
Residents of Shivaji Nagar, the Naiks were lauded by their friends and relatives who joined them for the environmental cause.
The group worked through the scorching heat to plough and plant seeds of neem, mango, chiku, bamboo, coconut palm, Gulmohar, banyan, Java plum, sacred fig, tamarind, etc.
In addition to it, they also fenced the area with sticks and netting to protect it from pests, animals and birds. At the end of the hard day’s work, the family cut a cake with the toddler’s name, Alisha.
While Ranjeet runs his own AutoCAD software training institute in Kothrud, Neha works as a professor at a Symbiosis institute in Viman Nagar.
The couple spoke to the Times of India about their initiative.
Ranjit said, “Nature gives us so much, and it is high time we returned the favour. Planting may be easy, but it is more important to maintain the trees.”
Just planting is not enough, so the couple has decided to take onus and visit the plantation regularly, once a week. The locals are also helping them monitor and replace damaged plants.
Neha feels the initiative in addition to the environmental message is also about celebrating and saving the girl child.
The villagers were overwhelmed by the humble move of the Naik family and friends. They extended their gratitude.
Arun Yadav, President of the Bhuleshwar temple trust, told TOI, “People hardly visit our village, but today, these people came with a touching idea. Plantation was an activity that had very much been on our minds.”
Feature Image credit: Times of India