It was a happy coincidence when Vinod pointed out that all the trees growing outside Mother Earth, were in fact, pongam trees. If we were there to launch Let’s Plant Trees, it seemed only natural that we begin our day planting more seeds, which we did under the expert guidance of Siddharth, Vinod’s two-year-old son.
They declared their favourite trees, mango ruling the roost, discussed why it was important to plant trees (one knowledgeably remarked, “You can meditate under them.”) and were ready to rock Mother Earth when the great tree treasure hunt began.
Before the volunteers gathered at the ground floor, many had finished planting their seeds into the little terracotta pots (sporting the LPT flag) with Vinod by their side, and those who weren’t planting were looking at their mangos gleefully. (With all the participants getting them, there weren’t any losers in this competition!)
The book and the smart merchandise launched alongside (a cloth bag and badge with a merry visual from Let’s Plant Trees) caught the attention of children and parents alike. Soon enough a little crowd had gathered in front of the author, some sitting on the lovely modas and others on the colourful mats.
Some looked through the book studiously, some were terribly curious (what were all those pots for?) and one girl marched right up to Vinod and asked, “How did you make this book?” And as they shot questions and responses, its shy author, who was insistent on saying as little as possible, talked trees. (As Seema, his wife and the brain behind the treasure hunt, put it, “Say ‘tree’ and Vinod will smile.”)
|Tree treasure hunting|
There were groups of two, three and four pacing up and the down the stairs of Mother Earth, searching in likely and unlikely places, looking sometimes beseechingly at the aunties and uncles who held the clues to find the next tree, and for about forty minutes all anyone heard was “Found it!” or “GOTITAUNTYNEXTCLUE!”
|Planting pongam in pots!|
The group that won the treasure hunt (Ranjit, Yohaan and Roshan) were grinning from ear to ear. Ranjit, whose birthday it was, held his pot up proudly when their photos were taken. In his words, this was “the best present.”
Back in Singaara Chennai the same weekend, greenbies gathered at Hippocampus for The Great Tale Chase to listen to a reading of Let’s Plant Trees and the stunning Black Panther written by Aravind Krish Bala and illustrated by the one and only Ashok Rajagopalan.
So if you haven’t seen these fabulous pictures, or this piece of press, and you didn’t get a mango, we don’t know what to say except planttrees.tulikabooks.com