From raising awareness about autism to promoting a healthy lifestyle and gender equality, cycling enthusiasts are pedaling ahead to bring about a change in their little way…..
The most recent ride for cause was organized on World Health Day. As many as 40 cyclists rode together amidst heavy traffic in the evening hours to educate people about the health benefits of riding a bicycle. “We had been looking for an opportunity to organize a ride to claim the city roads as cyclists basically, and the occasion of World Health Day seemed just perfect. After all, cycling has several health benefits. We wanted to convey to the public that there is a sizeable chunk of ardent cyclists in the city and also to motivate people to take up cycling,” informs an ardent cyclist Deepanti Pal, who led the entire ride that was flagged off from Joggers’ Street.
Happy to receive a positive response from the people around, another cycling enthusiast and dental surgeon Amruta Kandurwar says, “One of the most exciting parts of these awareness rides is the reaction of the onlookers. It was quite heartening to see people cheering for us along the way. The curious crowd interacted with us whenever we stopped at a signal even as we took that moment as an opportunity to talk about ways to lead a healthy lifestyle. I can’t wait to be a part of more such awareness rides in the future.”
Fight for Avani the Tigress started from Nagpur and has become an international campaign for justice to the slain tigress. Now hundreds of Nagpurians have come together to save Bharat Van, a lush green forest right in the heart of the city that faces imminent extinction. As a part of this campaign, a painting competition was recently organized in Bharat Nagar, attended by people of all groups. This is not all; this crusade has brought out various creative shades of the Nagpurians who are passionate about their green spaces…
Deep emotional connect
“Ever since I was five, my friends and I used to play under the guava, mango, imli and cheeks trees in this amazing mini forest in our neighbourhood,” shares 19-year-old engineering student Rahul Shinde. He adds, “so to save these endangered trees, I just painted those scenes from my childhood although I haven’t had any formal training as an artist and my true emotions touched people’s heart.”
It’s not just the students, but almost all the residents of Bharat Nagar have come together in support of these old trees; they share an emotional attachment with the trees that come with long association. An entrepreneur, Vijay Jathe, shares, “I have been staying near Bharat Van for the past 35 years, and most of these trees are 10 to 80 years old. In these three and a half decades, I have seen so many birdwatchers come here and enjoy the activities of a variety of rare birds, including owls on some grand old Arjuna trees. Right in the center of this van, there is a waterbody made of neighboring Futala Lake’s overflow, around which hundreds of monkeys reside on various trees. So it is important to save this thriving hub of biodiversity from extinction. We have started #SaveBharatVan campaign on social media and every day a lot of people are joining in to spread the word.”
Colorful messages on canvas
There are a lot of young city artists who have joined the fray, and they are using different ways to reach out to people through their colorful expressions on canvas. “These trees are not only our neighbors, but they also add so much value to our lives, but we usually take them for granted. So through my painting, I depicted different stylised branches of trees in the forest and each one of them bearing a gift for us Nagpurians,” explains young city artist Prachi Pathrose, who is supporting the cause of this forest.
In this endeavor to save the greenest patch of the city, homemakers have also thrown in their might. Laxmi Kinkhede and her group break into a popular number hugging the trees and sing without any inhibition – ‘Yeh Dosti hum Nahin change’ hugging the trees in perfect Bollywood style. “These are not just filmi numbers, but real expressions coming straight from my heart,” comments Laxmi.
One for the heritage
This song dance and paint routine is serving a deeper purpose, shares honorary Wildlife Warden Jaideep Das. “People of this area realize that Bharat Van helps keep the water table of the nearby localities healthy compared to most of the other parts of Nagpur.