Monday, March 31, 2014

Save my planet


A few days back I saw someone throw a can of soda on the street. I knew the man. I asked him if he realized that the can was going to end up in a land-fill. And his as well as my children/grand children will be doing all the clean up for years to come. He shrugged and told me that he wasn't worried because they are looking for ways to recycle this and get back all the oil that went in making it! I said, oh, that's good, and asked, if it will done in his time or mine? He shrugged again. At that point I let it go.

I am from the baby-boom generation, that's people who are over 50. Our generation made the full use of innovations-old as well as the new. We went crazy with "modern" things that needed more energy---be it from coal, water or nuclear. We drove gas guzzling cars, used coal to light up our homes, keep our homes cool in summer and heated in winter with the electricity that came from oil, coal, natural gas or nuclear plants.

My generation as well as the ones that come after me, will have to keep on trying to use alternate energy sources---sun, wind and perhaps something new. Also, when we realized that our ways were depleting our earth's energy, we started planting more trees, trying to keep the rain forest safe, making smaller cars and recycle paper and plastic.


Save my planet

The eight-year-old twins, Suchi and Soori visited their grandparents in India one summer. Their parents stayed back in the US but their older siblings, Sagar and Sapna accompanied them.  Sagar, sixteen and Sapna, twelve, kept an eye on the twins and answered their queries about the Indian  ways.

One cloudy day their grandmother said, "Sagar will you please help me move the gobar-gas cylinder into the kitchen from the veranda?  

Suchi pulled Sapna's dress, "What's a veranda?"

Soori also joined them.

Sapna whispered, "It's this platform like passage in Gramma's place, that goes around the house. It has a roof and a trellis wall with doors and windows."

Soori said, "Oh, but what is gobar-gas and why does she need it?"

Sagar returned to his siblings after helping their grandma, "Okay, today we'll be eating food cooked on the gobar-gas stove."

Sapna smiled, "That's cooking gas made from cow dung."

Succhi-Soori wrinkled their nose, "Eww..yuck."

Sagar said, "Hey, the cow-dung does not go in the food, it's just the gas made from cow-dung. Our grand parents don't have to pay for electricity for cooking. They use electricity only during the evening and night hours."

Sapna said, "Don't you remember we went to play in the terrace the other day and Gramma warned us to be careful about her rice that was cooking by the solar cooker?"

Sagar said, "People use gobar-gas cylinders to run the rickshaws also. When your didi and I were younger, this area had just introduced natural gas to run cars, rickshaws and even the buses. By the time we visit this place next time, we'll have natural-gas connections in homes and then Gramma will just turn on the knobs to start the burners to cook with natural gas."

Suchi-Soori said, "Can't they afford the electricity? Mom and Dad can give them money."

Sagar said, "It's good that they save money, but it's about saving the environment and saving the energy sources, so we won't suffer, won't be short of energy as we grow older."


"Well, the way everyone burns gasoline, electricity, there won't be any left for the children when they grow up. It pollutes the air, makes it difficult to breathe, causes diseases that make lives miserable."

"Bhaiya, will this gobar-gas make stinky-smoke?"

"Not really, but the use of natural gas is cleaner, less polluting and yes, cheaper."

Soori wondered, "And the trees??

Sapna said, "Trees clean the air, when they make food."


Sapna cleared her throat, "Well, the plants make food by photosynthesis, they take in the carbon dioxide, which is pollution itself, from the air and release the good gas, oxygen. And also---"

Suchi said, "Too much information that---"

Soori added, "information that we do not understand."

Sapna said, "Well, just remember that the green leaves make oxygen that all living things need to breathe."

The twins said, "Good, let's help Grampa plant some trees---"

"With green leaves!"

All the children ran out to help their grandfather in the yard.

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah


  1. Cute. Slight typo on Sapana/Sapna's spelling 7 lines from the end. I remember the veranda at my grandmom's house! DO they all wrap around?

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