Wondering what this non-descript, octogenarian woman is doing on the banner of the 80th issue of a corporate newsletter? Don’t be fooled by her rustic looks. She has been lauded globally as a green-champion thanks to her tree-planting mission. While some of us rave and rant about the lack of something or the other, Thimmakka didn’t lament on her barrenness. On the contrary, she and her husband planted over 400 banyan trees for the past 50 years in Hulikal, about 70 kms away from Bangalore and cared for them as their own children.. No wonder she is fondly called Saalumarada Thimmakka after the row trees planted by her as a simple, yet effective answer to deforestation. She could not beget children but she found her life’s calling – nurturing hundreds of shade-giving banyan trees that have long, long lives. She didn’t get, but she didn’t stop giving !!
Earth Day (22nd April) has come and gone. Most of us espouse such causes by way of pledges, taglines, seminars, ‘don’t-print’ email messages, ‘shun-plastic’ drives, car-pooling schemes etc. – at best a few days in a year but true champions are like Thimmakka who do it in a sustained manner. We need to move from celebrating ‘Days’ to celebrating ‘sustainable living’ which calls for a fundamental shift in our thinking and living habits.