The Earth Hour came last evening.
And, it went, without me having switched off a single light.
Quite tragic, really, considering that, I love to put switches off.
To all those who asked, I said, I hadn't been home.
I was out, shopping, for groceries. And, if, I had tried talking Spencer's, where I was at 8:30 p.m., into switching off their lights, I am pretty sure, the noise pollution levels in Bangalore city, would have gone up by a few notches.
A pathetic excuse, you may think.
Quite rightly so!
Truth be told, I did not remember it was Earth Hour.
No-one text messaged me. Nor, did I receive any email forwards.
The only person, who even mentioned it to me, did so at 10:30 in the night.
However, the lack of reminders, is, not the reason for my forgetfulness.
I forgot about Earth Hour, simply because, I did not find it real enough.
Will, one hour of darkness, save our Planet, from melting into nothingness?
I didn't think so.
Can, one hour of darkness, offset the damage done by the gazillion text messages, phone calls, and emails that have zipped the length and breadth of the globe, garnering support for Earth Hour?
I doubted it.
No matter how it was marketed, - a global election, a statement of intent, or, even, as a much-needed start, for me, the Earth Hour, sadly, was nothing but an over-hyped idea, which, probably has done more to enhance global warming, than alleviate it.
And, I am unable to view it as anything but, a feel-good activity with immense brag-value.
For, come Monday, nothing much would have changed.
People will continue with their wasteful, destructive life-styles.
And, the Earth Hour will, at best, become a fashionable topic of conversation for most.
Without doubt, the idea, was fuelled by good intentions.
But, the stairway to heaven, is not paved by good intentions alone.
Any effort to save this planet we call home, has to run a lot deeper.
It has to be sustained. And, a part of our daily lives.
Our efforts to save Earth, HAS, to be rooted in awareness, genuine caring, and, in the understanding, that the survival of mankind is, irrevocably, entwined with that of Earth's.
Sadly, man has changed much from the days, when he lived in oneness with nature.
And, I confess, I have been as guilty as anyone else.
There was a time, when, I used to watch, and snicker, as my mother set out for shopping expeditions, armed with a jumbo sized, cloth bag.
I remember the times, when, I used to scowl in annoyance, at the local grocer, who insisted on wrapping at a snail's pace, each purchase of mine in newspaper.
There was a time, when I used demand immediate eviction, and, even the murder of little creepy crawlies, only, because they scared the living daylights out of me.
And, horror of horrors, there were occasions, when I used to flood the house regularly, only because I was careless enough to nod off, with a tap running somewhere.
I would like to put these instances down to youthful arrogance, and callousness.
But, when I look back, it is with a sense of guilt and shame.
I cannot claim to be a very-aware person today.
Or, to be someone, who lives in oneness with nature.
But, I try.
I carry non-plastic shopping bags, as much as I can.
And, no, my mother does not know of it, as yet. If she does come to hear of it, I will argue, till I am blue in the face, that my bags are so much smarter than hers.
I care for the plants and animals in my surrounds, and, that includes, the creepy-crawlies too.
Spiders, millipedes, and the rest of their ilk, crawl merrily about my house, much to the fury of my maid, upon whom, falls the unenviable task of clearing dense festoons of cobwebs, from all over. Cheeky jackdaws and noisy crows, boldly saunter in as they please, demanding food, shelter, sometimes, just company. And, the resident feline mafioso, has practically, taken over my spare bedroom!!!
I donate my newspapers to the local delicatessen, so, they can send out their food in recycled newspaper carry-bags. Very many of those bags come back home to roost, as I tend to patronise the delicatessen, under the pretext of optimising gas consumption at home.
After all, they are cooking, so why waste mine?
Difficult as it is, I try to stay on the lower links of the food chain.
As we all know, a leopard, can never change his spots.
An Ethiopian, his skin.
And, a die-hard foodie, her taste-buds.
The only worthwhile assets I have to my name, are my books.
And, most of them, have been bought second-hand.
I know, I know.
I should borrow.
But, these are books, we are speaking of!!!
I walk as much as I can.
My crawling metabolic rate demands it, as much, as Mother Earth does!
I try to be energy efficient.
And,in the process, seem to have metamorphosed into an obsessive-compulsive switch-offer. There have been occasions, when my penchant for putting off switches, have resulted in people having to perform their ablutions in the dark.
I try to conserve water.
But, with 2-3 baths a day, plus, the fact that they are all hot water baths, I, probably, should not list water conservation as an achievement.
And, this year, I intend to try composting organic waste in our backyard.
Mom's mantra of returning to earth, that, which has sprung from it, makes greater sense now, than it did years ago.
I am, no where near, where I would like to be.
But, I think I am on the right track.
After all, it is the grass-roots solutions, that drive positive, and, lasting change.
I believe, if, we were to look around us, and, try understand our surrounds, try nurture it, and, be a part of it, then, the world at large, would, automatically, become a nicer, greener, and, happier, place, for its inhabitants.
As much as we hate to admit it, the future of our home, does not lie in the hands of wily politicians, or, greedy industrialists.
It, rests, with each one of us.
I have heard, little children chant E for Earth, as they learnt their alphabets and baby words.
Will there come a time, in the foreseeable future, when our children will associate E with Extinction, instead of Earth?
Will we, wake up in time, to save ourselves?