Imagine, an institute of technology placed amidst flora and fauna that makes "a word of lusness and greeness"! A scholar recounts his experience in the idyllic atmosphere:"The deer stag stood there, his splendid head with its three-tined antlers raised... I saw something swimming towards the bank. It came closer and closer... Now I could see it was a snake and it was heading towards me...!" Put to test, a black buck outdistanced him in no time, turning back as if to enquire why he had given up so easily!
The apprehension expressed above for the future state of affaurs containing a warning. Will it be heeded?
**Contents and Sample Pages**
I wonder of it’s true that living. in a city makes zombies
of us all...
I have a sense that only a very tiny proportion of young
people nowadays who grow up in cities have minds and
hearts that are open to receiving the blessings that nature
bestows on us.
Ask a young lad from a village almost anywhere in rural
India about the trees and plants around him and he will come
up with all their names and stories about them, to boot. You’d
be lucky if your average city lad knows more than five tree
names in all.
Is it really a ‘city-thing’—about living cut off from
nature—or a cultural thing, something about the way we
are brought up? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that
when [| try and think of moments in my youth when things
seemed absolutely perfect, when everything felt just ‘right’,
it is always a memory of being in pristine wilderness, of
being surrounded by bird calls, of owls hooting at dusk, or
elephants trumpeting their challenge to another herd across
a vast expanse of jungle. Or the urgent honking of a sambhar
announcing the presence of a tiger.
It seems so appropriate to reprint Sathasivam’s little
memoir of Chennai’s City Forest and this lively story about
the joys of discovery by a group of young men living close to
an urban wilderness. I hope this book will be an inspiration
and manual for young students all over the country.
Madras (now Chennai) is perhaps the-only large city in the
world to have a real forest within its limits. Once it was a group
of small towns, and these were surrounded by dense jungle.
Now most of the forest has disappeared and the small towns
have fused together, leaving of the jungle only a well-wooded
area in the southern part of the city. Most of the remaining
untouched forest lies in the Guindy National Park, located
between Raj Bhavan, the residence of the State Governor,
and the Indian Institute of Technology.
I spent seven years at the Indian Institute of Technology.
I found that much of the original vegetation still remained
25 years after it had been carved out of the large forest.
Occupying more than 600 acres, it was an entirely different
world from the din and bustle of the city outside. It was
a world of lushness and greenness, with wild creatures lying
next to man.
This text is based mainly on our experiences 1n the forests
of IIT, where my friends and I learnt so much about wildlife and the way nature works.
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