Rivers were once sacred; myths spouted from their waters, rituals from birth to death were woven in their fabric, and the promise of convenient irrigation and abundant life teeming in its body became the reason for people settling down on its banks. This relationship has undergone a change: today, a river is viewed as little more than a ‘resource’ and in many cases, a dumping ground for industries along its banks.
What are we doing to our rivers, symbolic of fresh water and swarming life?
What do we consider sacred? How do we value it? Can we look at a thing for what it is? Can political will be reasoned with? These are some of the fundamental questions explored in ‘Taking Root: Vision of Wangaari Maathai’. The one hour twenty minute documentary depicts the evolution of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, from the days of struggle of its iconic founder and its transition into a source of strength for the people of the country through the seemingly simple act of planting trees.
Artist, anti-nuclear activist and puppeteer Shyamali Khastgir feels art is a means to understand interconnections, and in this age of machines, an opportunity to create with our hands….
“I would like to say to the diligent reader of my writings and to others who are interested in them that I am not at all concerned with appearing to be consistent. In my search for Truth, I have discarded many ideas and learnt many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh.
In recent years, there has been a serious disconnect between the consumer and the farmer. By the time we finally consume food, not only has it travelled a lot from the plot to the plate, but it has also undergone so many modifications that what we finally get is a mere ‘product’. Many of us would have hardly met or chatted with someone who grows our food; much less visited their farms and understood what it takes to grow food.
My eyes were slowly adjusting to the morning brightness when a shape emerged out of the nearest tree. The creature moved sensuously in its descent, one clawed foot at a time, an elegant slow motion- very much like a panther on the prowl. Eyes half-closed, almost meditative, it didn’t seem to be in a hurry. It inched towards a brown leaf, effortlessly gliding from tree trunk to the precarious stem of an adjoining plant. It was undoubtedly the biggest chameleon I’d ever seen. Only last evening, a baby snake, black with yellow markings, had slithered across my path on my way to the stream.