The old man had been unwell for more than a couple of days now. The fever wasn’t breaking. He wasn’t worried about himself though. He was worried about his garden. He’d newly planted Canna Lilies in them. They were Madam’s favourite. He would have instructed his helper how to care for them well but the helper was on leave. Either ways, he wasn’t too keen on his helper’s work.
This evening, he’d tried walking out to the garden but he barely managed to reach the door of his own room. The doctor had been called. He prescribed some medicines and assured it wasn’t anything to worry about. The old man chided the cook, “I told you so.”
It hadn’t rained for a week now. It was unusually hot. If it didn’t rain soon, his garden would start wilting. In a long time, he wished his helper was here. Or at least the rains were. Either wish seemed far from being realized.
His son was around the same age as his helper. Every time he saw his helper, it reminded him of his son; a reminder that wasn’t happy or heart-stopping, a reminder that was melancholic and heartbreaking. His son was a charm with plants, but didn’t see the charm in them. “I want to do something bigger,” he used to say.
But the old man didn’t know anything bigger. Sure enough, there were bigger businesses he knew about, like the one Sir and Madam were doing. But at the end of the day, even they would come and admire his work. “What was bigger then?”, he thought. Even after his son had started working in another city, he stayed back with Sir and Madam. They loved his work and he used to love working for them. They’d given him a place to stay in their servants quarters.
After the doctor left, he tried sitting up to look at what he could of his gardens. It was dim now post dusk and his feeble eyes didn’t help either. He spent his evening alternately watching the blades of the fan rotate and dozing.
Night fell early and in spite of having slept almost all day, he slept like a log through the night too. He awoke well after the Sun had risen. He was rolling in sweat and blankets. The fever had broken. He turned towards the window and there were drops of water clinging onto the grills of the window.
Hopeful, he went up to the window. It wasn’t an easy walk but far less painful than yesterday. Indeed, they were water droplets. As he stood in the pool of water below his window, his eyes saw moist and glistening grass outside his window. The flowers were gleaming and waving at him in the morning breeze. He was ecstatic. The God loved His work too!
“Dhananjay’s is a green taxi in every sense, and his crusade one of a kind. The 40-year-old drives an Ambassador with a bed of real grass on its roof, eight potted plants placed on the tray behind the rear seat and a green interior to go with his message to save the environment and take care of trees.
Such is his passion for the green cause that he has spent more than Rs 22,000, equivalent to what he earns after toiling for a month and a half, on creating the bed of grass on the roof of his taxi. The vehicle, which he has named Sabuj Rath (green chariot in Bengali), has been grabbing eyeballs since Dhananjay unveiled its new look a couple of weeks ago.
Dhananjay hasn’t stopped at turning his taxi into a green zone. He carries a sheaf of leaflets to give to passengers and anyone curious enough to strike up a conversation with him. The leaflets contain small poems and sketches by Dhananjay, all of them about the environment. The design for the leaflets are by a passenger who went on to become his friend.
Dhananjay has also decorated the taxi stand at Tollygunge Karunamoyee with flowerpots and regularly distributes seeds and saplings among passengers and passers-by who show interest.
He has a Facebook account called Bapi Green Taxi and his email ID is firstname.lastname@example.org, where passengers and well-wishers can write in with their suggestions.”
P.S. : Can anyone smell an entrepreneurial venture or is it just me? Contact me and we’ll discuss further! 😉