Day 11 & 12
The blistering pace that we set marching towards Coimbatore having taken its toll on us, Day 11 proved to be a relatively subdued day. It was a time to take stock, recuperate and plan the route ahead. Though we rested our weary feet, there could be no rest, however, to meeting fascinating people doing their bit to support Fair Trade and Social Justice.
We set out and reached the Forest Academic Centre. A place of such old world charm that it seemingly transports you to a century ago. The chief met us and shared his experience of forests and their management. The preservation of the forest goes hand in hand with engaging the community that lives in them, he explained. Once again, demonstrating that people may create problems but they are also the most powerful solution to those problems.
I addressed a group of 35 Forest Rangers, all resplendent in uniform and saluting firmly – a bit serious, but I lightened the mood with a few jokes and got them to laugh. Most importantly, spread the message of our journey to more avid ears.
A successful Day 11 was rounded off by the heartwarming news that Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project have agreed to showcase my walk on their website.
Day 12 began with a bang – Radio Mirchi, an FM station very popular with young people, where we had a fantastic recording session which will be broadcast in the evening. I was asked by the host about where I get my energy and my unbridled enthusiasm from. The answer is simple: YOU! One small message, one little demonstration of solidarity and I could walk a million more miles! I am also lucky to have a tireless walking companion in Natesa, who keeps my spirits high, day in and day out, in rain or shine.
Taking in the breathtaking scenery and the mountain vistas around us, we completed 30 kms to reach the Isha Yoga Centre set at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, an oasis of promise, hope and great potential. Finished a great day of walking by meeting up with brother Anand, who is doing some fantastic work on organic zero waste farming along with Isha’s 11 years of afforestation work spanning the whole of Tamil Nadu. Humungous work with wide ranging lessons – awe inspiring!
Edited by : Shyam Pushpanath and Nisha Sundar