A Small Trek on Tukai Tekadi

 “Empty can वापस आने दो !!”

A man was shouting on the megaphone. A couple of hundred people had formed 2-3 different human chains in various directions and the cans filled with water were getting passed along. The crowd had kids from age 6 to adults who are approaching their second childhood.

The occasion was the community event organized by my son’s school - “DLRC - DriveChange Learning And Resource Center”. As the normal school opened this week, the school jumped on to the opportunity to take the kids and the parents out to an outing, but with a purpose - Tree plantation and watering the plants on the hill.

“Vasundhara Abhiyan” is an ENGO (Environment NGO) working towards tree plantation and conservation. The Baner chapter has started work on Tukai Hill and has planted more that 25000 native plants. With the help of volunteers from this ENGO, DLRC planned the community event to contribute to this noble cause. And hundreds of us reached the base of the hill at 6:30 in the morning on Fri last week. Even though it was a working day, I could witness several parents also joining in, including myself. Initially I was planning only to drop Mrunmay at the base and then return to take care of regular house chores. However, decided to do the otherwise and joined the club of these parents. And I was glad I did.

The path to the top of the hill is a narrow road, made primarily of man made steps and some natural slope. It took us about 20 minutes to complete the climb as not everyone was accustomed to climb a hill and we had very small kids in the group as well. 

As we reached the top, the volunteers were ready with the plan. One of them instructed the crowd what needs to be done over a megaphone. However, the folks at the back could barely hear. All of a sudden the crowd moved towards a small open water tank nearby. There were several empty cans kept next to the tank. There was a continuous flow of water coming through a pipe and few folks started filling the cans with the water. 

It was obvious that the setup was meant to water the plants. At first, I felt it was most unorganised way of watering the plants. Soon, I realized that it was meant for a group activity and not for a single person. People formed 3 or 4 lines in different directions and cans started getting passed along. Few enthusiasts had reached to the end of the line and had started watering the plants and rest of the folks were happy being the carriers. And soon we started hearing the order:

 “Empty can वापस आने दो !!”

The cans those were taken to the end were not coming back and the lead volunteer started saying it through megaphone. Suddenly some people appeared with long sticks and soon cans started appearing on those sticks. Kids found fun in collecting these cans and returning them to the base i.e. water tank. Now the water distribution was streamlined and the hands were moving swiftly for passing the can to the next person.


While the “passing the parcel” game was on, kids rather “Young adults”, were engaged in their own conversations. The conversations from pulling each others’ legs to appreciating someone scoring all straight A*.

After almost 90 mins of the work, we gathered at another part of the hill. We were hoping to do some plantation there, but the volunteers told that since there is not enough rain yet, it would be wasteful to plant a tree. Except for this small disappointment, the whole event turned out to be a good fun, a change from normal routine work and as expected, tiring!! 

The hill gave a good view of the Baner area to a large extent and the clear blue skies. It was almost 9 and time to return home to get back to the work and other routine stuff. But couldn’t stop myself from taking this selfie with Mrunmay as a memory of this short trek!!


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