Gift a tree this Diwali

Merely a few days before Diwali when expensive gifts are exchanging hands, only a handful of us would have given a flicker of thought to mother nature.

Defying the centuries’ old custom of gifting sweets and silver coins, Gurgaon-based Gift A Tree Network, is promulgating the concept of gifting trees and saplings in their noble quest of saving environment in wake of the festival of lights.

The unprecedented movement is spearheaded by Deepak Gaur, a 35-year-old former advertising professional who approached former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in July to spread the message of ‘gift a tree’. “I requested Kalam saab to gift us a mango tree which we used as a guiding light to be spread all across. We gifted the replica of that plant to our near and dear ones. Till date, our network has gifted 1,073 trees to people from all walks of life,” said Gaur.

While explaining the distinction of green gifts, he tells Metrolife that you gift a life while gifting a tree. “Trees epitomise a truly selfless service to the world. Even if you cut its 99 per cent of leaves and branches, its last remains will continue to do their bit for humanity by giving out oxygen. On top of it, trees serve everyone around them by offering shade, fruits and oxygen and not only to the one who plants it,” he said.

Being a patient of a peculiar kind of neurological disorder, Deepak Gaur doesn’t remember a lot of important details including his qualifications. However, he particularly remembers, that he always loved nature and used to do his bit for environment by planting trees when he was healthy prior to the dreadful day of March 30, 2010 when his bike was smashed by a rashly-driven car near Qutab Minar in South Delhi.  

Though his chances of survival are very slim even after surgery, which is slated for post-Diwali, he wants to be remembered for his contribution to the environment after he leaves the world and his entire life, which he nurtured in past three decades.  

The endeavour took root when a lot of like-minded people came together and supported Gaur. Some of them include Janice Darbari, an author; Alka Lamba, chairperson of Go India Foundation; G Geetha Krishnan, a senior doctor in Medanta Medicity and Dr Seema Midha, world-renowned tarot card reader among others.

Not only individuals, some environment groups and NGOs have also embraced Gaur’s idea. Mukesh Kwatra-run Smiling Tree, a Delhi-based environmental organisation, is following into Gaur’s footsteps by committing to gift 500 trees this Diwali, to be followed by many more during Christmas and New Year. “Instead of splurging money on dead flowers in the form of bouquets, we must gift trees to plant new lives,” said Kwatra.

Despite many no-nonsense medical professionals claiming that Gaur will not survive for long, he seems unfazed. “Dr Kalam sang a couplet of motivational poem for me when I met him for the first time. Every time I feel disheartened I recall those lines – God is with me, he is always with me...” he trails off.

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