Urging people to be one with nature

Environmental cause

Verhaen Khanna thinks that probably you are feeling hotter than you should because you are used to living in your air conditioned rooms all the time. “So come out and try to sit under a large peepul tree to enjoy your summer afternoon and see if you feel all that hot,” urges Khanna.

Khanna and Anuj Wadhwa tell Metrolife how they conceptualised the idea of New Delhi Nature Festival (NDNF). There was no story, no great inspiration, except the fact that both were ‘jobless’.

Maybe the free time Khanna and Wadhwa had on their hands took them towards their as yet ‘untried goals’.NDNF is three years old and quite literally ‘greens’ the bonding and family ties the duo share. “We used to travel a lot and visit different hotels. Most of the time we didn’t realise we were being caught up in the vicious circle of commercialisation and urbanisation. How long could we continue like this,” says Wadhwa.
He left his home, rejecting his lavish lifestyle, to travel across India and explore its many facets. “People always wish to go abroad, they have no idea how beautiful our country is and that there is so much to see and learn from here,” he exclaims.

Recalling his visit to Kerala, where he experienced nature in its ‘truest’ form, he says, “People here (in Delhi) go for swimming in chlorinated pools and also pay for it. We have drained off so many natural rivers and streams from our country for creating an unhealthy environment.”

While travelling, Wadhwa learnt of ayurveda and alternate medicines, which are still being used in many remote areas of the country. “People don’t even know that the ‘pills’ we consume to get rid of our ‘illnesses’, just suppress it for the moment. To uproot the sickness you need to just keep a better lifestyle, where one practises yoga, and consumes the medicines which come directly from nature, rather than medicines which are manufactured in labs,” he Wadhwa says.

Nodding in agreement Khanna says most common illnesses affecting head, stomach, eyes and aches and pains can be relieved just by walking bare feet on the grass. “But we are just so accustomed to ‘popping’ pills; we want to get better as fast as possible,” Wadhwa added.

Their experiences added many elements to the Nature festival this year. During the three-day festival spread across T L R Cafe and Artszia in Hauz Khas Village, Khanna was able to bring together the youth and elderly to join his campaign to promote love for nature.

Artwork and photographs from small and big artists were on display and for each artwork sold, NDNF planted a tree. ‘Give me Trees’, a non-profit organisation by Swami Prem Parivartan known as ‘the man who planted trees’, supported the festival for the green cause along with Naturewise, an organisation working on urban gardening initiatives.
Talks by Dr Pritam Raj (a Vedic healer), film screenings (Baraka) and various other activities with live music went on from March 28 to 30. In the end, it was a rather big event for the newly-conceived NDNF.ceived NDNF.

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