Top soil treatment

When my daughter and I got digging holes to plant saplings, in our humble efforts to add to the greenery around us, we unearthed many unpleasant things, not just unsuitable for but also detrimental to the growth of plants. There were plastic shreds, cigarette butts, an empty matchbox, and shards of glass bottles, amongst others, which we had to painstakingly remove and discard far away, before planting the saplings in the pits.

That’s when I realised that mere planting of saplings or even watering them would not work, unless the overall soil conditions were conducive to their growth. Soon after we finished with our planting, many passersby advised us to add manure and good amount of water to encourage faster growth. They were unaware of the volume of unwanted stuff we had to do away with initially.

Each time I pass by the plants that have now grown into young trees, I wonder how the situation is similar to matters in life. Many times, we try to treat the symptoms not the underlying causes. We see and treat only the top soil, forgetting what could lie beneath. 

Sadly, the current trends in our society encourage superficial treatment rather than handling matters at the root level. People resort to tablets to get sleep instead of tackling the stress that keeps them awake in the first place. I remember an advertisement which advises students — or rather persuades them — to use a particular pen for good handwriting, totally forgetting the role of writing practice by the student. 

Whether it is the recent decision by authorities to raid hapless roadside vendors who use plastic covers instead of penalising manufacturers of single use plastic, or trying to solve the problem of dog attacks by mass culling of homeless dogs instead of looking to responsible garbage management in the city, it is top soil treatment everywhere around us.

All of a sudden, almost everyone seems to be in a tearing hurry to find solutions without having to invest the time or effort into getting to the root cause and working upwards for long lasting solutions or answers to any problem. But let’s remember that quick fix solutions work only for a short time, if at all. If desired results are to be sustained for a long time, then undiluted focus and consistent efforts are essential towards all aspects and at all stages of a task.

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