Knock, Knock, Its June 5!

 SAMHITA BAROOAH

 The chirpy sparrow at the edge of the bamboo rooftop sighed, “Yet another year of plastic has passed. Wonder where did the worms hide? I am so hungry. The sun is also unusually strong. I am thirsty.” On a rainy evening I almost stamped on a toad croaking next to my door. The toad said, “Hey watch out, I am also alive. I don’t mean to scare you but your plastic bucket and slippers are scaring me.”

A flighty bee came buzzing last morning and sat on the flowers almost dying after the thundering showers which came untimely this year. The bee said, “Why are you not growing enough flowers for me to pollinate the fruits and flowers? It seems that we can no longer make our hives in the tall trees and high rock cliffs as they are all flattened and cut down by JCBs and big machinery. All we have are some plastic boxes which suffocates is so much. In some places we are jailed up inside netted herbariums with hybrid flowers.”

‘Thump, thump’ banged the cat on the tin roof of my tiny abode and meowed whole night crying for some water and food. The cat looked at me with a scorn and jumped over the plastic dustbin to look for some scrapes of leftover food. But everything was wrapped in plastic. The cat screamed at me, “Can’t you remove the plastic bags from the food?” I hear the crow gang roaring at me every day from the coconut tree branch and saying, “Why is it so hot? Why are you throwing plastic everywhere? Why are the taps drying up? Can’t you keep some water for us?”

While driving through the narrow lanes of Ganeshguri market, I heard the elephant whispering, “Can’t you lower the horn volume? The smoke from your vehicle is also so suffocating, I just can’t walk straight. I always feel dizzy. All fruit vendors feed me but I can’t stand the smell of medicated fruits. Somehow eat whatever comes my way as my owners cannot afford to feed me if I don’t walk through these noisy and filthy traffic jams.”

 Another cat came rushing through our gate and sat under the standing vehicle. The cat said, “It is too hot to sit in the sun. Even though I run the risk of getting hit by this box of tin (car), I have no other shade.”

Our neighbourhood pack of dogs came barking at the fish vendors. They wanted to taste some fish or meat but they couldn’t find any. The dogs lost their skin and children in the neighbourhood started throwing stones at them. Looking at their plight, I called up a stray dog helpline number and spoke to a vet. The vet said, “Madam you can buy some medicines from your nearby veterinary shop and apply the medicine to the affected dogs with skin problems. We can’t come for any rescue as our project priorities and veterinarians are busy with bird flu control.” The dogs scratched themselves ceaselessly and shouted at me, “Stop bothering about us, just keep applying your face-wash and sunscreen lotions to keep yourself safe from the sun and test the chemicals on us.”

Then the other day I went out walking near my neighbourhood and saw some cows and dogs digging the municipality dustbins. I took their pictures and they seemed to pose for the pictures and said, “Can’t you see we are having the only meal of the day in this filthy dustbin before it is cleared by those dirty GMC trucks? Do not disturb us by taking our pictures. You humans are so filthy your wastes are not tasty and useful like ours. Your plastics are just not chewable and give us nasty stomach problems.”

Just recently, while climbing steps I saw the red earthworm curling up like a coin. I took it out of the house and threw it in the garden. The earthworm said, “I kept crawling all around to find some fresh soil after a good rain but the sun was so hot and suddenly some plastic packet pushed me inside the house. As humans you all seem to have lost touch with soil. But we need our soil habitat otherwise how can we survive?”

Two owls in our neighbour’s roof took shelter under our neem tree last week. One of them almost lost its wings as some workers tried to catch the owl. It screamed at us and said, “Why can’t you all live and let live? Why do you have to show off your existence? Why is it that we birds have to live in constant fear of you humans? You seem to beat the heat and cold through plastic but does it help us? Your plastics have crippled us. I hurt my wings while flying through a plastic grill. Wish you found alternatives to plastic.”

No doubt it is June 5 and the eco-system around me seems to clamour, “Beat Plastic Pollution.” Thankfully, Dr. Do Little in me also is waking up to the grim reality of plastic use. Knock, Knock hope someone is listening.

Samhita Barooah

Samhita Barooah

Samhita Barooah is a Researcher and Travel Writer.