Hello, Punekar. No, don’t look around, it is indeed me. How can a river speak? Well, nature can do a lot if only the human is aware of his surroundings. I’m speaking because you can hear and same for the opposite, you can hear because I’ve finally starting to speak. Listen carefully, I might not have too much time. There’s a lot to say so I need your attention. Undivided, please.
Remember how I was once the royal water body? Of course, you might have been too young to remember those days. However, your parents were, they’ll know what I’m talking about. Ask them. I was once the pride of this city; bending and curving like an elegant and skilled dancer. Paving way through and despite everything. I always had a destination and you always had me. Both of these are about to change.
I’ve been watching you silently for a really long time, thinking that someday, just someday, you’ll realise the path you’ve taken. Dear Punekar, I’m speaking to the human in you now, not simply a resident. I’m not angry, I’m disappointed. Have I not given you everything I could? Have I not always been there, a relief for emergency, a source of life itself? Then why have you forsaken me, why this negligence? Do you even look at me now; do I exist for you? Are have you lost your way in the technological utopia?
Listen, look at me now. I’m dying and you’re the reason for my imminent demise. Yes, you, I’m going to single you out because unless I do that, you won’t be a part of the collective responsibility, an action.
I have been festering for a really long time and yes, you sometimes talk about me. With your friends or family, I come and go through passing comments. On the Internet and your textbooks, I’m still as important as always, and yet your actions prove otherwise. I’m your culture, your natural heritage, your metaphor for the rest of the country.
You have studied pollution for your entire school and college life and have ventured into adulthood without really understanding the reality of it. To call me polluted would be an insult; so insufficient, like calling a broken bone a bruise. You have done this, by not doing anything against it.
You’re educated, you walk through the elite, you are the elite. You drive past me and shake your head in dejection. Why do you not stop by? I know I’m not worth admiring anymore, but are you so afraid of taking a pause to look at me- will it throw you into the world of consequences?
I don’t expect you to walk to me, through me, and clean me. I’m too huge for one man, but Punekars have never realised this. What can you do now, you ask? Educate the ones who take me for granted. I’m a gift, not a right. The illiterate and poor don’t know the importance of keeping me alive; you do though, right? It’s not really their fault either, your government is the one shrugging this off.
You… you elected them. You got them this amount of power that they can conveniently slide through their responsibilities. When a few of you start an initiative, your government simply nods in approval. No support, no financial aid.
Yes, I’m old, but I know more than you can give me credit for. These cleanliness drives feel like a joke to you, don’t they? A few NGOs coming to my rescue isn’t enough you feel, and you’re right. So why aren’t you doing anything? Why do you simply shake your hands?
Get up. Look at me again, spend a minute by me. Understand how we are connected, you and me. If I die, you will too someday. This is the reality of ‘us’. Save me now, so I can keep saving you every day.