The Miracle of The Elm (Guest Blog by Vithal C Nadkarni)

The miracle of the Elm in Mumbai by Vithal C Nadkarni and Introducing the Shubh Shakun Bird Kumbhasthali

A 100-year-old elm in our area got slaughtered by the authorities on the flimsiest pretext of its being a danger to public life and property. I heard about it after the event through our maid (it towered over a roadside vegetable market where she shops for our house). I sent her back to collect the seeds (locally called papdi), which I then planted a created scores of baby elms to be spread in the wild and among friends who have land…. Meanwhile, I also got two stout branches ferried through a rickshaw and planted them. This was in early March. They looked pretty dead and gone…but with ethno-botanical experience (I have a medal-winning college degree too) I knew better. I watered them day after day, sometimes twice…if I was travelling the next day and I spoke to them (in Konkani, which is my Mother tongue). I knew their wisdom lay deep and would only come fourth with excess of water and lo and behold…nearly three and a half months the miracle I was praying for happened! The centurion sprigs sprang back with emerald buds and leaves…

Here is the picture of the Good Omen bird, Bhardwaj (Greater Coucal) which has begun to nest in our garden in Mulund, which is packed with wild biodiversity