You don’t know me yet, but I have already begun to know you. Your beautiful mosaic of skin tones and languages blanketed my childhood. Your vivid golden sands, your rugged snow peaks, your lush green forests — they formed the canvass of my dreams. You gave me constant companionship in the darkness with your billions of pinprick stars. Indeed, you have given me so much that I was filled with a desire to give back to you.
My love for nature came naturally to me (pun 100% intended), and indeed, this should be natural for everyone. It is a mark of how disjointed we have become from our roots, that nature is seen as the ‘other,’ useless and unprofitable. Aesthetic and existence value pale in comparison to the needs and wants of society, and nature always pays the price for human greed. Deforestation, mining, diversion of freshwater resources, and wildlife poaching are only some of the manifestations of this greed. However, there is still hope for nature, sometimes in the least likely places. I was born in Mumbai, the City that Never Sleeps. It is also known as the commercial capital of India. Yet even within this megacity, nature is not forgotten. Pockets of the wild still remain, tenaciously pervading the thoughts of local residents. An example — Sanjay Gandhi National Park, on the northern edge of the city, by my grandmother’s house. 41 leopards live in this park, and mingle freely with the denizens of the city, as much at home in the bustling metropolis as in the dense jungles. Adaptable and wily, these leopards match Mumbaikars in their ability to survive and thrive in the harsh realities of the metro. Adaptation is key to survival, no matter where we live. This, and a healthy dose of good spirits.
My mother taught me to love nature from childhood, starting my education with animal names and sounds. She took me to nature centres and allowed me to handle wildlife. Her constant mantra of respect for all living creatures was instrumental in my love for the wild. Thus began my passion for conservation and ecology. This blog is, in large part, dedicated to my mother, as thanks for all that she has contributed to my love for nature and to my outlook on life more generally. Throughout raising me, she allowed me to embrace the wild reaches of my soul. And wild I am, even today. I have the song of the hot desert wind in my breath, the pearly delicacy of the first monsoon cloudburst in my tears, and the poetry of a thousand great rivers in my blood.
Nature is my temple and my god, and this blog is an opportunity for me to share both ecology and works of writing with a larger audience. I hope to touch the souls of those who too thirst for their wild side, but are unable to find it. There is a wildness in us all waiting to be unleashed. Whether it be through dreams or through poetry, or through the simple actions of daily life, I hope you find your wild side and embrace all that is natural and simple in this world.