Lining up the trees for the St Joseph Home's Residents

Tree planting by Inner Wheel Club Kolkata Metro Maidan

Old people can be fussy. They don't enjoy loud music, they don't like people shouting, and they positively detest traffic horns and loud Diwali crackers. Actually, traffic sounds and Diwali rackers can cause hearing problems among the healthiest of us.

Neetu Bajaj, Rachna Virmani, Madhu Agarwal, Rachna Agawal and members of Inner Wheel Club Metro Maidan Kolkata planring Ashoka Trees on Earth Day 2015

For the 124 residents of St Joseph's Home for the Aged, however, things are bound to get quieter and peaceful. And no one deserves it more. These old man and women aged 65 to 92 live in one of the busiest areas of Kolkata, and also the noisiest. Traffic sounds occur in their dreams and the honking cars have become a part of their existence. 

A dense wall of Polyalthia Longifolia will help prevent sound and air pollution at St Jospehs Old Age Home Kolkata
Until now, that is. To mark Earth Day, seven ladies from the INNER WHEEL CLUB Metro Maidan, through Sustainable Green Initiative, planted 65 Ashoka trees as a way of drowning out noise pollution for the residents. The "live" wall of these Devadaru trees as they are called in Bengal, will grow up to 25 feet high, thus dulling the sounds and also making the air cleaner. The ladies accompanied by three children visited the home bright and early on 26th April 2015, and got down to business. 

The fruit trees at Mulvany House was also planted by this dedicated team from Inner Wheel Club Metro Maidan, led by Neetu Bajaj.

SGI will look after these tree saplings for the next two years to ensure they grow nice and healthy. We also plan to have 300 more trees, which includes lots of fruit trees, too. The residents are asking for a number of soft on the dentures papaya and banana trees. Fussy, like we said. 

The perfect place to plant fruit trees

Fruit trees that will feed and nourish young girls at SPCI, Kolkata

Winters left Kolkata earlier than usual this year. Thus, February 8 was a sweaty day for those who took part in Sustainable Green Initiative’s planting drive at the Society for Protection of Children in India at Joka, near the Indian Institute of Management (IIMC), Kolkata (SPCI) in West Bengal, India. 

The bananas that will nurture young girls at SPCI, Kolkata, ready for planting.

Of the 425 fruits trees – guava, mango, papaya, lemon, banana, pomegranate and 25 sal trees for timber in the future, 250 tree saplings were planted at the home and orphanage for girls at Joka that day. The rest were planted on the 9th and 10th of February 2015. 

400 of these fruit trees have been planted by SGI on behalf of Mr Mahendra Khaitan of Wires & Fabriks SA Ltd., and Philipp Schoeller & Sara Schoeller and Delphine Raizner & Walter Raizner.  SGI will nurture the trees for a period of  two years to ensure survival and fruiting.

Murli's father K K Khemka and children Pushti and Kapish
Three generations planting together. Murli Khemka with his father K K Khemka and children

No one was complaining, however. The parents were happy the kids had a good time planting fruit tree saplings and getting a feel of the soil. After all, how many opportunities do our children get to play in mud when we live in houses with marbled floors with just a few potted plants in the balconies? 

A favourite fruit of all children, Pushti and Kapish Khemka planted over 50 banana saplings withSharanya

The children couldn’t have asked for more as they unpacked the sapling from its plastic cover, lowered it gently into the ground andpatted the roots down with soil. None of them once complained as they watered the planted saplings with the smelly jeevamrut.

Subash Palekar the exponent who has single handedly revolutionised and propogated Zero Budget Natural Farming
Jeevamrut helps nourish  and rejuvenate the soil. Not just fertilise the plants.

Pia, who is the deputy superintend of SPCI and is called Pia didi by everyone, was happy to hear that the banana and papaya saplings will bear fruit in the coming 9-12 months. The girls living in SPCI were excited to see so much activity in their home and were happy to make new friends. 
Children playing football at SPCI, a girls orphanage in Kolkata, India

As evening fell, it was also time for play – most girls kicked up a storm playing barefoot football, while others practised dance moves from the latest Bollywood hit song. 

Bhai, the home’s oldest dog, enjoyed all the patting and cuddling from visiting children and their parents. The younger pups were just happy to run after them. 

There can’t be a better place to plant fruit trees, can it?