It was a poor show, if you went by the turnout. But then OMR Greens is no mass movement. And numbers don't change people's mindset, about how they view their environment. In OMR , emerging urban communities co-exist with panchayat townships. Both need a mindset change to be able to cope with growing problems relating to waste management, sewage disposal, conservation of drinking water sources, compensating for the loss of green cover, and for the carbon emission generated by cars, AC units, and freezers used by people living in high-rises.
OMR Greens reach out to all sections - high-rise communities, old-time residents, panchayat bodies, neighbourhood institutions (Hindustan University) and neighbourhood corporates - to explore possibilities, experiment a cluster approach to waste-to-energy conversion, sewage disposal, tapping solar and wind energy, increasing the green cover.
Padur Walk was meant to create awareness, which, we found, isn't a one-way street. A 'walk' with placards was to spread the word about the green agenda. For OMR green members the walk provided an opportunity to get a sense of their neighbourhood ground realities. Rajaram who moved to Mantri's many months back said he didn't know there was so much more to Padur than a stretch of shops on OMR.
At OMR Greens we had this young couple with their 3-year old Sumshita taking part on the Padur Walk. Rajesh Kanna and wife Mohana Priya, with baby daughter in arms, had biked their way from Perumbakkam to join us at Padur.
When our new-found friend Suresh Kumar from Kelambakkam had mentioned that some of his friends wanted to bring their wife and children along for the Walk, I thought he was putting me on. The appearance of the Kannas for our Walk, all the way from their place beyond Sholinganallur, wasn't the only surprise Suresh Kumar had for us.
Producing placards for our events has been an issue for OMR Greens. An Awarness walk without placards is like soda without scotch. and Suresh Kumar came to our rescue. He showed up with a shopping bag full of cardboard placards.
As it turned out, we had more placards than walkers. The first-time participants at an OMR Greens event outnumbered the regulars this time. We made up a double-digit number - four car loads, to be precise - for our field trip to the waste-to-energy conversion plant at Mamallapuram,
Notable among the Kelambakkam participants, for our Padur Walk were Stalin, and Sudhanshu Shekar who turned up for the walk with his father and elder brother, who is on the staff of Hindustan University. The Shekars, native of Patna, have made Kelambakkam.their home. The family runs a paper products unit that makes paper bags, plates and cups.
A highlight of the walk came at the end when we had a brief, but meaningful, interaction on OMR Greens agenda with Padur panchayat president, Mr M Chinnakutty, at his residence.
OMR Greens on YouTube