In this fast-paced life driven by technology and latest apps, K Babu is a breath of fresh air. Clichéd as it may sound, this 54-year-old Union worker from Muttada is truly different. Greenery maintained at the roadside by Government-run agencies is a common sight in Thiruvananthapuram. However, a green roadside patch resplendent with flowers, tended and manually watered by a single person is not commonplace.
The sight of Babu carrying a bucket of water from the nearby tap and watering the plants is familiar to many who pass by the Paruthippara Junction in the morning. Even as a few stop for a moment to watch him curiously, he continues the first task in his morning routine without missing a beat. The heartfelt satisfaction of having turned an arid stretch to a beautiful green area surpasses any accolade or appreciation that may have come his way. On the few days he travels out of town during the daytime, he ensures that he is back at least by nightfall to take care of the plants.
Babu explained how the initial days were. "I got this idea and started the project with two plants around six years ago when the road widening happened. It was a struggle initially since there was no pipe connection nearby and I had to fetch water from a distance. Then I contributed a little money from my income to get materials for a pipe connection nearby. This made things much easier." The discouraging words of a few did not deter him from his path. There were a few others who encouraged him. After seeing Babu painstakingly struggling to trim the plants with a knife, a good Samaritan donated him a pair of shears. There has been no turning back ever since.
He ensures that the area is fertilised and replanted as and when required. He keeps the seedlings and donates it to people and nurseries who approach him. However, he declines money and prefers it as a service to society. With a few who become persistent, he half-heartedly relents to a cup of tea in return of tips to take care of the plants.
Babu is an ardent plant lover and has even been invited by a school to kick start their "Save the Environment" project by planting a few saplings along with the Principal. His passion for gardening is evident in his words. "I have a small garden at home also. It is such a beautiful feeling to see the plants grow and flowers bloom." The world is definitely a greener and better place with people like Babu.