Three Mango Trees and A Mistletoe
Panchami Manoo Ukil

As educators we have access to an entire universe of learning resources. The teaching-learning paradigm is constantly evolving, addressing the needs of trends in modern education, with technology playing the role of facilitator, enabling learning access to children in remotest corners.

While I endorse the mainstream learning dynamics, I’m deeply concerned about the deep disconnect of our children with their roots. It is this disconnect that is responsible for the lack of awareness and empathy for ecology and environment. As the earth sizzles and temperatures soar into the fifties, as storms and cyclones become more severe, we find ourselves at the most tempestuous crossroads, doomed in the wrath of climate change. It is horrifying as parents and educators, to even think of what it will be like a few decades later, when our children would be at the prime of their lives. This connect with roots, therefore, has to be ingrained in children so that they can atleast think of the consequences of carbon footprints and be inspired to do their bit for a healthy planet.

So, this World Environment Day, I decided to write a story for children. Writing stories and poems have been completely daunting for me. Yet, I have been brave enough to attempt this story as it has emerged straight out of my heart – as an educator, I believe that we must also have original stories to tell our students, away from the rant and ordinariness of syllabus and pedagogy.

“Three Mango Trees and a Mistletoe” is a story of love and loss, and, of hope towards a better future. I hope that children who read this story will imbibe the core and learn to harmonise their pulse with the throb of the earth.

This story excited my wonderful colleagues to the extent that they decided to add a visual dimension. Thank you Sukanya Rath for being editor, designer and for sharing my concern for the need to educate gen-Alpha, the largest cohort of citizens in human history, on the consequences of climate change on their future.

Plant Trees. There is no other way.

Panchami Manoo Ukil