Hariyali ki taraf rasta!

  • Forests are the renewable sources of nature
  • They are home to living creatures,
  • They contribute in maintaining biodiversity
  • They regulate the climate
  • They provide industrial timber and fuel,
  • They prevent and mitigate sudden freshets that lead to flooding

Afforestation is a proven method which contributes to environmental conservation, less-polluted industrial development and healthy community activation!!

Hariyali in Thane (near Mumbai), is one of the rare organisations in India which takes up this activity!

In 2008, we formed a Go Green committee at work. This committee consisted of members who were passionate about the environment & wanted to do something about conserving the same.

Initially we started sending emails about awareness & also arranged a small presentation. However, we wanted to do more! One of the members of the committee came across this NGO Hariyali. The chief founders of this NGO are Senior Citizens who were passionate just like us about environment but are actively involved in making this planet a little more greener.

Apart from other activities, they were also involved in Afforestation of an area in Bhavale, near Thane Nasik Highway. We planned to check it out one Saturday. The plantation activity was being done by NSS students & other corporate employees. We were amazed at the enthusiasm of the founders. Their agility in climbing up the hill ashamed us & made us realize how unfit we were.

We started with the plantation work after a short briefing. The Saplings had to be carried to the top of the hill, where they would be planted. At the end of the task, we were satisfied & decided to involve more colleagues in to this activity.

Initial Planter

Saplings being planted


Pilot Batch

The Proud Pilot Batch!

Since then, every year we manage to go there once. The plantation is done in monsoon, it drizzles most of the time & this activity became fun for all of us!

Planting saplings is not enough. We also need to protect the plants & see to it that they are growing properly. We also need water conservation so that plants donโ€™t wilt during summers. Constructing bunds, ponds, etc is a part of the post plantation activity.

This year, post the tree plantation activity, we came to know about the hurdles the NGO is facing, especially shortage of volunteers & we decided to contribute more than once a year.

In the second visit of the year, we helped in digging up a pond & some of the members were also involved in creating saplings & sowing seeds. 15 Saplings were made by 6 year old daughter of a colleague! Catching them young, we are ๐Ÿ˜‰

Weed Uprooters

Uprooting Weed

Pond Diggers

Digging Pond!

Seeds N Saplings

Sowing seeds & managing saplings!


All this is due to encouragement of our senior management. Without their support, it wouldnโ€™t have been possible to sustain this activity for so many years.

After 6 years, the place has metamorphosed from a barren land to lush forest. We also feel proud that the forest contains some of the trees planted by us. Just like we are enjoying fruits of someone elseโ€™s labour, someone else will be enjoying fruits of our labour. It also feels great to give something back to nature!

Barren Land

In 2008 – The land was almost barren!

Lush Forest

In 2014 – It’s a lush forest!

My Tryst at the Passport Office!

Couple of years back, we had an opportunity to travel abroad (a possibility). Most of our team members did not have passports! I took it upon myself to get the team apply for passports. My bestestย friend Jayant Khona not only guided me on how to apply, he also wrote a blog post about it. I shared the procedure with my team & I myself thought to get it done via agent. The form was filled, document collated, however, due to some reason, the procedure was not followed till end. As I write this, I recall I wanted a good picture for passport & was waiting for a haircut for the same. ๐Ÿ˜›

This year I made a resolution to apply for passport. Half way through the year, while taking stock of the resolution, I realised I hadn’t applied for the passport yet! This was remedied instantly & I applied it online. Applying for passport online is very simple. Except, if you make any error, you have to start afresh. Fill up the online form, make payment & schedule appointment. There is also an option of uploading documents, however, I didn’t follow that. It is not required as such. I had applied on 21st July & I got appointment for 4th September! What a long wait!

As fate would have it, our client decided to visit India on 3rd 4th & 5th September. I didn’t want to reschedule my appointment as I wasn’t sure what date would be allotted to me next. I stated my predicament to my boss & thanks to him, I could adhere to my appointment without any worries. My appointment time was 2 O’Clock & I was instructed to report half an hour earlier. My centre was in Thane, extended part of Mumbai, not technically though. After an hour of travelling, stopping in between for 15 minutes for a quick meal, I reached the passport office. The queue was not very huge. As per the comments I overheard, it was a slow day. After a while the security announced our appointment time & marked the application form. (Thank God I had taken a print of that!) Then it was turn for Security Check. I had taken a bottle of water as per experts advice, however the security guard told me to empty the bottle & then take it inside.. I didn’t want to waste the water. I drank it all, to much amusement of the security guard ๐Ÿ™‚

I entered the office & it seemed quite empty. I thought my task would be over in a jiffy. The first two steps, the initial verification of the documents & allotting token number & taking photographs & fingerprint is outsourced to TCS. These guys are superfast. Even though one guy was chit chatting, his colleague asked him to allot me token number first. And then I had to go to Counter No. A 22. I didn’t realise that they would be taking photograph directly. I hadn’t freshened up (Was sweating a lot due to humidity & nervousness) & neither had got chance to apply compact & lipstick (I had moved out of office quickly after meet with client & didn’t have time to do this in office). The resulting photograph was not to my liking. Only consolation was that the pic was better than the one in the Aadhar Card. Thank god for small mercies ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Ladies, there is a tip in here)

After this round I had to go for document verification. My number was 162 & when I entered the waiting area, the screen was blinking at 105. There are not many seats available so be prepared to stand for some time. Also, please don’t bring someone with you unless absolutely necessary, specially kids. They eat up the seating area / create a nuisance by running around. After sometime I did manage to get one seat & I also helped another girl to get a seat, who was kind enough to ask me if I required anything, when she went to get something to munch on. The waiting time is such that you can easily befriend someone ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had twitter so no problem of getting bored.

Finally it was my turn and after a minor glitch (my dad’s name on birth certificate is slightly different coz the way they write names in North India & is different in my school certificates) The TCS person (very pretty & efficient girl) had said that name will be as per birth certificate whereas the passport officer said it should be as per school certificate. That got sorted in a jiffy too.

Then another wait for the last round. I was very sleepy & thirsty by then so headed at the refreshment counter. Cappuccino @ 30 Rs sounded good enough (though did not taste good) I threw half of the coffee in the bin & just had water.

After considerable time the documents were verified the second time & then got my application confirmation letter & moved towards the exit. Said thanks to God for getting this through without any incidents ๐Ÿ˜‰

So to summarize:

1. The security will get you in as per the batch you are in.

2. You will be allotted a token number.

3. Your file will be prepared, photograph will be taken & fingerprints too!

4. Your documents will be verified by the passport officer.

5. Your documents will be verified by another passport officer.

6. You will get an application confirmation & you can go home.

The entire procedure doesn’t take more than half an hour. To complete that half hour procedure took me 4 hours though ๐Ÿ™‚

It is not as scary or complicated as people would tell you. All your documents must be in place. That’s it! So what are you waiting for?? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.: Ooh & the icing on the cake was my boss asked me to go home instead of coming back to office & also I enjoyed getting drenched in the rain as it started raining heavily on my way home ๐Ÿ™‚