The “green man”

Chennai: It is no surprise that Adyar’s MV Murthy is called ‘Pasumai’ Murthy. For, the neighbourhood owes a major portion of its green cover to this 50-year-old. A resident of LMN Koil Street, Murthy has till date planted about 1,410 trees.

In his words, “Having been born and brought up in Adyar, I could not simply sit and watch the greenery disappear”’. But in 2000, he had to leave his home to work in Kuwait. After another few years of working in Dubai, he returned for good in 2012.

That is when he got the drive to do something. ‘Once, I saw school children getting down from buses in front of the Annai Veilankanni church in Besant Nagar. As soon as they de-boarded, they began running towards the shade, unable to bear the heat.

At around the same time, elderly persons who were taking shelter in the roadside stalls, were asked to move by the shopkeepers. All this had a lasting impact on me’, he recalls.

Subsequently, on 15 August 2013, he began planting trees as an initiative to bring back the lost ‘pasumai’.  “‘I mentally note down places in the neighbourhood, which lack greenery, and go ahead and plant a sapling’”, he says. He works on these trees on his own, and spends for the same from his pocket. Today, he is happy seeing women enjoying the shade of the trees and selling fresh flowers.

“‘I believe one person should plant and nurture one tree. There is no other way to save the earth. Even if you live in an apartment, plant on your way to school or office. Also, nurturing a tree is life-changing’”, he states.

Every day, from 5.30 to 7.45 am, he waters the trees he lovingly planted, by utilising two taps- one given by the government and another hand pump that he fixed. ‘All this takes 16 to 20 trips from my home to the respective location. Every week, I plant five to seven new saplings. I will continue doing this on my own, without any sponsors,’ he says. It may be noted that Murthy was recently conferred a doctorate of professional skills by the Academy of Universal Global Peace, USA.