We were vacating our hotel room in Thekkady. I’d double-checked that there was nothing left behind by way of toothbrush, mobile charger, etc. As my 12-year-old son and I walked out of the room, I said rhetorically, “I hope I’ve left nothing behind.” Pat came the reply, “Appa, all we’re leaving behind here are our footprints.”
I was taken aback at my son’s ready wit. He’s growing up fast!
A little later, we were in the car, whizzing out of the Periyar Tiger Sanctuary. The road was lined with educational messages, and one of them was “Leave only your footprints behind in the forest.” The message was loud and clear: No littering in the jungle.
And equally clearly, this was the source of my son’s inspiration. This is not to take away all the credit from him: he’d picked up the message, recognized its creativity, and transplanted it to a fresh context.
In fact, the KK (Kottayam-Kumily) road, which leads to Thekkady, was lined with catchy messages whose purpose was to sensitize drivers to safety issues. One read “Impatient on the road, in-patient in hospital.” And I loved the paradoxical “Accidents are not accidental.”
Let me close with a thought directed at motorists that I found on the wall of the Vallarpadam Container Terminal Project offices near the Vembanad Bridge: