"The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders." - Edward Abbey
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Breaking the Shackles

Being wildlife and nature enthusiast, my enthusiasm paid dividends by offering me an opportunity to be a professional in a field which I reckon is my passion. After 12 satisfactory years of ‘homework’ and self education in the forests, I was invited by the Serenity Trust of Ahmedabad to join them as a Naturalist. Serenity Trust, Ahmedabad, is an institution that encourages nature conservation as a whole and propagates the importance of flora and fauna amongst the school children and the youth. This ‘Garden of Eden’ is ideally located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city.

Often in a profession, it is challenging to shift, especially when one has stuck to his horns in a same profession since the inception of his professional carrier. Here I stood as one who had been nothing else but a Graphic Designer and an amateur conservationist who was now contemplating a carrier as a professional Naturalist. The transition to me was like looking down the gun barrel, unsure of what to expect. It took quite a while for me to realize that my spirit would be more at peace being a professional naturalist, rather being a designer, which I have been all my life. I drew solace from the fact that for a few years off late, the designer in me was forced to take a back seat, courtesy: my addiction towards conservation of nature.

Breaking the shackles I pinioned the claustrophobic dilemma bag and willfully decided to face an uncertain future that beckoned me and unsurprisingly the compass of my desire and wish pointed towards Ahmedabad. The scary thought of relocation blended with a wave of unexpected problems it would carry with it was soon subdued by the exhilarating thought in its full glory, the thought of my passion reinventing itself as my profession.

Day one at my office proved my optimism was a mature one as I stepped on the Serenity grounds to see the spectrum befitting its own self. It is a large area, thickly foliaged, stuffed with the lush green growth, a landscape that boasts of wide variety of flora and fauna, ranging from trees that sky rocket as high as 22 meters to tiny blades of grass in different shades carpeting the office gardens. There is a big pond north to the administrative complex which has paved walkways on its periphery that interlace each other and run through the thick out-growths. The scenic pond and the vicinity provide a perfect panoramic view from the high glass windows of the blocks.The land is rich in herbs, shrubs, plants, trees, flowers and fruits. The Serenity Estate boasts of a wide variety of birds and the cacophony is often added up by the calling of primates and ungulates within and around the estate.

My first day at office did not fall short of excitement as my inquisitive approach forced me to explore both the vicinity and the denizens of the estate. I identified no less than 28 species of birds, held a venomous cobra and a rat snake, and sighted a heard of blue-bulls, saw two monitor lizards, a hare and a porcupine. The flora is abundant and is diversified boasting of both the native and foreign species. Every different species of tree and plant has been adorned with a 3 feet high sandstone block which holds a granite plate with engraved information of the particular flora species on it.

Serenity administrative complex is a ‘state of the art’ building designed by a French Architect. It has huge airy rooms which are well ventilated with high glass windows all around with sloped roves elevated by high columns and insulated by teak wood inside. The complex is surrounded all around by a well maintained landscaped garden. My office block is housed on the southern end of the complex with a glass wall on my back, facing east, through which the landscaped garden presents an awesome view. To the north-east of my office is the cafeteria block. Walking through the open walkway towards the north is the multimedia room with a huge screen and a collection boasting of wildlife and nature documentaries, movies and educational shows. Further north across the canal that interlaces the complex is a big library which has an enormous collection of books on flora & fauna magazines, photography guides etc. The reading area is surrounded by tall glass windows that entices dilemma to a reader to choose between reading a book on nature and wildlife or to adore the view through the glass. When in the library surrounded by books and magazines on nature and wildlife, I am overwhelmed with the thought of being in Tutankhamen’s tomb with a lamp in hand and rays of shimmering shining gold reflecting back at me.

Re-locations and switching professions can often dishearten one and prove to be painful, but evidently here, I am the black sheep who smiles on his good fortune. My passion for nature and wildlife has paid back after years of hard work and toil. I am glad to be where I am today and my enthusiasm for the nature is bound to grow stronger from here onwards,,,,,, stronger than before.


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