- Sir! How are you?
- I’m Fine, what about you?
Instead of answering my question the little boy started talking without taking a breath…
Can’t you recognize me? I’m Sudeep! We met in when you were here for the Motherlike Sundarbans campaign. When will it happen again?
At that point I remembered the boy’s face. Several months ago we had visited this area for the 'Sundarban Mayer Moton' (Motherlike Sundarbans) community campaign. We showed audiovisuals about the Sundarbans in market places and asked the audience questions on them. This boy was the same Sudeep who raised his hands to answer questions during the quiz sessions time after time whether he knew the right answer or not. Finally he answered correctly and grabbed a prize at the end. His determination stayed with me through all these months.
I hugged the little boy, and asked him what he had been up to, and Sudeep was pleased that I had remembered his joyful face from so long ago.
Sudeep was a student of class 4 in the Malgazi primary School, Chandpai. I was there that day to take pictures of a wall painting WildTeam did in hundreds of Sundarbans schools. The paintings were bright and full of friendly animals, quite popular among the kids there.
Sudeep took me to the painting and told me that he had hand drawn another picture just like this one. When I wanted to see it, he ran out and got it for me. The picture amazed me; it was exactly the same as our painting. Sudeep definitely had wonderful skills even at such an early age.
Sudeep told me that he loved the painting so much that he simply had to do one for his own. With a wide grin on his face he said that the forest would thrive if we protected the animals living in it. He loved wild animals and the painting had almost flown naturally from his fingertips. In his simple way, with complete faith, he said that Sundarbans was just as nurturing as his mother.
His simple words almost brought tears to my eyes. It's little moments like this that we hoped to achieve through the campaign. Someday soon, thousands of Sudeeps would come forward and our mother Sundarbans would truly be safe.