One weekend I received a package by courier. It was a tastefully packed wooden Cosmetic box with ‘Natural’ cosmetics guaranteed to make me look like Mother Earth er...I mean Miss Earth. The dainty bottles were laid on a bed of ‘specially made’ straw. There was a note inside which said that I had won these soul pampering goodies for the best "Letter to the Editor” mail I had sent to a women’s magazine god knows when. I gingerly placed the box and its contents on a table. I had visions of pampering my feet with the Eucalyptus Salts, washing my hair with the ‘gentle’ shampoo made from Himalayan Pine and then anointing my face with the Chamomile Cream. All guaranteed natural of course. I left for a friend’s house in the afternoon blissfully overlooking the fact that the house was jam packed with brats, side effects of cousins from the ’native’ staying with us.
When I came back in the evening, I saw my precious wooden box lying on the floor, with all the bottles broken and the house smelling a like a phenyl factory. The brats were of course stomping on the box and still running around. Clenching my teeth I took the remnants of the box and threw it into the trash bucket outside.
Fast forward one month: My maid delivers the news one morning that a squirrel’s nest had fallen off the tree. And inside the nest were a two baby squirrels still alive after the fall. She had picked them up to avoid my dogs from making a mid day snack of the tiny creatures. The babies looked cute and smelt like ……..Himalayan pine, Eucalyptus and Chamomile!!!!!!! Strange…. I smelt them again. It was definitely Himalayan pine, Chamomile and Eucalyptus. Now either I had a nasal abnormality or this creature’s Mommy had won a prize too from the same woman’s magazine. Then I remembered, that mommy squirrel had made her nest from the straw that was inside the cosmetic box. That explained the smell.
By afternoon the babies were looking sick and the vet was called in a hurry. He said that babies were showing all signs of toxic poisoning. And his surmise was that the now foul smelling babies had either fallen into a cauldron of toxic chemicals or had eaten some pesticides laced berries. He advised me to leave them be so that they could die in peace.
Fast-forward two weeks: The squirrels babies are now competing with the brats (still in the house) to break, smash and shake the house to its foundations. They definitely smell better. The Vet was surprised that they had survived and remarked facetiously that I had raised a bunch of rodents who were now resistant to toxic chemicals! He mournfully recounted his battles with new generation bacteria’s and viruses that were so chemical and antibiotic savvy that they could actually teach our poor laboring scientists a thing or two!
So, on this World Environment Day I dedicate this blog to all those creatures and germs who were lost to environmental pollution (the good ones) and to those who survived (the bad ones). And to the brats in my house who rescued me from an unnatural death / disfigurement by using the ‘Natural’ cosmetics that I had gotten as a prize for writing about Environmental Pollution (now I remember!).