Whenever Rakesh Khatri reminisces about his childhood in Chandni Chowk, the chirping of birds comes as a background score. The terrace of his house had multiple sparrow nests and every family member used to wake up to the sound of them.
When he moved to Delhi in the 1980s, when industrialisation and urbanisation were at their peak, he couldn’t spot any such nests.
The businessman-turned-environmentalist decided to build a few nests to bring back the cheerful birdsongs. His initial attempt with coconut husk and crumpled newspaper was a failure. But he tried again using bamboo sticks and installed the nests in various parts of his colony.
Everyone including those who used to make fun of him was surprised to see at least a group of four sparrows in each nest within a few days.
Rakesh was thrilled and continued the process. To date, this nature-lover has built over 2.5 lakhs of nests all over the country. Additionally, he has trained more than 10 lakh children to create such nests. He also teaches them about climate change and e-waste recycling.
Rakesh has been working in the field of environment conservation for the past two decades. “We need nature, nature doesn’t need us. If we wish to live here happily, we will have to work together with nature,” says the environmentalist.
He strongly believes that artificial nests can help birds sustain themselves in cities.