Rastaa Chaap: the eco-initiative Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna are rooting for! Advertisement

Rastaa Chaap: the eco-initiative Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna are rooting for!

More than green thumbs

By Pratika Yashaswi  June 7th, 2016

Dead trees are ubiquitous in Mumbai: the sordid climate and negligence are to blame. They make for a gloomy, apocalypse-ey sight – but not in Juhu, where a group of citizens have decided to turn the barks and stumps into an arboreal gallery of bright, vibrant art. For Rs 5,000 per canvas, Rastaa Chaap readies a tree by de-barking, cleaning, sandpapering and laying primer for artists to come and paint them. And the results are just such a beautiful, interesting form of street art. (You should check out the wonders on Indian walls everywhere.)

“(If) the dead trees are razed to the ground, very soon we will forget that a tree ever existed there,” urges the collective, on its Facebook page. This is a way of gently nudging public consciousness towards an important environmental issue: trees in the city are not cared for enough. And, they’ve fairly succeeded. The initiative has made quite the splash with students, homemakers and working professionals putting their artistry on trees in Juhu. The most prominent of Rastaa Chaap’s supporters are our own favourite, Twinkle Khanna (She is just so hilarious off the page, too) and her husband, Akshay Kumar.

Rastaa Chaap’s vision doesn’t just stop at the aesthetics. Their vision goes beyond raising awareness about the loss of trees: they de-choke the trees that have been given no breathing room, as well as offer to help plant trees in spots that have the space.

They’ve been active and continuous since May last year and have enjoyed the support of the Bombay Municipal Corporation from the beginning. Their latest initiative, Project Hariyali, a collaboration with the Juhu Scheme Residents Association (JSRA) and the BMC, kicked off the 2nd phase of their tree plantation drive at Juhu on World Environment Day early June.

The first phase is complete, with 45 trees at the Coastal garden near Juhu Centaur. The second phase will see 118 trees across Juhu Vile Parle Development’s jurisdiction. To ensure a high survival rate for the trees, the collective prefers to plant indigenous species which are at least six feet in height on BMC-approved spots. Species such as the Neem, Badam, Lagerstroemia, Kadam, and the Indian Laburnum have been chosen together with the Garden Department of the BMC.  Over and above this, individuals take responsibility of caring for a tree each. “They make sure it’s cared for and watered and does what needs to be done at the grassroots level,” says Sherley Singh, a Juhu resident and a key managerial part of Rastaa Chaap.

If you’re interested in contributing to any of their initiatives, or are a Juhu resident interested in being a plant parent they’re quite responsive on their page on Facebook.

Hey fashionista, graffiti and fashion come together in this video with our March covergirl, Sayani Gupta. We know you’ll love it.