People’s Police: Kerala Schoolboy’s Tree Stolen, Rewarded With Saplings by Local Police


People’s Police: Kerala Schoolboy’s Tree Stolen, Rewarded With Saplings by Local Police

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, where bad news is even more omnipresent than masks and signs for social distancing, there are a few news stories that can bring a smile to readers’ faces. One such story comes from the Ernakulam district of Kerala, where one boy’s love for a tree growing in his yard evoked a sympathetic reaction from the state authorities. Pavan Nash, a 12-year-old schoolboy, had been tending to a gooseberry tree in his house’s yard for two years when he came home from school on Monday, August 24, to see that it had been chopped down and stolen by thieves.

Pavan was distraught, as it was a plant he had looked after for two years. He made a tearful call to Chiri, a tele-counselling initiative set up by the Kerala state government to protect the mental health of minors during the lockdown. Pavan’s call to the Chiri helpline set off a chain reaction, which led to officials from the Narakkal Police Station visiting Pavan’s home the next day, and they came bearing gifts. On directions from higher authorities, the local police arrived at Pavan’s home with nine new saplings, including tamarind and guava, as well as gooseberry saplings to replace the one he had lost.

Pavan’s love for his gooseberry tree brought him media attention, and won the hearts of internet users. But that wasn’t all he received from this fortunate twist of fate. A firm from Kochi came forward to gift Pavan’s family a CCTV camera for their yard, to prevent future thefts. The whole episode is a reminder that sometimes, good things happen to good people, and Pavan getting new saplings for his yard is a story with the same feel-good vibes as the one of six-year-old Derek Lalchhanhima from Mizoram, who was awarded by his school for attempting to resuscitate a dead chicken by taking it to the hospital last year.

While they may not make it to primetime news, stories like Pavan’s are the perfect tonic to an otherwise bleak media landscape.