Most of the people walking or running in Bengaluru’s Cubbon Park are listening—to audiobooks or music on pods, to another voice at the other end of a phone, or worst of all, playing their music loudly for everyone to hear. What they are usually not listening to is the sound of the birds, the wind, the leaves—just nature. Unplugging and listening while being outdoors adds a whole other layer to the way you enjoy your morning (or evening) walk. Or as environmental writer and photographer Arati Kumar-Rao puts it, “To listen is to step into a fourth dimension of the world around us.”
Kumar-Rao spent 10 years travelling across India, listening to people and understanding the local, natural, fragile connection between them, the land, culture, biodiversity and livelihood. Just ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June, Kumar-Rao, whose decade of slow journalism has coalesced into a book titled Marginlands, speaks to Lounge about the innate resilience of landscapes, which urgently need intervention for conservation. Similar connections within the oceans come through in a series of photographs by wildlife photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee. We also have a story that goes beyond financial numbers to look at the human cost of inaction when it comes to climate change and environmental collapse. All this may seem like a gloomy reminder of what we are set to lose but if we just step back and view it from another perspective, these are stories that remind us of what we could save if we listened to the world around us a bit more.
A story that isn’t related to the natural environment but is connected to listening is our review of Bengaluru-based artist Indu Antony’s exhibition, Mindscapes, which puts a spotlight on hyper-local conversations about mental health. Antony has spent years listening to women from Bengaluru and creating a space for them to relax and talk. And as always, we have stories on books, art, fashion, and even one on getting AI to help you with your cooking.
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