Ranvir Shorey is immersed into environmental conservation these days. From planting trees, to teaching his son Haroon about the importance of keeping the earth green, he has been right at it. The actor also talks to Lipika Varma about his relationship with son, and how Haroon enjoys the company of both parents who are also neighbours.
Critically acclaimed actor Ranvir Shorey was in news recently for his Adopt a Fallen Tree Pit
Campaign in association with the Make Earth Green Again(MEGA) foundation and the Municipal Staff of K-West Ward. Along with his 9-year-old son Haroon Shorey, the actor planted a Sita Ashoka (Saraca Asoca) tree for the campaign in support of World Environment Day. Ranvir speaks to Hashtag India about being a father, and how his living arrangement with actor and ex-wife Konkana Sen Sharma has proved to be a genius move for his son.
Adopt a Fallen Tree Pit Campaign with your son Haroon Shorey was quite interesting. What was the discussion like with Haroon about the project?
Haroon has attended a couple of events with me. We have been to arm wrestling events together. This one was special because in school they teach a lot about the importance of conservation of nature, trees and wildlife. So he is already aware about the environment, but this will properly reinforce the importance of taking care of trees and plants around us.
Your love for green pastures must have started from your home town in Jalandhar. Any memories of having a small farm house or garden?
I have been a fan of quite, serene, green lands throughout my school years. We used to go out on our summer holidays to the farm. Every year for a month or two we were at that full-fledged farm with wheat, rice, potatoes, carrots, you name it. I can actually drive a tractor very well.
What sort of significance does planting trees hold for you? Do you believe humans are responsible for the worsening state of our environment?
We made a deep impact on our natural habitat. We need to curb it, definitely step back and undo all the damage that we have done. We depend on the environment. We draw from our ecosystems, and over the years these have been depleting fast. It is our responsibility to replenish these ecosystems. Trees support a variety of life, including animals, insects, birds, soils, and all these are crucial for the survival of human life. There has been this wild, uneducated notion of medical oxygen increasing through afforestation during the pandemic period, but this is of course, a fallacy [laughs]. Increasing oxygen has nothing to do with planting trees. It is just our duty to do our best to conserve them.
How was it like working with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Anusha Srinivasan Iyer of Make Earth Green Again (MEGA) Foundation on their initiative?
I think BMC and the Make Earth Green Again (MEGA) Foundation both are doing a commendable job with the tree plantation drive. It’s a great idea to keep track of every tree that is uprooted and make sure it’s replanted. Anusha does some great work for the environment. She runs a cat and dog shelter called Positive, and is a good-hearted human.
Have you started spending more time gardening with Haroon ever since the campaign?
Well we don’t do gardening but we have a lot of plants around the house. Our window space is filled with plants. We water them every alternate day and generally ensure that everything is fine with them. In ourl little ways, we try to remain connected to nature.
You and Konkana separated last year. How has it been like raising a kid in this scenario. Are there any pointers you’ve specifically kept in mind?
I think all the acrimony and the differences need to be set aside for the child. That’s the only way you can look after the well-being of your child. Parents should be mature enough to put all differences and negative feelings aside so that they do not affect the child. We should also try our best for a seamless transfer of the living situation. Between me and Haroon’s mother, we are not rigid about whom he stays with and for how long. We keep it fluid. We are neighbours so it’s easy for him to visit both of us. If we couldn’t give him one home we have managed to give him one neighbourhood at least. He feels this neighbourhood is his own and these houses are just like rooms; whenever he wants he goes from one house to the other.
How do you two spend a typical day together? What sort of chores and games do you engage him in?
He is my little helper. He helps in setting and laying the dining table, keeps utensils in place. I keep him doing all this so that it’s an inculcated habit. We also play a lot of games. Our favourite is Uno. Haroon wins most of the time. He is quite good at it.
You and Konkana both enjoy reading books, and are thorough actors. Has Haroon developed this habit too?
He isn’t into acting yet, but he definitely enjoys reading. We encourage him as much as possible. He has just started Harry Potter and seems to be loving it.