CHENNAI: You don’t have to be from Chennai to be in love with the city. If anything, this was the message that was loud and clear, as at the launch of the ‘Tree of Hope’ organised by Chennai Expats on Friday.
Made of 500 flattened beer bottles hung in the shape of a Christmas tree, each ‘leaf’ is being auctioned off to raise money for the city’s flood victims. The art installation created by artist Rahool Saksena is on display till Christmas at the atrium of the Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park. The evening was attended by a mix of prominent expats from around the city.
Bharat Joshi, Deputy Director of the British High Commission who was present on the occasion said, “Seeing the way resident of this city have been helping their friends and neighbours despite their own homes being flooded, I am stunned.”
With as many as 70 bottles already been paid for as part of the initiative, Express was told that a majority of the takers are paying far beyond the base price of Rs 1,500. In fact, staff of the hotel shared that a day before the launch, two guests from Egypt were so moved by what they were hearing of the calamity, that they immediately bought two bottles for Rs 50,000 each!
All proceeds from the tree will go towards the relief work conducted by the Arcot Foundation.
Mohammed Asif Ali, Dewan to the Prince of Arcot said, “At a time when people say India is intolerant, Chennai has proved that humanity is above all.” He added, “People were helping Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs without any thought of their divide - and this is a lesson if any, that we are a tolerant nation.”