- RAJGOPAL KRISHNAMURTHI
Nature is not your playground
It wasn’t even noon. It wasn’t summer too, and here I was sweating profusely, while I waited for my bus to arrive. I had plenty for company, something that none waiting there would be proud of. As we were busy complaining, the sun was teaching us a lesson. The quality of what you reap will be as good as the quality of what you sow was being demonstrated. The huge trees that served as a shelter, standing on either side of the road, were cut down to improve the flow of traffic. Doesn’t that sound weird! Expanding the road would in no way be beneficial to the people who lived close by; the act was aimed at making life easy for the ones who meant business.
How could a representative of nature be treated as an encroachment? Who are the real intruders—the trees or the men who cut it down?
Good roads are a necessity, broad ones too, but not at the expense of numerous beautiful trees that protect us from rain and sunlight time and again. They were home to many monkeys before being uprooted. The monkeys have now become a part of our factory. You can see them seated on the windows, on the terrace, and at times in the washroom, too. The little sparrow lost its nest; the cute parrots had to find a new meeting spot, and a brief spell of rain was enough for water to stagnate. The rooms in our office looked brighter than before, but the air conditioning machine had to slog from dawn to dusk to keep us cool and focussed on work.
An old lady who sold food under one of the trees was left stranded. Seated on a small chair under the tree, she made a living by selling hot idlis, vadas, and pooris. She still sells them, but she is never secure as before from the elements of nature and the vehicles on the road.
We never realise the price we pay for playing with nature despite the lessons learnt. Nature is versatile. Every face is an outcome of a natural process. We, as human beings, are allowed to understand the theories that run the various stages, never should imagine establishing control. The urge to upgrade was the start of modernisation, probably the first step away from nature. When the need transformed into greed, beauty was redefined, with artificial sources posing as flag bearers.
As I got into the bus after a ten-minute wait at the bus stop, which was nothing more than a board on top of an iron rod, with a picture of a bus on it, I knew how helpless we were, we are, and we will be, as individuals before the so-called powerful. The road expansion that was scheduled to take off immediately after the removal of the trees didn’t see the light of the day. The project stood shelved.
As the bus raced through, I could see members of a non-government organisation planting fresh saplings at the sites where the trees lived for over two decades. They will also plant one near the bus stop; once they all grow, someone will emerge out of the blue with another expansion plan, and the cycle will repeat.
Today every individual has his say on nature and its association with goodness, not knowing that when it was up for grabs, they had failed to hold on.