Friday, February 01, 2008

Balding

A couple of days ago, we were driving down Sankey Road, and we reached one of my favourite stretches - the magnificent tree-lined curved stretch right next to the Golf Course.

And my heart stopped. And broke into a million pieces.

The trees - those glorious, majestic trees, with their green, leafy branches stretching out to the sky - those trees, whose cool shade gladdened the hearts of a million passers-by - those old, beautiful trees - they were gone. All gone. And what remained, were just stumps.

Victims of road-widening.

How many beautiful memories that road holds for me! That time when our car broke down in the middle of a major thunderstorm, and we had to stand in the foyer of Holiday Inn(Now Le Meridien) until a tow vehicle came to tow our car home - with us inside!

Or the relaxing, lazy evening drives with S~ - at the beginning of our relationship - when fresh May showers had cleansed the entire world..... and everything looked so beautiful. Where the swaying, freshly-washed green branches seemed to be waving to us and celebrating our new beginning.

I used to remember all those things every time I drove down this road. Will I ever remember them the same way again? I try - and all that comes to me in my mind's eye - are stumps.

I have seen way too many old friends die to make way for steel and concrete. The old trees on Race course road to make way for the flyover. The beautiful Gulmohars on the service road on Chord Road, to make way for the Navrang Underpass.

And now, the trees next to the Golf Course.

All in the name of development. I know, I know. I myself have experienced the ease of crossing that Navrang signal in ten seconds, where it would have taken ten minutes.

I am not against development per se. But really, at the cost of how many trees?

Abhipraya puts it aptly - "Bangalore, I am told needs more space to breathe. But what are we going to breathe?"

I still love Bangalore, I proclaim. But do I? Probably, what I love is the Bangalore of fifteen years ago. But what remains of the Bangalore of then is just the shell. Then what am I in love with? Just the name? Or just the memory?

17 comments:

meghana,megs,meghu,maggi... said...

It is truly sad to see many of our green friends getting destroyed everyday. People talk about various ways of preventing global warming but none seem to understand the significant role played by these in preventing this serious threat to planet Earth....

Kadalabal said...

global warming on one hand talked and globalisation is other thing which makes these things happen to develop the infrastructure needs. absoultely no choice for citizens. but what is needed is for every tree cut they should plant two trees may be at some other place which is not prone to such demolition hazards so global warming can be addressed
shruthi I am touched by your social awareness and sentiments attched with the green friends.
life will go on and we have to move with the time

Madhu said...

That tree lined road was special to me too, my dad used to take me to school on his scooter and I used to wait everyday to pass that road. The sun would suddenly go away and everything would be so cool and I would feel protected under the shade of those trees.
I shudder everytime I think of the changes taking place to Bangalore. I left B'lore in 2002 and my mind is frozen to the city then. Every time I read something my heart cries just with the imagination of the way things are changing there. I am not sure how I can face and see and accept the changes.

Sumana said...

ya i understand the changes are too many to digest. It has been 8 years in the US and have made just 3 trips. Every trip sees so many changes. We move back for good to Blore in 2 months only to realise that the Blore is no more green.

Deepak said...

I ran around the world, the hinterland in India, gave up a career since i wanted to settle in Bangalore.... I love the city, and as you said, maybe the 15 year old part.... I get saddened by this chopping of trees, but you know what I keep telling myself, this is not irreversible, the beauty with trees is they come back..... we need to make that effort.. you, me and every other person...maybe get the authorities to act also in these cases...but are we doing enough beyond being concerned? I stay in a high rise and all I can grow are plants in pots....

Tarale Seena said...

That stretch adjoining the Golf course was my favourite part of town too. I'm sad to hear the trees are all gone. How cruel has this globalization been to Bangalore? Where will it stop?
Why stop with fifteen years, I have lived the times when K.R Road had such dense tree coverage, all the way from Sanjaya Theater to Krishna Rao Park, and we would breeze down the entire road in less than five minutes, on a bicycle..

Anu said...

I just love the posts on your blog. So thought provoking, so subtle, striking the right chord between the reality and ideality...yeah, sad that development should happen at such a terrible cost.

Usha said...

I feel sad too to see the maimed stumps and massacre of trees - but that is a sad reality of having allowed the city to grow beyond its capacity. I think the thing to worry about is whether we are planting enough trees to make up for the ecological loss at least partially.

Prashanth M said...

It's no different outside B'lore... Story of NH48 is similar :(

parijata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
parijata said...

Shruti,
Very timely post. And very well written, as always.

This problem is not just inside Bangalore. Each time I travel to our village via Nelamangala, my heart breaks on seeing the tree-stumps. Even a simpleton will know that that is not the only way to widen roads. Other, probably slightly more expensive options are always there (like using a stretch of the fields on either side, etc.)

But really, what gets my goat is the fact that even when people are building houses in their own 60 X 40 or 30 X 40 spaces, they hardly leave *any* place for growing trees. Some people who are aware of global warming, think that other people, or more conveniently, the Government, should plant more trees. It is never the individual's responsibility.

We are trying to get rain-water-harvesting done in our new house, and you know what? There are two types available. One is just enough to comply with the rules, and the other is "real" rain-water harvesting. No prizes for guessing what 90% of the people opt for.

I am sorry for using your comment-space for my rant, but I had to get it out.

Lively said...

Hi Shruti, its very apt for the present situation in Blore. When I came here 4 months back, I was driven nuts by the traffic n pollution. Now I'mslowly getting used to it. But this is not the kind of life I wanted. And for sure this is not the Bangalore I had seen few years before. Wish someone could undo all that crap and once again transform this place into the paradise it was once! Amen!

LAK said...

Balding is right.What a pity.Of course all the other cities are going that way too, but B'lore and Delhi were the so called "green" sities. Now in Delhi, our gnarled friends have to make way for the Metro!

LAK said...

Ooops! I meant cities, of course!

Hasmita said...

I'm all with you in everything you've said here. My love for Bangalore is just like that, too, perhaps hanging on what it was in the 90s and earlier rather than what it has become now, and I haven't seen those stumps on that stretch! How horrible :(

lakki said...

The writing brought back those memories where i would ride on that long right hander from high grounds Police station on my Roadking way back in 1996. I was just then out of college and had a job in the CBD and always used to return home on this stretch. This was the road and the trees which i loved so much that they now remain a memory.. a sweet one. Please stop killing Bangalore... I miss my 90's Bangalore very much..

Anonymous said...

Another such road was a road near halsooru..(or Alsoor) ... there were tall, very tall trees on one side of the road, in some adjacent compound which were all cut.. for the metro work to commence.. Its disturbing!!! atleast when they cut one, do they plant 5.. that ratio would be convincing..

- -