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?