“Uff, the construction next door is pulling me down,” Radha complained to her neighbor Sarita. “What bothers me is that all the trees in that plot have been chopped down! We complain of pollution and global warming, but if buildings keep coming up like this, how are we going to save the environment?” she demanded.
Sarita nodded sympathetically. “Even lakes get converted to apartments. I wonder how we are going to sustain this growth. Where will we get water to sustain so many families? And what about traffic?” grimaced Sarita, contributing additional concerns that a new apartment complex brought with it.
“I believe there is a PIL against the cutting of trees. I am going to ask our association also to raise the issue so that they don’t cut trees indiscriminately.” Radha enthusiastically suggested.
“Yes, the association should. We must save our environment…” Sarita agreed whole heartedly.
Never one to sit back idly once a thought struck her, Radha promptly posted a message in the building email and whatsapp groups, suggesting that they also implead themselves as petitioners. She was upset when there was no response or action on her suggestion. But she was not going to let them get away with it. She kept track of the case, got to know that there was a judgement to restrict the number of trees felled which made sure it did not exceed. Anytime she heard a branch being cut, she was there, shouting from her balcony at the workers.
“But still, you know, trees just vanish! I think more trees than allowed have been cut,” she lamented. “I feel so helpless… I can’t stand having to look at another building coming up across my balcony!” Radha declared. Her restless energy found vent soon enough.
“I have found just the thing! A house by a lake! What can be more idyllic!” she informed Sarita.
“Oh that’s good. But where? How can you leave the city and go?”
“We won’t! We will have the best of both worlds – the city life during the weekdays and the quieter life in the weekends,” Radha said with a grin, unable to contain her joy at the beautiful surroundings that she would be enjoying when they lived in that house in the suburbs.
Finally the day dawned when she could go and enjoy the life away from the noise, the pollution, the insensitive city life. She would be close to nature, listening to the birds, to the humming bees, to the blooming flowers and the swaying trees. Oh wow, was that poetry!?
Listening to the birds,
to the humming bees,
to the blooming flowers
and the swaying trees
She jotted it down and admired how just the thought of being amidst nature made poetry flow even in her prosaic soul!
Sarita waved them a bye and wished her luck as Radha and her family packed essentials for a sojourn in their lakeside villa. “You are blessed… We can’t even think of such getaways,” she lamented but smiled to show her friend that she was not jealous.
The next morning, Radha and her family were back, much to Sarita’s surprise. “What happened?”
Radha looked angry and upset. “Don’t ask! That house is uninhabitable!”
“Oh, really! Why!? I thought you knew what the house was like?”
“It is different during the day. All calm and beautiful! But at night, it is different! There are bats all around us, night insects that cover the floors but that’s not the worst of it! Moor frogs, all over the bathroom, jumping around! Then one security fellow shouted. When we enquired, we were told a snake was spotted! Can you imagine! We couldn’t sleep a wink after that! I think we have been ripped!”
Sarita was aghast! “Oh my God!”
“We are planning to speak to the property developers. Either to clear the place of these pests or to reimburse us!” Radha said in a tone that brooked no compromise.
Sarita admired her. “You will achieve what you want. I am sure they will clear it all up.”
Radha nodded, smug as she thought of how she would enjoy the beautiful house by the lake, free of the unwanted creatures. She and her family would enjoy nature without fear and constraints.