Destroying to create

PPS Gill

What is development? It has many facets. Each development project means some destruction, some new construction, reconstruction and repair. It disrupts routine life till ‘work in progress’ lasts! And, the end result may still not be as desired.

Here is an eyewitness account of the development of a park: The architectural design and dimension of the dozen-odd houses facing the rectangular park is as different as the size and shape of the sky-kissing trees that stand like sentinels, guarding the green, flowerbeds and the pathway. Then there are swings, slides, see-saws, and a gazebo. The green has less grass, more moss and wild growth.

The beauty and grace of the majestically swaying multi-shaded green foliage of the trees is in the geometrically-designed leaves of different contours: broad, slender, conical. Some have serrated edges, myriad flowers and inedible fruits. Not all trees shed their leaves at the same time. When they do, some are totally denuded, some retain their green in all seasons. It is like watching a concert of nature, when new leaves sprout on bare branches, change colours, flutter in the wind, with rays of the rising or setting sun giving them rainbow hues.

If the fallen leaves and flowers have a beauty of their own, there is a messy side, too. Crushed under the wheels, they form a paste on the road, making it slippery and difficult to sweep.

For decades the dozen-odd houses around the park have remained hidden behind the ‘tree wall’ curtain of low-hanging branches. Yet, a silent bonhomie pulsates among residents. At dusk, when houses are lit up, street and park lights are switched on, these shimmer, blink and wink through the foliage. Silhouettes of the giant trees add to the beauty of the park.

And then, one day, truckloads of tiles, sand and gravel began unloading in and around the park. The material was to re-do the walkway, make it foot-friendly, and construct concrete platforms under benches. The clatter and noise of the concrete-mixture shredded the silent serenity.

Several weeks later, it remains ‘work in progress’. The park is still to be spruced up. It is littered with debris. Berms are yet to be earthed-up; flowerbeds hoed; and the lawn re-grassed.

As if this was not enough, soon a noisy contraption with a long hydraulic lift, displaying cables, gears and levers showed up with an operator wearing a helmet and goggles. One of the instruments he flaunted was a saw. Like raiding marauders, this plant-cutter went berserk, ruthlessly chopping off all branches that came in its way. In a jiffy, the trees stood stripped of their beauty and cover. Perches and nests were gone, so was the romance of night lights.

With the veil ripped, the shadowy figures of walkers and joggers are now exposed to preying eyes. There is glaring brightness, a naked view of the park and the houses. Is this development?

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