Sunday, 7 November 2010

Until Yesterday



Amidst the general orgy of bursting deafening firecrackers on Diwali till 3 in the morning, one fact almost went unnoticed.

A tall safeda tree was brought down in the park nearby in the locality where I live.

No, this was not a tree falling down because it was weak. Apparently the folks who lived on the perimeter of the park were &%*@ scared that it would fall on them. Eventually.

So they rang up the Jal Board at Lajpat Nagar - I was told by the contractors - and mentioned their fears. The Board, it seems, was only too happy to oblige. They sent a phlanx of workmen armed with axes, complete with a warrant for axing the tree.

And they felled what had stood tall here for so many years.

Until Yesterday

- brian mendonca

Until yesterday
you greeted me every morning
as I arose to meet the new day.
Birdsong went before me
And your branches bid me welcome.
But when they came
I was helpless.
I thought they were trimming
your girth
Like the gulmohar next to you.
But the evil ropes ensnared
your breath
And you fell for the last time.
Locusts crowded around you
to share the spoils
and cart away free wood
-headed for the shamshan ghat-
I was told.
Even as you pass on
your burning pyre carries incense for the dead.
Like ghouls we remain dead of soul
To axe a tree because the sunlight is too feeble.
My Diwali is dark
I have lost you, my friend.
Come to me on a ray of hope
as I do my vrikshasana
Lord of the cosmos.

Postscript: 'By about 10 p.m. on Diwali day we found it impossible to breathe because of the pollution caused by crackers. Absence of strong wind made matters worse. Because of very high noise levels it was very uncomfortable for children, patients and older people.'

With the commonwealth games opening and closing ceremonies themselves violating the anti-cracker campaign the message did not sound convincing to the people. As a result very high levels of pollution were witnessed this Diwali.
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Picture source: vrikshasana from surfersworld(dot)co.uk
Postscript: 'Say No to Crackers' campaign in the Capital takes a Beating,' Hindu Sunday, November 7, 2010, Delhi, page 4.

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