Sunday, May 27, 2012

Will anyone listen , I wonder.

Yesterday we had a unique experience.

We have an open ground in front where the road ends in a cul-de-sac and the ground starts. The ground hugs our colony periphery on the south eastern side.

It has been a vacant lot for ever, and the greenery is soothing. A place for birds, and all other small animals. We don't complain, since it gives a lovely mini forest canopy. There was a huge well, where children used to play, fish and swim. But 15 years back some high rise was built on the well and a few Eucalyptus trees were planted in their compound.

 There is a nala flowing between our colony, and the high rise .In fact the forest cover gives a respite from the nala overflow and also the stench.

It is needless to say, the high rise residents find it convenient to throw their garbage into the mini forest, and choke the nala from time to time.

Three days back, while I was on the terrace watering the plants, I heard a loud noise, and to my amusement saw one tree, breaking up and falling over some compound walls, over the nala, and lay sprawling on our part of the road.

People who were out running, hearing the bang, were sympathetic, to find a big tree sprawled across. It was also occupying major portion of the road, and vehicles could not pass...

I saw the huge canopy and I requested my domestic help to collect the leaves as much as possible for use in the garden as mulch, and went about my work.

The owners of the tree immediately arranged for cutting the debris and disposing it.  It took them almost a day to cut the branches and clean up the road, and workers were quick to finish, by disposing it in the nala! 

The normal process could have been, to summon the lorry from Cantonment Office for collecting the tree debris. That would have involved some expenditure.

By chance I heard some noise, and peeped out. To my horror, smoke and flames were leaping out of the forest ground. The flames were some 15 feet high and making cracking noise. I rushed out and saw that, couple of workers were watching the fire, smoking, and chatting on cell-phones.

Hearing the commotion, the neighbours came out rushing. The fire was spreading to the dry twigs and branches. Though it was in the direction away from our houses, there was a danger of it coming towards our homes due to some heavy winds. So much commotion was going on, but no one from the high rise came forward. 

They might have been watching from their closed windows and balconies, but they did not respond. I had to shout above the din of noise, that I am calling the fire department and the police.
The workers got panicky when we all shouted, and they started throwing some water. I was shocked that in the wake of water being bought for 1000 per lorry, how can anyone think of disposing a tree by kindling a forest fire?

They started getting some more pipes and some small bucket to pour over the fire. Meanwhile the green trees were fast catching the fire.

I threatened one of the workers that we are going to catch him and hand over to the police for starting such a fire in summer, which prompted others into action. They stared jumping nearer to the fire area and pouring water collected from the nala!

We were also asking, who gave them advice to dispose of such a huge tree into the drainage nala, they pointed out at the high rise"sir". 

Once it came to some semblance of control, the man from the high rise in charge of such mighty operation appeared. We lost no time in asking at his plan of setting the neighbourhood on fire, jeopardizing our homes and trees. He coolly defended himself by saying he never told the workers do such thing, and he only asked them to clean.

Clean? By throwing the tree in the nala and chocking it? In case of next rain, our colony will get all the mucky water! He had no answer, but to mumble something else. I had to show restraint, and call for his good senses and educated status(is he really educated ?), to refrain from  such careless clean ups such things. The worst is , he did not even apologise!

I found the workers were more responsible and doused the fire and apologised for what happened.

Finally, it irked me that, this is not the first time it happened. Six months back, we were all carrying buckets of water from our homes and dousing the fire. for almost one hour!!We did not know then, who had lit such a fire, now we know who thinks of easy disposals!!!

Just because, we alerted and no loss took place, does it mean we can brush it aside?. I wish people were more responsible and realise how a small careless thoughtless act, might develop into a disaster. And learn to avoid unnecessary loss.

Will anyone listen, I wonder.


  1. Hi

    Such men with absolutely no concern about the environment and others get on my nerves...They are all around us unfortunately!! Nice post and cul-de-sac was a new word for me :)

  2. This is the tragedy of our society... we just care about ourself and not for the greater good... whatever happened to " love thy neighbor"..

  3. We live such careless and selfish society where people don't care for the environment or other's well-being but just for themselves. You should've handed him over to the police for his careless act, at least that would make him think twice before 'disposing off' anything in future.

  4. very glad that you brought this attitude up in this post. most city dwellers - and i use the term with some respect - have come to adopt a kind of callousness that is very worrying. whether it may injured people on the roads or waste disposal, noone wants to think through to the consequences of their actions. the anonymity of a city perhaps helps deal with the guilt. i can say this because i have been guilty of many such trespasses before i was helped by life to see what my actions were doing to the earth, the air, and the learning being put out to the next generation. thanks for highlighting this callous attitude and i hope that this post helps people change, or enable change in others.

  5. We just don't care, Pattu! We don't care. It is way too convenient to not care. But then folks like you exist and that makes a difference. I thinks folks don't understand how easily a forest fire can start. I lived in New Mexico where this was common and I had friends who often had to pack up and leave because the fires were reaching their homes. The fires were always started by carelessness inspite of a massive state sponsored campaign and restrictions.

  6. this is pathetic! people are not at all considerate of others. and this is not even about being considerate. this is a case of foolishness and careless attitude (not getting the right words to describe this act). good that you fought with them.

  7. Hi jaish_vats,
    Thanks. I used to see red once, but now my concern is how to make them understand. I think this one understood.

  8. Thanks Prasad N.
    I am not giving up hope. There are lots of people who are caring.
    Only they do not come and show up . We need to keep looking , by showing our concern openly. There we fail, we are shy, to show what we actually feel.

  9. Hi Akshay, Thanks, I feel guilty , did I disturb his concentration - exams?

    It is a society , selfish, and careless.

    They needed the word"police" "fire Dept" at that time.
    Hope they wont do it any more, they know someone is keeping watch.

    What I found was , the workers were taking up full blame and also responded positively. That says something about them.

  10. Thanks Subhorup for the kind words.
    The funny thing was, after the end of the episode, I walked away, and looked up at the high rise , and saw that person, gazing down. I raised my thumb and said" sir, let us all be careful and thanks for the co-operation"
    I could not hear what he said, but I felt, he saw what I meant, and he is going to be a positive connection ,for future dealings in neighborhood issues. I felt good.

    You might have watched the movie " I am". ( Tom Shadyac). I felt there was good connection possible.:-)

  11. Bhavana, that was a sweet thing to say.

    I am afraid of big fires, and was scared of careless act. It had happened earlier on a smaller on the same site.

    People are embarrassed , if I react/over react. But some times drama is essential, in our society to make people act.

  12. Thanks Debajyoti,

    In this case, a big wall separates the high rise from the fire. They can watch the fun, but the fire will not reach out there, we are on the down side, near the mini-forest!

    As I see the charred remains of the trees , I feel a sense of loss, and for the rain to rejuvenate them.

  13. People who have least concern for the environment should be drowned in that naala. Sorry this is the way I feel after reading the post.

  14. Enjoyed this story--so true about human nature and how we overlook the consequences of our actions. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Now following yours. Hope you will follow back. I look forward to reading more.

  15. That was close!
    Glad nothing serious happened. That was highly irresponsible to have passed such an absurd instruction and not supervise over it.

  16. Welcome here Indrani,
    and thanks.

    Congratulations on your two photographs being selected for display in the exhibition in Hungary.

  17. It is unfortunate that such "educated" people are in positions to make wrong decisions again and again. This happens all over the world unfortunately...

  18. It's hard to believe that anyone would be so thoughtless and careless about cleaning up the debris from one of their trees that had fallen over. I think I would have called the police.

  19. Subramaniam sir, the nala will get spoiled :-)

  20. Welcome Galen Pearl here, and thanks for the response.

    I will surely do that !

  21. Yeah Nick, only in varying degrees. In our area , it is pretty dismal.But we hope to improve it :-)

  22. Welcome here George,

    Our police have enough on their plate already, but we did think of them , that day. Anyway it was not really required , after the showdown, and eventual dousing.

  23. Welcome here Gazala! and thanks.

  24. Every day, from every corner of our country, we come across such instances of callous indifference and disrespect to nature. That such people go unpunished is enough to make one an atheist!

    Well written and the reader could feel the same passion!

  25. Welcome here Balachandranji!

    Thanks for your comment.

    The reader feels the passion, because , it is also in him to ask "why are we like this" :-)

  26. That is such a sickening attitude and so typical of you. I wish that you had called the police. People don't care about the environment or others. They just care for themselves.

  27. Rachna, I can't put in words, how much I feel sickened , when I come across such crassness. ( atleast 10 times minimum).

    This summer , it is getting worse. Now our issue is the water scarcity , making beasts out of people.
    Everyday, we have to keep our tempers down, and look for some solution.

    God give us strength.:-)

  28. Very thoughtful post.
    Even I have encountered such problems.
    There is a vacant plot next door and the owner of the plot cleans un once in a year or so -lets the cut plants and bushes dry up and promises to remove the rubbish but tips the street urchins to stealthily burn it up.
    And some neighbors are also not bothered as they feel the fire will not spread to their area...
    I am next door so always affected and concerned.

  29. Welcome here Usha,

    Thanks. :-)

  30. Trying to palm the blame off on his workers? I wouldn't have much faith in such a person's character. I'd explain through a general circular to the high rise and your colony what the consequences of burning to dispose could be so that he'd hesitate to repeat his "mistake". It isn't good for the environment either.

  31. That person, is a reflection of bad ethical practices in India.
    My colony is also full of such people, and full of " chalta hai" guys. Their walls adjourn our street.There is no thoroughfare.

  32. Good post-this apathy has become an epidemic ,there are very few persons who think like you think many would have cooperated with you if there had been no danger to their homes?I see this in my own locality(a very posh one);but if a drain is choked,or a pipeline bursts or water pressure is low ;nobody takes action,they all employ their own devices--none for public good...& mind you they are all high ranking professionals;yet they will not bother if the road in front of their homes is blocked by construction material or is garbage ridden....everyone looks for a safe,easy way out.

  33. Welcome here Induji!
    Thanks for the fitting comments.

    Sometimes I think, we Indians are connected mainly through our selfish attitudes. "Mine should be better- no bother about others" - is the national motto!North, South , East , West all same.

    As you said, no one would have come, if their houses were not affected.

    Sad, we lack community feelings, and social irresponsibility.

  34. This is pathetic.... some people have no civic sense whatsoever.... pity our country doesn't have arrest-laws against chucking rubbish on the streets. Then again, if it did have such a law, 90% of our citizens would be in jail.

  35. Welcome here Ash. Thanks.

    Yes, this is one of the many ills of our attitude,and the society. Thankfully many are questioning this.

  36. Surprisingly such pleads in our country fall mostly on deaf ears our locality the people never give a second thought to through garbage on the road from their balconies in the darkness of the people can b so selfish????there is so much lack of social responsibility among the is really painful..

  37. Welcome here Ranita!

    Yes, This one traits unites all of our country, not even Anna Hazare can claim that!

    Sometimes, I feel, I should do Gandhigiri and speak to all those people. I did that only on my small lane, and succeeded.:-)

  38. Good thing the guy realised that people are watching! Reminds me of the callous attitude that people have when they spit on every floor of a building without a thought! In cities those floor landings are precious playgrounds for children and no one seems to care.Just attitude of keep my home super clean with two times sweeping and swabbing but to hell with others!Or throw plastic straws and chips packets at the spot they are consumed.Refreshing to see a post making note of such situations!

  39. WElcome here too Lekha! Thanks.
    We are "inconsiderate" unless questioned. I have seen time and again, when we question people act. The unique Indian attitude.


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