I open my eyes, inhale pollution, and exhale carbon dioxide. What is that feeling? Extreme choking suffocation; my lungs need some fresh air. The window is rattling constantly. I look outside the window, so dark; it has been raining, pouring, like there is no end to it. It’s been like this since a few days or maybe months. But sometimes it is blazing, extremely hot. Probably it might just burn my skin or burn me.
Am I walking now? There used to be a lot of trees here. They used to call it the Aarey colony. Lots of trees around; birds, flowers, butterflies, monkeys and all kinds of colourful critters – they all are gone now. Long back, yeah, it used to be beautiful out here. I remember when the rays of the sun used to penetrate from the lush green forest and fall on the freshly bloomed lotus in the pond.
Lotus, oh, how does it look, I no longer can remember clearly. Sparrows, crows and the birds that used to sing all day long, we have not seem them for a long time. Probably they have become extinct. There used to be many of them back then; where are they now?
I see a few men instead; rooted to the spot – unmoved by the destruction. Looking into their eyes, I am searching for guilt, but can’t find even a little drop of regret. Staring back at me are eyes, cold, dead, like those of zombies. Addicted to the deadly trend of meaningless development, craving for more, one more dose; an overdose, they know can kill them. But there is a clamor for more, much more, more of money. Money used to be green earlier. Even that is grey now, grey like ash. Ashes of trees, probably burned down brutally, just because someone had planned to cut down 3500 trees, for Mumbai Metro-3 car shed. Was it all worth it?
Yes there was this chipko movement. Activists said that Aarey Milk colony was a real-estate gold mine. Their voices were sucked, sucked into a vacuum. Deaf ears and no one gave a heed.
[Well known actor-playwright Piyush Mishra in collaboration with the band Maati Baani has come up with the song titled ‘Chipko’ Re in an attempt to spread awareness for the cause.]
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by someone who wishes to remain anonymous.