3 March, 2010
As I stood waiting at Sanjauli bus stop for a bus to Mashobra, I was told that most of the buses to Mashobara come via the by-pass so I would get a bus from Dhalli, a 2-3 Kms walk from Sanjauli. I could take a bus to Sanjauli but I preferred to walk and saw the concrete jungle that has engulfed what used to be Sanjauli that I knew of! Well, I repented the walk as I really was feeling bad at the damage done to the pristine hamlet that used to be a place untouched by the concrete invasion.
At Dhalli, the bus to Mashobara was so over-crowded that I, once again, preferred to walk to Mashobara than to stifle myself in the bus. The milestone at the bifurcation, where the right hand road leads to Kufri and the left hand road to Mashobara, mentioned the distance to Mashobara as 4 Kms. The road was wide and clean. Fairlawns was barely 01 Km from Dhalli and I didn’t feel any pinch for walking the first kilometer as the scenery towards the left side of the road was breathtaking. The right hand side had, as usual, the hilly wall through which the road had been carved so there was not much to look for.
But I was wrong. The right side had the jungle of concrete mushrooming at different places. One such sight was where the JCB was in-work shelving the earth, the sacred earth that had grown and nurtured apple trees along with other vegetation and the people who survived on them! It pained me a lot but what could I do except writng about it. The whole of the hill seemed to cry for help but the machine was working drilling and paving the earth. I stood still for some time and watched with surprise that this patch of earth had no trees whereas there were trees on its left and right side. Even downside the road, I could see the green proud trees. I wondered how had trees from this patch of land, if there were any, vanished! I was angry with the Government, whatever political party they may belong to, for having permitted the cutting of the trees, if it was permitted for raising concrete structures for the rich and the vain people!
What remained on the hilly terrain was a poster of Apple County! I have put this close-up of the poster and it is ironical that the place that should have the apple trees has today only a poster of the apples! I am sure that if the mountains would continue to be razed to surface at the speed they are the hill people would see the apples only on the posters! I felt sorry for the hill being razed to a plain surface so that more resorts for the novae rich could be erected! A very small spec of red is the moving figure of a man so one can imagine the size of the digging and excavation of the hills going on!
A little ahead, I came across a very old water tank with a water pipe. It seemed as if it must have catered to the people of the bygone eras. Whether it still was functional or not, I cannot comment upon till I gather some more information about it. The road had become lonely and very eerie! I felt as if no one walks these days, everyone looks for some kind of vehicle to travel even small distances! I was a bit scared as all the ghost stories, listened to during my childhood, came to my mind. The road was said to be a haunted place where one could come across a ghostly figure! I tied diversifying my mind towards other things so that I could feel less scared but it was not to be.
Next I saw the remains of pujas and broken images of gods lying or put beside what could have been a source of water, once upon a time. The evening gloom, the overcast sky, the lonely road and then these objects made me pray fervently to the God! And not a walking soul on the road though vehicles sped past me at high speed.
The next mile stone put me to ease as Mashobara was now just 2 Kms away. I looked at the valley side and my heart was filled with anger for all those who had so mercilessly thrown all the garbage in the lush green forest downwards. What a pity that the green cover was decaying because of careless nature of throwing the garbage at any convenient place. I knew that even if I shouted at the top of my voice no one would take any notice of the slow death of the environment but I was glad that Priyanka Gandhi Vadera had decided to settle near Mashobara and I was sure that if she or her famous mother Sonia Gandhi would decide to take a walk along the road, and notice all these points, they would be listened to! Who listens to lesser mortals like me?