I have just returned from a walk on my terrace, where the realms of green and the chirps of the birds have soothed my mind. Just when the first gulp of hot beverage goes down my throat, the calm of the morning is broken by the frightening snarl of an electric saw. I lose my appetite. My worst fears are coming true. They are chopping down the beautiful greens around my house. With each whirr of the cruel noise, I can feel my heart bleed.
I force myself to get out of the house, although I know I cannot bear to see the sight. Four red-wattled lapwings are in a tizzy, crying “did you do it” in their alarming call. As they fly around desperately in circles, I remember that they hatch their eggs in the fields and guard them diligently every year. Their habitat will be gone in a few hours. Will it matter to anyone? I have seen them stand long hours on one leg waiting for their young to hatch, taking turns in parenting, one after the other.
I try to speak to the men, but they are deaf like so many others. My voice doesn’t pierce the clangour of the electric saw. I am insignificant before the mighty. These are people who have selective hearing and vision. People who cannot grow things, but are quick to chop others down when they see them grow. People who grow themselves, but cannot take others with them.
The sight is so heart-breaking, that I rush to work, shut the door of my room and dissolve in a shudder of sobs. “It was just a jungle, so don’t get disturbed,” they tell me. A jungle full of life, which meant nothing to anyone else. It means nothing to anyone who doesn’t enjoy the sight of a family of mongooses marching in a straight file each morning, sharpening their teeth religiously. A jungle which harboured nests full of families of birds. The brambles from where the white-browed bulbul sings its daily song. The bushes where the groups of scaly-breasted munias chattered excitedly. They will be gone, just because someone cannot understand how something green and not manicured, cannot be a sight to behold. Blindness can manifest in so many different forms. Who are we to deprive another species from their habitats?
The smoke from the saw billows over the green. The hacking of the axe and the whirr of the saw mutilate our environs. Tomorrow you can rejoice with the arid browns and the dusty earth. For you cannot see beauty. I know nature will find a way and be resurgent again. But you deserve the wrath of nature. You deserve to suffer for messing with nature.
For this cold-hearted callous cruelty, there will be no forgiveness. Period.