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Monday, 29 April 2013

51. MY DEBUT IN PUBLIC LIFE

“….Demolish my Goddamned house….”



Can we keep our plants within our boundary walls like this?
(Having received from the society for over sixty years, I decided to give back to the society in whatever humble way I can. I thought the best thing would be to serve selflessly our small community, a DDA colony comprising only 204 flats, inhabited by highly educated upper-middle class strata of the society.
What I am going to share from time to time under this series is my true experiences of interacting with the residents of the colony, without any malice towards anyone. The purpose is to share the prevalent value system as well as to share my own feelings of amusement at their behaviour.)

A particular road leading into the colony is definitely narrow and it has become narrower as the residents have planted trees in front of their flats. We all love trees and need them for oxygen, greenery, beautification etc. However, many residents have also covered some extra space along their outer wall by making it pucca with brick and mortar and by planting permanents plants and shrubs. Now after this, there are cars parked on both sides of the road making the approach road even narrower. The result of all this was that when a flat recently had an incident of fire, though the fire brigade arrived within minutes, it could not reach the flat.

Recently, the Management Committee of RWA, after continuous efforts and vigorous follow-up made Municipal Corporation agree to put interlocking tiles on both sides of the road that they thought will beautify the colony and have some sort of value addition for it. This was a good opportunity to widen the road from wall to wall. We cannot cut the trees. Neither can we remove the cars of the residents. Therefore, we thought that we would request the residents to remove voluntarily the encroachments made by them on the public land.

The owner of the first flat, a well-educated senior citizen, we approached with folded hands, started shouting at us, “You do whatever you want to do, but you dare not touch my plants. You can break this goddamned house of mine if you want but don’t you even look at my plants.” Our humble requests made with folded hands fell on deaf ears. As he continued to breed more plants for his gamlas, we retreated gracefully.

Incidentally, this "gentleman" has nicely covered with solid stones a small piece of mother-earth provided to him by DDA in his flat and now is hankering after public land for expressing his love for the plants in the most uncivil manner to fellow residents least bothered about an unforeseen exigency of a fire-brigade required by a fellow-citizen, which may be a matter of life and death for some. 

I understand that the desire to possess land is an eternal one and this was a crude manifestation of that. The fact of the matter is that Municipal Corporation, if they so desire, can easily demolish this unauthorised construction extending into the public land any day but a common man is not willing to listen to the polite appeal of a fellow citizen made in the interest of better community living. 

Hum aise hee hain.... (That's the way we are....)

*****
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