The Sky is Falling and In Its Place Are Skyscrapers

The house I lived in as a child was vast and airy and though it faced the main road we were blissfully unaffected by it because of a row of trees acting as a divider. The breeze was always a degree cooler and every change of season offered a new view to relish. Most of the year round there would be an array of wild flowers thriving on the branches or on the scrubs beneath the trees: pungent smelling, yet attractive bunches of tiny, pink flowers, yellow and pink ones with silk-like stamen threads for petals and little, pure white blossoms, which kept spiralling downwards due to their wispiness. Lounging on the terrace and gazing at the treetops could easily ferry one to Never land.

But as it mostly happens, this blessedness too was shattered when one early afternoon I found a small group of workers bringing down their axes on the trees. I enquired with my mother about it to be informed that the trees were being felled down so that they would not bother the new telephone wires to be set up. She assured me that only the tall ones would be hewed, and a fat lot of good that did to me! I contemplated affronting the men for a moment but let’s admit it I was just a kid. So, by evening, all that remained in front of my home was a bunch of dense shrubbery and few mangled low set trees.

Months passed and I got used to the almost barrenness. Then we moved to a new house and to my utter disappointment the neighbourhood was not only wholly devoid of trees but also the dust from the nearby construction sites made it difficult to take in any fresh air. The buildings here were taller and one could do only so much as to climb up to the third floor terrace to see the sky. Soon, the construction was over and the houses loftier and sprouting in every direction. Now, being inside the house or out on the terrace did not make a difference for both were just as stifling and dull a place.

Standing on the ground, I had to strain my eyes to catch glimpses of the sky which seemed like pleasant ink blots on a mainly grey concrete paper. It felt as if chunks of the skies had fallen to make place for the obstinately developing cities. Once again man had brought down one of nature’s ornament and moulded it to his own use, but only for so long.

Now, when I pass by my former house I realize there is no limit to human ignorance. The whole strip of trees has vanished and in its place are broader roads and shops – a symbol of humans’ development and humanity’s degeneration; for what can anyone promise their children if it does not include the right to a healthy environment, a claim to merry outdoor amusements and the prospect of beholding all the nature’s marvels? However, clichéd it may sound but we are depriving the future and the present of the life that was intended for them.

But thank the Lord for such creatures as gardeners who can turn the most desolate of places into miniature gardens. I do not have to distress myself with lack of greenery because of them. Though difficult it was, I’ve made my transition from lush trees to potted plants; the only question that haunts me is what will be next, now that the sky has fallen?

Tanisha Khaitan