Nature remains

Nature remains

Our dictum for preserving and developing the park was 'talk with a walk'.

The flat I live in overlooks a park. Before you exclaim how lucky I am, let me add that for several years, even much before my arrival here, it was hardly anything approaching an Eden. Rather it was a den for unscrupulous elements and happenings. Its ownership was under dispute and it remained a neglected and desolate stretch, overgrown with weeds. It did not take long for it to turn into a garbage dump.

When complaints were made, the refuse was set afire. Blinding and toxic fumes filled the air at regular intervals. Little regard was paid to the fact that two transformers stood at its very edges. Besides, the road adjoining it was being used as a convenient spot for the loading and unloading of gas cylinders. The hazards of a huge fire were all too evident but they were completely ignored.

One day the fire that had been ignited turned into a towering blaze. Fire tenders were called in to control the flames. That was when we, the residents of the area, decided to tackle the problem head on. An association was formed and an able and concerned lawyer agreed to take the matter up with the erring authorities. A case was filed in court. It took awhile, but our efforts paid off. The case was decided in our favour and those who had had a hand in the unsavoury happenings had to admit defeat.

Now, concerted efforts to develop the area into an oasis of calm and beauty followed. Flowering shrubs were planted, a rough pathway made and people exhorted to come to the place for daily walks. Our dictum for preserving and developing the park was ‘talk with a walk’. The results have been slow, but steady and showy.

No longer are the leaves and branches of the Tabibuea and the Rain trees singed by the heat of burning rubbish. What glows instead are the blooms of the Caesalpinia in shades of orange, red and yellow. Butterflies, their black wings mottled with blue and green, flit among the bushes. The screech of parakeets, the chatter of mynahs and the melodious calls of bulbuls can be heard once more. A fence stretching all around has discouraged people from throwing rubbish in.

I like to think though that it is the return of nature with its beauty and bounty that has influenced people and set the trend. With time, this little stretch of land is gathering more and more footfalls. It is proof that there is nothing so exhilarating as a morning walk or an evening saunter in green surroundings.

It has been said that when we see land as a community to which we all belong, we may begin to use it with greater respect and love. With a little effort the many parks that languish in Bengaluru can be turned into islands of calm. As the poet Walt Whitman has pointed out, ‘After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics and the rest, what remains? Nature remains!’

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