Rainforests of concrete

Rainforests of concrete

As I walked along the uphill colony road and reached the end of it, I would find myself on a plot of land under a canopy of lofty trees — a nice secluded spot, quite pleasing to the eye and mind. The locale always looked incredibly dark, even at noon —  darkness at noon, as it were — giving me an impression beyond belief that I was amid a jungle. All this is passe as the scene has now changed irrevocably. 

Now, as I walk along the uphill colony road, I find myself in a ‘jungle’ of crane-mounted towering concrete buildings, that dwarf all tall buildings in the vicinity, and huge hoardings, trumpeting “Rainforest,” besmirching the skyline.

Several trees, small and big, some of them over a 100-years-old have fallen prey to the builders’ avaricious axe. The place has been shaved clean of all flora. A significantly large area is being converted into a concrete jungle. 

A construction behemoth is now engaged in the task of creating a ‘rainforest’ – whatever is meant by that term — there. They are employing all the sales gimmicks to coax people into buying their property. That their site office is often jammed with people suggests that their efforts have not come to naught. The word ‘rainforest’ seems to have a mesmeric effect on city-dwellers!  

The other day, an old acquaintance of mine, meeting me after a long interval, told me in a remorseful tone, “I wish I had stayed put in your colony where I had lived for several years. I’m told that a rainforest is coming up near it. Isn’t it?” I said, “Search me. All I know is that there is not even a faint hint of one there.”

So, he has been deluded like several others by the builder’s propaganda machinery. One hoarding at the site says: “It is a paradise with winding rivers cutting through giant trees and plants.”  This is an apt definition of a genuine rainforest, not that of a fake one.

In the Hindu mythology, Bhagiratha brings River Ganga to the earth from the heavens. The ‘rainforest makers’ seem to claim that they too can perform a Bhagiratha feat and bring a river or two to their project site! Builders often promise the moon, but, thank God, the creators of the ‘rainforest’ have scaled down on their promise — only rivers!  

A rainforest, one understands, is a luxuriant, dense forest, rich in biodiversity, and found typically in tropical locales which are usually blessed with heavy and consistent rainfall. You can’t have a rainforest by deforestation. The city authorities who often show concern for the vanishing green cover seem content to simply look the other way. What makes them do so is obvious. 

It is said that among birds, an eagle alone can dodge a storm by flying above it, while the other feathered creatures seek shelter. However, an old Indian aphorism has it that not even an eagle can soar above money!

The creators of the ‘Rainforest’ and the powers that be who sanction such projects with little concern for the city’s green cover have rendered the adage true to the core!
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