” Dehra was a green and leafy place. The houses were separated by hedges not walls and the residential areas were crisscrossed by little lanes bordered by hibiscus or oleander bushes”.
( Friends from small places)
This was the Dehra my father grew up in. This was the Dehra I was familiar with though some walls had come up between the houses and the leafy places were getting fewer.
This is not the description of Dehra anymore. All I see around me are houses , tall palatial buildings with their gardens hidden behind tall walls. I see cars parked on lanes because the people while building their palatial houses forgot to build garages. I see old canal on E.C. road covered to widen the road, but still no place for the people to walk.
In the Dehra I grew up in I could see the mountain from the rooftop of our modest one storey high house. I could see whether it had snowed in Mussorie or not. I saw spectacular sunsets in which hues of orange,yellow ,blue ,gray all blended together. Now from my rooftop I am lucky if I catch a glimpse of the mountains, sunset…..have yet to see one.
People say it is the march of time, the town has to progress , infrastructure needs to be provided to people. Seems to me that progress has somehow become synonymous with cutting down trees to build luxury apartments affordable to a select few (beware if you are planning to invest in any,Dehra is in high seismic zone) . Progress seems to mean more vehicles on the road so that you are barely able to walk ( or cycle!). Progress seems to mean garbage all over the city , even in the river beds, choking them. Why cant progress go side by side with nature? Why if some trees are cut down for a road and equal or a greater number of trees planted to compensate for that? Why cant affordable ecofriendly houses be built which blend in rather than stick out like sore thumbs.
While I was writing this a bird perched on the wire high above our house started warbling. It’s lilting music made me realize that maybe all is not lost still. There is still some hope as long as the birds sing.
If only the people would stop and listen to their music