- Deepa Krishnan
The area outside my office has dense green tree cover, keeping the entire street cool and shady, and protecting us from sun and rain.
Today when I drove up to work, I found a tree-felling operation in progress:
A big tree standing right opposite our office was dead, and the municipality guys had been called to fell it. I spoke to the guy in charge; he had a digital camera and a sheet with instructions on which trees to cut, and which to trim. He explained that the tree opposite our office was rotten, and needed to be cut.
Our local istriwallah agreed, and gave me some rustic advice "Jhaad andar sey sad gaya hai madam", he said. "Bahut dino se baas aa raha hai". Apparently, you can smell a rotten tree in the rains. I do not know if this little piece of dehati wisdom is true, because I couldn't smell anything strange.
But in any case, the cutting had begun. There was a man on top of a dead branch (can you see him in the photo below?), hacking away with a small axe. They had tied ropes to the branch. When it weakened, guys standing below would tug on the ropes and the branch would come crashing down.
Along with this dead tree, several other trees were being trimmed, based on requests made by residents of a nearby building. A couple of months ago, a branch from one of the trees fell down and dented a car. So that's why the municipality had been called in.
I stood and watched as big branches came crashing down all over the street. It felt terrible, really, even if one tree was supposedly dead, the rest were still alive and were being trimmed with gusto. Once a big branch had been brought down, it was then chopped into little bits. The tools used were basic: sickles to cut off small portions, and two-man saws for larger trunks. Every now and then, the saw would need to be sharpened.
Eventually around 1:00, I went outside to check on the status. The entire set of trees on our street had been decimated. There used to be a pretty green canopy on my street earlier, but now it looked grim and bare.
A sorry morning, really, all in all. So much beauty lost. I am wondering how to plant another tree. Do you know any organisations that can help?