Sunday, May 27, 2007

They ravaged my green town

The Nasik I lived in as a child was a small town.

Families knew each other. To begin with, there weren't too many, anyway. A few thousands, amongst them a few were natives of the place and the rest migrants.

There were good schools and streets were safe enough to walk to school.

What a joy it was to walk to school as the academic session began in June. Rains would be pouring down and one's biggest dilemmas in life were whether to wear the raincoat over the school-bag slung on the back or to save the bag in some other way.

Streets were more like avenues where ancient trees dotted the walks on either sides and the road. The streets were punctuated on either sides with villas and old style bungalows in stone and wood.

This part of India has always been safe for women and children to walk the street even at 2 am, barring a few, very rare mishaps.

So we could scamper to an aunt's place even at an unearthly hour, chaperoned or otherwise.

Job and marriage took me away to Mumbai first and to Delhi next. Now Nasik is the place I visit in summer holidays and it still is the cool, lovely and clear air here that draws me at least once annually, apart from my maiden family that remains here.


Lots has changed as the rapid and planned industrialization has brought people from all over India flocking to the place. Can't blame the peoples' influx, its God's land and no one owns it.

I lament however, the change of fabric of the city.

The old, 'colonial' plus the 'native Indian' mixed look and feel is gone.

Malls, huge residential complexes and huge roads sans trees make the face of the city now. The population is maybe twenty times more of what it as two decades ago.

It still is safe. But the feel of 'my town' and a sense of ownership and responsibility is missing.
I do not recognize the place, the people and at times feel like an alien...

They ravaged my town in the name of there a 999 helpline I can call?!!! Is there a Ctrl Z on this, anyone???!

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