<---- So this happened. This week, they came and cut down the trees in the empty lot next to my home, so building work can start. It wasn't quite paradise, to be honest, it was just a bit of waste land with some beautiful, well developed trees on it. But even though it was just that, it was one of the joys of my life.
I loved looking up from my work and seeing the wind move through the trees.
And what trees they were – a wild little acre, full of the sorts of trees I didn’t grow up with in chilly old Europe: Indian rain trees, palm trees, red pepper, and gorgeous things I couldn’t name, but had beautiful flowers on them most of the year.
The place was also full of bird life – my eagle neighbours, plus parakeets and fancy coloured things I can’t name. As you can tell, although I’m a fan, I’m not good at properly identifying flora and fauna.
Though there was one thing I could easily identify, of course, endless crows, which are the Indian staple.
Just the week before this all kicked off, I was telling one of my coaching chums that I was truly blessed.
Because, despite living in India, which is usually so noisy – for me, I lived somewhere wonderfully quiet and the most common noise I heard working was the cry of eagles and hawks. And that was beyond cool.
One of the things I get my clients to do is to make a list of the things that give them joy in life – so that they appreciate how much is good in their world. It’s a tiny little coaching trick, but it really works. I ask people to say ‘that makes me really happy’ whenever something does – and you’d be amazed how often during the day you say that. You should try it.
For me, the thing that made me most happy was the sound of the birds, and the strong wind just before the monsoon rains that ruffled all the rain trees. And of course, the light on the trees in the late afternoon – the time we call in film, the ‘magic hour’. The trees looked gorgeous, and most days I’d look up and think how lucky I was to live next to such every day beauty.
Sadly, no more. It started about a year ago, when the palm trees started to die – which was fairly suspicious. You see, you can’t just knock down trees in Bangalore: the city used to be known as the ‘Garden City’ and despite all the expansion, trees are still protected here.
If you want to build a development, you have to work round the trees. Or bribe someone to ignore your tree removal. Or kill the trees off. Once a tree is dead, you can do pretty much what you want to it.
So, when the palm trees started dying, I knew that the idyl next door would be short lived. I was lucky, we had a year from the first palm looking peaky, to the bulldozers coming in last week.
Actually it was the week before that – about 10 days ago. But I was just too upset about the whole thing to be able to write about it. The day the JCBs started knocking them down was awful. It started around lunch time and there was much terrible noise and it upset me so much I was nearly in tears most of the day.
Worse, my whole flat smelt amazing – filled full of the beautiful smell of fresh leaves, sap and resin. Except it wasn’t a lovely walk through the woods – it was tree death I was smelling.
So what am I going to do now? I work from home and I can’t live next to a building site for a year.
Read part 2 – Limply staring out the window
Read part 3 – The birds didn’t know where to roost
If you’d like to read a little more about my home, before they mowed the trees down, check out these posts – and maybe particularly the video. That’s mostly gone now. Sniff.
And if you’ve got any thoughts on sneaky tree death, do please share them below.