Madam tree death during the clearing This is part 2 of a 3 part post.

Last week I was telling you how they’ve started building in the lot next door to my apartment.

They sent in JCBs to bulldozer the mature trees, in the acre of land my apartment looks over. It was horrible.

But as they say, that’s progress.

They’ll have done the same thing to build the complex I live in, so it’s ridiculous to be as upset as I am.

Because to be honest, it felt like they’d murdered those trees.

Living here was made sweet for me by the trees. The sounds I love are the birds that used to live there, and they also protected me from the sounds I don’t love: traffic on the roads, and the other building sites near here.

There are more of those than I realised: now that I can hear them, it would appear that there are about four site in full on construction close to the house.

But at first, it wasn’t the fact that general sounds were more amplified that was the problem. No, it was the fact they were drilling a bore well directly outside.

This is the most noisy process I’ve experienced in this most noisy of countries. Which is saying somethings as I used to live next to a temple in Kerala that blasted out ear splitting mantras for 48 hours around festival time. Oh and then there was the mosque at the end of the lane, that stayed up all night chanting the apparently copious names of Mohammed one entire weekend.

India is a noisy place.

But bore well drilling is something else. The water table has decreased so much in Bangalore thanks to all the building, that it’s not just a quick drill below the surface as it used to be: no, now they have to go at least 400 metres underground.

They drill for 20 minutes, and then there is a sound like 3 tonne of gravel being emptied out, which is presumably clearing the matter that has been drilled away. That gets dumped out and a massive cloud of gravel dust is produced.

It sounded as though they were doing all this in my living room.

Every 20 minutes from 6am to 10pm for four solid days.

I nearly went mad.

Not only was I still rather upset about the tree death thing, but my living room was filling up with dust. It was creeping round my single glazed ill fitting windows… looking across my room, it was actually hazy.

And as we know, Indian dust is a thing to behold without added construction work.

I contacted my landlord about getting a rent reduction. He’s an expat Indian living in Texas. He pretty much shooed me away with the kind words that ‘it wouldn’t go on for more than 10 days, it was only bore well drilling’.

10 freaking days?!

No sleep, no trees, no birds, and a hell of a lot of hideous dust, drilling and unwanted direct sunlight heating the house much more than usual.

No, just no.

Worse, the first day Sudha worked after most of the trees had been knocked down, machines were in the lot moving the felled trees about. JCBs were pushing the trees into a big ugly pile.

I looked up from work, and Sudha wasn’t doing her usual listless dusting, she was just standing limply staring out the window, the duster lose in her hand.

Even by her standards this was a new level of work shy, so I called over to ask if she was ok. Slowly she looked up, and flapped the duster at the view – her movement took in the trees, the devastation and the JCBs and she said so very softly, ‘My husband’.

And I realised, that much as I hate seeing the trees being torn down: it’s different, and much worse for her. Her husband was killed by a JCB driven by a reckless man. How much more appalling for her to come across them unexpectedly where she least expected them.

Obviously I rushed over and gave here a cuddle. But that can’t even begin to comfort her for her loss. She valiantly shook me off and carried on dusting, oddly with a bit more vigour than before, but all the same. I felt doubly awful.

I miss those trees, but they are only trees. Poor woman.

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Obviously it’s time to think about moving. But where?

Read part 1 – Bulldozers in paradise

Read part 3 – The birds didn’t know where to roost

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If you’d like to read a little more about where I live, then check these earlier, less tree related posts

Video : 1 minute holiday : Sunrise at Rethink Central, India

The gas bottle: the REAL reason I eat raw

My neighbourhood dryad: the water walla

And if you’ve got any thoughts on sneaky tree death, do please share them below.