Saturday, 14 June 2014

Hemantha Kalam - 22 'Constructing; The Power of 'Power'

The cawing of the crow chick (baby) was incessant. It fell a few branches down from its nest in the tree, and as its tiny wings are not fully and properly formed, it could not fly back to the nest. It was hobbling and cawing for its parents, who could not be seen in the vicinity. I am no tree climber to help it, but wanted to see whether I can net the tiny crow chick and place it back in its nest.

For this, I needed to first locate the nest and then a fruit picking net. I walked out of my mezzanine floor apartment and pressed for the lift – only to realise that there was no power in the building. I started climbing and climbed and climbed till I could reach the roof top on 6th floor, from where I intended seeing the top of the tree and the nest, if it is there.

My climb ended and I looked around and was aghast to find that the tree is not there anymore. In fact, there is not a single tree, in the entire radius, as much till the eye could see.

Everywhere there are only high rise buildings; each one costing Indian Rupees 15 million and above. It is like a city in a desert straight out of Arabian Nights.

The roof was hot and suddenly, on scalding my naked feet, I realised how hot it has been there. To cool my feet, I opened the water tap that is used to spray water on to the roof top in the evenings, but only heard the empty hiss. I remembered that water was not reaching beyond a couple of floors of the apartment as the pressure was not sufficient.

I could not take in the heat, any more, on my diabetic feet and started hollering in anguish, only to wake up on my bed in the comfort of my bedroom.

So it was a dream! No, not a dream; a nightmare and God, what a nightmare? How foolish of me. Forget the crows and nests; I cannot see any more trees for a long time unless some maverick starts a more aggressive movement for growing trees and forests instead of money and houses, which is happening now!

Infrastructure development and real estate business is being seen as the fastest money earning vehicles and we are all chasing them without seriously realising that we are only running to become slaves! And to facilitate all protocols and procedures – straight or clandestine, we want to closet and cuddle with the politicians - wielding the power!

There is a saying that if you have little money you control the money. But when you have money that you can neither count nor take a pause to spend, you are controlled by the money. You mistakenly think you are empowered by earning money which is only true as long as it is in limits. But by chasing more and more money, you are empowering the money to control you and to enslave you.

Yes, money is important as we need to have some purchase power for leading our lives? But how much is enough? And when do we say enough - when we cannot get enough money anymore?

Money is not uniform; in that it is called by different names in different contexts and countries.

In a place of worship it is called an ‘Offering’  
In a marriage it is called ‘Dowry’ 
In divorce it is called ‘Alimony’ and 
What children get is a ‘Pocket Money’

When you pay the government it is a ‘Tax’ 
In a court of law it is called a ‘Fine’                                                                            
What the retirees receive is a ‘Pension’ and                                                         
What the workers receive is a ‘Wage Salary’

When you borrow it is a ‘Loan’                                                                                   
But what you owe someone it is a ‘Debt’ 
What an accident victim gets is a ‘Compensation’ and 
When you save that money it is ‘Savings’

When you want an unlawful work done you pay a ‘Bribe’                  
What some politicians get in deals is a ‘Kickback’ 
While the same when earned by a broker is a ‘Commission’ and 
By a serving waiter in a restaurant it is a ‘Tip’

If a country gives money to another it is an ‘Aid’ 
An institution to an institution it is ‘Support’ 
An individual to an institution is ‘Donation’ and 
An individual to another individual is ‘Charity Alms’

But it is universal in one single important fact - that it has the ‘power’. The power of exchange; the power of purchase; the power of control and in one single word something that has been converted from being a simple instrument to an instrument of ‘power’! Well, now we see, that is the power of ‘power’! 

 Picture clip courtesy (c) Chromaco

And the construction industry is trying to get this power of ‘power’ by sometimes spreading out indiscriminately into areas that should be preserved.

To construct more and more cities, we are cutting off age old trees, using good agricultural lands and filling good water sources like ponds and lakes. No wonder, we are suffering for want of electricity power, natural water and steep rise in cost of food products.

If we are indiscriminately chasing the money making factories like these, what are we going to eat in future? Are we going to eat Bricks and Cement or Gold, Diamonds and the Paper that money is printed upon? When will we realise the futility of such mad enterprises and realise the importance of natural resources and agriculture?

Though several forums and the governments are doing some work in regard to mitigating the situation,

how far these efforts correlate with the destruction, is what is being looked at in alacrity!

Louis L’Amour, in his 1969 book ‘The Lonely Men’, averred that ‘The Desert is the Enemy of the Careless’ but I would easily like to postulate that ‘We, being Careless, are Creating the Deserts’

How fair is it to remove more and more ‘green cover’ to make more and more ‘green bucks’?

You tell me!

Till then, 

Krutagjnatalu (Telugu), Nanri (Tamil), Dhanyavaadagalu (Kannada), Nanni (Malayalam), Dhanyavaad (Hindi), Thanks (English), Dhonyabaad (Bangla), Gracias (Spanish), Grazie (Italian), Danke Schon (Deutsche), Merci (French), Obrigado (Portuguese), Shukraan (Arabic), Shukriya (Urdu), Aw-koon (Khmer), Kawp Jai Lhai Lhai (Laotian), Kob Kun Krab (Thai) and Asante (Kiswahili).

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy
Chennai, India