There is an empty rectangular land right across the road in our apartment. This place is always visible from our window or the balcony and has been left unattended since we came here.
Most of the time in the year, it is covered with green grass, shrubs and herbs. It has a few Eucalyptus trees in the edge, bordering our apartment and a few old houses built for God-only-knows reasons, which are half ruins now. It also has a Christmas tree right in the middle of it, but I have never seen it being decorated in any of those Christmas celebrations over the last few years.
During the winters, when the shrubs are dried up and half dead, some people with torches in their hand would come and set the entire area on fire - the shrubs, half burnt by the scorching sun burn like hay stacks. It becomes a mini forest fire, every time they do that.
Every day, one would see cattle, a bird or a couple of squirrels playing around the bushes or the roof of that nearest house in the field. There would be a regular chameleon, changing its color every time I look at it, over the boundary wall that bifurcates the two properties. It has a lovely eco system in itself and with a cup of tea, when you stand in the balcony watching these tiny world, you would feel calm, silent and happy.
And the days went by…
Today morning, there were a few people with a few more hands who inspected the entire field and they started cleaning it up. Till now, they have only cut the bushes around and the work is in progress. We are worried if this small (read Big Property) piece of land is also going to give away to another sky scrapper (what if it would be only a few storied high building) and we will lose this view and the animals leaving there – forever!
It did not occur to me, until when my wife, in the afternoon, suddenly asked, “now when the cattle return, what will they have to graze on?” And I involuntarily replied, “nothing. The cattle won’t return!”
Sad but true – once upon a time, when the apartment we are staying in was not built, this place used to be a similar place too; actually even better. We heard, there was a vine yard at this place. And now, that place has given in to a 4 storied tall concrete building, accommodating more than 200 people.
We are waiting, with a hope to be able to see the ever playful squirrels and chirping lovely birds and the horrible family of chameleons, for some more time; hope we get to stand in our balcony and count the grazing cattle, for some more mornings.