They dug it and forgot
I want a road without dogs, without ditches and without trenches
DR. RUMANA MAKHDOOMI
That old couple had come to see us on a fateful day, when, after a long break the sunlight had shown its streaks and melted the forgotten snow everywhere, including the lanes leading to our home in Buchpora. When we opened our doors to receive them, we heard them gasp, we saw them pant, and we looked at their anxious faces – they hesitated to come inside, they were jittery when we approached them for a handshake – after all, they were civilized human beings who wouldn’t enter someone’s house smudged with mud upto their knees, their hands too were off, as before entering our gate they had utilized them to clean- whatever they could. Before they could enter, they asked for water not to quench their thirst but to clean their hands and shoes. Finally they slumped inside, we wrapped them in blankets and warmed the room for them. I was worried for them, the lady was diabetic, and the old man -a patient with many ailments.
I felt guilty: to see me – they had risked their lives, staggered through slippery mud and negotiating heaps of snow and dirt, they had made it to my home. Their car was parked 2 KM’s away – the driver refused to move the car further. How they would have made it to our home on those shoes that seemed too tiny to get across the thick and thin mud, how their osteoarthritic legs would have lost their balance on these unforgettable roads - was un imaginable. I don’t remember having seen any mud, for that matter any mess of this magnitude at any time in my life. I wish the old couple would have been wiser not to tread this way as I had requested them. I wish they would have gone back, the moment they saw with their own eyes the plight of our road, the way another old lady with diabetic feet left- after the vehicle which carried her could not make it to our lane – no regrets, we exchanged greetings on 90 Feet Road, when her son called us there.
O’ I don’t count my troubles, how I became an inhabitant of a ‘cut off zone’, how the comfort of a car was taken away from me, as, they dug that road to the left of our home, then the one to our right. They went on, to dig the road on the front and then, the one on our backside. Successfully, they made trenches on four sides of our home, decorated it with heaps of what came out, and trapped us quietly inside – the powerless, helpless, people who were unaware as to how much more would be dissected, for how long and why?
I remember the summer of year 2000 when that heavy wheeled engine rolled over these roads for macdamization. After that great happening, never again did we see it, but, this winter that hook and lever machine popularly called JCB pierced every corner of it to create those fearful trenches. The project started in December 2011, with snow and rain lashing Srinagar for the last five months – we and our families are left frozen inside. Men avoid mosques, children have to be carried in laps to the nearest stop, and for those who really need to go out – long boots are a must!
With such a major happening which has brought our life to a standstill, why don’t we know the purpose of this digging? What are they planning to do with our roads – why isn’t there any information about what is going on? If our suffering was anticipated, why weren’t any warnings given, any precautions advised? How will the children and elderly be taken care of in such a catastrophe? What about those who need medical attention? Will they be airlifted, or special squads will carry them on stretchers to the nearest motorable road? Who will pay for those long boots? Why couldn’t the authorities provide them – as it is because of their doing that we need them? Will our children get concession in schools and colleges for coming late? Who will pay for that extra hour we spend in negotiating the non-negotiable every day?
I am told digging has a purpose, but does not have an order? And does it have an end? Is December the ideal time for digging? Should all roads be dug simultaneously, to cause the chaos that has been created or it could have been done in a planned manner – digging one road but keeping another link patent?
While all is going on, we are finding natural waste dumping areas in those trenches – we should produce adequate waste to fill those, that is possibly the only hope for us.
Going across the city, the JCB has left its mark on every road and link road and there goes a board standing in the middle of a half dug road in the heart of what was a reasonable road sometime back. ‘Defacement of roads is a crime’. Who is the criminal – is my query for today?
I don’t dream big, I dream for a road – safe one and a clean one A road, without dogs, without ditches and without trenches for me, my family and for those oldies who can’t stand it. It is a different story –how we carried that old couple back home ….Thank God they made it!
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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