In a city like ours, in a life like ours, the brief seconds of something akin to natural beauty that we see along our roads-the shrivelled palm trees, the wild uncontrollable keekar, the brilliantly vibrant bouganvillae, the odd wild flower in the pavement-sub consciously eases our stress. Granted its not islamabad-and thank god for that-but in its own rebellious way, karachi has come into its own, naturally. Which is why what i heard yesterday made me angry-made me extremely mad.
To provide uninterrupted view of an ugly huge billboard, the contractor of this said monstrosity was merrily chopping down the tops of all trees which dared to raise their head. I am not talking about pruning, it was actual brutal chop chop chop, with no sense of aesthetics, or any feeling of sympathy with the poor trees.
How have we allowed this useless billboard association of sindh to exist? It has no influence on any of the contractors, it has no concept of what the general principles of putting up billboards are, and it has absolutely no heart. Are we so desperate to sell our products that we dont care if the vehicle for our marketing covers windows in apartment buildings so the residents cant breathe, or stick their head out for some air? Are we so blinded by consumerism that we must put up billboards of every possible shape and size in every possible nook and cranny, blocking out every little patch of sky? Or are we just victims of our own needs, greed, where we need money, where we want more money?
When we were growing up, there were so many references to the sky. We looked up at the sky and the stars, talked about our dreams, discussed our lives, fantasized about the future-we drew the sky in blue, with white fluffy clouds, we sang songs about starry nights, we had bonfires under the midnight black sky, and we lived with colour, ideas, hopes. Without the sky to look up to, without sparkling stars to see, without patches of clouds to make shapes out of, what kind of a childhood are we promising our children?