None of the feel good articles in the media has been able to cheer up the spirits of Shimla residents when it comes to the talk of a white Christmas. It was 19 years back when Shimla last woke up to a white Christmas. White Christmas in Shimla now seems to be a bed time fairy-tale to be told to our children!!
The snow cycle has already shifted from early December to mid January and the pace with which we are ‘progressing’, the snow all together will stop visiting Shimla in the coming years. Previous winters was an indication of the times to come when it did not snow at all.
‘White Christmas or not, Shimla gets ready for tourists’ screamed a headline from a daily. Christmas in Shimla was always white as the elders in the city recall. But in the past twenty years the city has changed a lot. So much so, that in my 35 years of existence in the city, the changes marked in the past two decades are remarkable! New colonies and townships appeared paving way for a large scale dis- appearing of the green cover, a construction boom and huge jump in the city population. Like everything the govt. plans, Shimla was allowed to expand without any thought given to create infrastructure in the city.
The lucky ones get water third day in summers in Shimla. The unlucky ones do not get at all. There is no space to walk on roads. There is no place to park the vehicles. There is no place for children to play.
The city which was once crowned as the ‘Queen of Hills’ got re-christened as the ‘Garbage Queen’.
It took three days, 10 fire engines and a High Court order to control the ‘garbage fire’ in the city. The municipal commissioner, Shimla was quoted as:
“The toxic gaseous emissions from the waste polythene, buried as deep as 300 metres, are harmful. I have gone through first-hand experience of its effect on the health. I stood there for hours.”
For the record, he supervised the fire extinguishing operation for 11 hours
What he did not say, it was only after the High Court gave him a 24 hour ultimatum that everyone at the MC rushed down to the ‘Darni ka Bageecha’ to douse the flames.
For a moment one may ask who runs Shimla city? Is it the Government, the MC or the courts?? The High Court had earlier intervened to streamline the parking problem in the city too. Can the Court ask our city fathers how the snow capped mountains turned into big garbage dumps?
As I write this article, I feel like I am writing obituary of Shimla. All that is left now is to bury the city.
DD Shimla will telecast a 30 minutes film, For Whom The Jingle Bells Toll at 7.30 pm on Friday, Dec 25. The film has been directed by National award-winning film maker Vivek Mohan who also happens to be a Shimla resident . It revolves around seeking answer to a simple question, will it be a white Christmas ever?
Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas, and hoping Shimlaites have something to ‘cheer’ tomorrow, after inhaling the garbage fumes throughout the week.
Do let us know your thoughts and feedback.
Pic courtesy: The Indian Express