For many years, I have been seeing this in my dreams. I guess I would see the same for the rest of my life. That's why I have put it down here in the form of a story with fictional characters:
Sarat entered the gated community of the Dreamland Township in his Scorpio along with his wife, Keethi. After filling up his few details in the register at the security desk, he was asked to park his car in the parking lot a few yards away from the gate. It was a tall building with several floors that already had many cars parked inside.
‘Where is the community office?’ enquired Sarat.
‘It’s 2km from here. The next bus arrives in 10min. You can wait at the bus stop or hire bicycles from there’, said the security guard pointing at a cycle shop nearby.
‘Isn’t it possible to take our vehicle?’ asked Sarat, wondering why on earth they had to take a bus or a bicycle.
‘No motor vehicles allowed inside the community, sir. All the cars and bikes have to be parked at the gate itself’, clarified the guard who was used to explaining this to the surprised visitors.
The couple waited at the bus stop and boarded the bus that arrived after 10min. The greenery, the serenity, the neatness, and the tranquility of the place amazed them. After a 5min ride, they got down at the community office. After stating their purpose of visit to the security guard, they learned that there were other families who had come for the same – that was to hire a flat in the community.
All the 50+ visitors were led to a small room in the building. After 2min a lady in her late twenties, named Sandhya, entered the room, and introduced herself as the proprietor of the community. She was clad in a cotton sari, and looked decent and well educated.
‘Hello everyone, I am glad to see you all here. I believe you loved the place, and that’s why planned to stay here. Before you decide, I want to introduce you to a few rules and regulations we are ought to follow here’, Sandhya addressed the gathering in an authoritative, yet polite, voice.
‘We have 400 houses in this township spread across a land of 5sq.km. Every house is identical with a carpet area of 1400sq.ft, and is surrounded by a garden of 100sq.ft. Only 50% of the township is covered with living area, 30% with greenery, and the rest is for allied activities. The houses are leased out for tenure of 5 years. The pamphlet that was provided to you during your previous visit contains all the facilities available here.
· A medical center to cater to emergency cases or common ailments
· A few medical stores
· A water treatment unit that recycles water for gardening purposes
· A paper recycling unit
· Rain water harvesting units
· A reputed school that takes in pupils from play school till PUC
· A huge library where you can sell your old books and rent new ones
· A swimming pool, a sports center, and a gym
· Children’s play areas
· Commercial centers to provide groceries, clothes, footwear, stationery, and what not!
· Community halls to arrange for parties/functions
However, we are very strict in terms of maintaining the sanctity of this place. To do so, we need a little support from the residents. We expect you to adhere to these norms during your stay:
· Absolutely NO vehicles inside the campus. All motor vehicles are to be parked in the parking lot near the main gate. Buses are available every 15min to take you to any place inside the campus. You might also use bicycles.
· No littering or spitting allowed in the campus. Security guards are posted everywhere, and if they catch you, you will be fined as much as 1000Rs.
· No plastic bags. If found carrying one, you will be fined 1000Rs.
· Water meters are fitted to each house to check your water consumption’
Sandhya replied, ‘You are right. This place has abundant water. But, can you imagine what would happen after 10 years? Do you know that most drought areas in India were filled with abundant water a few decades back? If only the people were more conscious about how they utilized water, if only the educated ones started rain water harvesting, the areas might be in a better position now.’
The visitors nodded approvingly. Sandhya continued, ‘the best time to save our natural resources was 20 years back. The next best time is now’.
Everyone applauded. Sandhya was pleased with herself for conveying the message very clearly. How I wish I were her!