Vimala woke up that day early in the morning. Usually she wakes up at 4.00 so that she could finish her morning business before the entire community wakes up, usually all the women in the community does the same thing, but this day still woke up even earlier. That must be because of the noise that was coming from the huge vehicles that passed through her house. She just came out in eagerness to see what is happening around and found most of her company stood out. She didn’t know it was 2.00 in the morning as her house had no clock. There were conversations going on that approximately it could be 3.00 in the morning while some one loudly announced the time as 2.00. Vimala could see the frustration in everyone’s face and obviously on her’s too on the mirror. It was chill night with a freezing temperature of 2 degrees as per the prediction of weather reporters and it must be less than the predicted temperature as the community lives on the bank of Yamuna. Still she was wondering what why those vehicles passed around this early in the morning. The moon was shining like a diamond and the reflected rays from the roof of the closely packed houses served the purpose of streetlights which never glow.
Vimala walked out of her house and saw Sheena her neighbor.
“Arey Sheena!, tu bhi ut gayi?” [Hey Sheena! you too woke up]
“haan didi! voh kuch aawaz aayi thi na” [Yes Sister!, I heard the noise]
“chalo achca hai, mein soch rahi thi ki akele kaise jaaoon” [I was wondering how will I go alone]
“haan didi!, mein bhi chalti hoon, ab jaldi ut gayi tho…” [Yes Sister!, I’ll also join you, I’ve also woken up early…]
“didi paani le liya na?” [Sister, have you take water?]
“kyun?, jaa tho hain hum nadhi ke kinaare par” [Why?, aren’t we going to the river base?]
“nahi didi, nadhi ka paani mein haath rakha tho bhimari fhail jaayegi” [No Sister, We’ll be infected if we touch the river water].
Vimala gave a smile and both walked to the bank of the river and the conversation continued.
“Arey Sheena!, mujhe samaj mein nahi aa rahi hai ki yeh bada bada macheene kayku aayi, tujhe pata hai ka?” [Hey Sheena!, I was wondering why these big machines came here!. Do you know it?]
“hume ka pata didi, ho saktha hai colony mein paani ki tankee banana ke liye aaya ho” [How do I know sister!, probably it might have come for the construction of water tank in the colony]
“haan ho saktha hai” [ Yes its possible]
This was what the entire colony thought because they have fought with the government for a couple of months back for the same. The men at the community started to disperse when the clock read 8.00. They all were mostly rickshaw pullers, a few were working at the near by industry [plays a major role in polluting the river]. The women resumed their household business once the men were off. Vimala was so happy that day as she dreamt of avoiding walking a long distance to bring water to her house. She also went on to cook ‘kheer’ that day which is only made during festivals. In fact the same was the case with the other houses too.
Suddenly Vimla recognized Sheena running into her house. Sheena shouted
“didi, didi!, meine jo bana rahi thin a voh kheer jal gayi” [Sister, sister, the sweet dish I made burnt off].
“hey bhagwan, mein tho dar hi gayi thi”, [Oh God!, I really got scared]replied Vimala.
“bachaooo!... arey koi tho inhe rokho!!.... yeh kya ho raha hai!!!.... [Help!... Hey!, some one stop these guys!!... What the hell is happening here!!!...] they both heard these screaming and rushed out of their home.
Yes all these were happening there at their colony. No one knew or even thought about this. The machine which they thought in the morning which would fetch them water, was not turning out to be the Devil!. The things were thrown out and the vessels rolled on the road. Vimala felt that the machine that they were wondering as the one which came to fetch them water now turned out to take off their houses. Yes, the demolition operations were ‘ON’. Vimala couldn’t even think what she can do, within a flash she ran in back to the house and started to pack things of her new born baby into a bag. She didn’t even have more bags to pack the rest of the things.
People were screaming and running all around and slowly the news started to spread off that this operation is carried out because the government was planning to build a games village at the selected sight for the forthcoming common wealth games and this operation was carried out because of that. Vimala just ran out of the house with the bag and her child and found that the destruction machine was just a few meters away from her house. She just tried to join the other group of people and watch the rest. It took two more hours for them to do the complete operations.
“Silence” was the only language left over there at that time. Even the children didn’t cry. The dust particles which came from the destructed buildings were still in the air creating dusky atmosphere. The moisture in the air gave a darker look to the scene. People were just concentrating on re-locating their things here and there, trying to collect as many as possible.
Suddenly a vehicle rushes in with a huge noise and an announcement followed from that.
“Sarkar ne yahan par 2010 ki hone wale ‘common wealth games’ ke liye ek khel gaon banane ka soch rahe hain. Isliye aap sab logon ka ghar thoda gaya kyunki is jagah ko aap log kanoon ke khilaaf kabza kiye hain. Aap sab logon ko iske alawa delhike border ke paas doosra jaga diya jaayega. Jin logon ke paas apne pehchaan patr hai ve kal subah taluk office mein aake apne zameen ke kagazon le jaa sakthe hain”.
[The government is thinking to make a games village here for the upcoming commonwealth games in 2010. So your houses were abolished because you’ve occupied this land against the law and order. You all will get an alternate house allotted by the government somewhere in the border of Delhi. You are requested to come and collect the papers related to the house allotted to you from Taluk Office tomorrow. Houses will be allotted only for those who carry their identity cards]
“array , 10 saal ke baad hone wale khel ke liye ek gaon banane ke liye soch rahe hain, aur uske liye 10000 logon ka ghar thodenge, aur oopar se bolenge ki hamaara ghar kanoon ke khilaaf banaya gaya. Kya hamaara desh mein hum rehna kaanoon ki khilaaf hai”…. [The government thinks for making a games village for a game which is going to happen 10 years later and for doing that they will demolish houses of more than 10000 people and above all they will say that we are criminals as we have made our houses without permission. Is it a crime to live in our own country?] Uttered someone while dispersing.
Yes these people were forced to move out of the banks of Yamuna, the reason being Yamuna getting polluted. But no one can understand the pain they had that day. It will go on the books and records as an achievement of government on the process of the river cleaning [focused on the common wealth games village], but it will always remain as a black day for the people who left their life and livelihood there.
Few months later, they were moved to a new colony which had a house without roof, streets without road, street lights without electricity and taps without water.
“Sheena!, lagta hai ki ab phir se hume hamaari ladayi shuru karni padege” [Sheena!, it seems that we have to re-iterate our fight]…said Vimala.
“haan didi, yeh aapke liye theesri baar hogi!!: [Yes, sister exclaimed Sheena!]…
Six years later they have reached a state where their colony has got all the basic facilities. They also came to know that they have Right to Information Act now…They brought in all the facilities into the colony and it started to develop. Years rolled on.
Yet another early morning… Vimala woke up hearing the sound of a huge vehicle passing her house.
“Hey Bhagwan!!!!....phir se nahi!” [Oh God!!!!...not again!]