Hackers 2.0

On Monday, Arunachalam, who was working for us on the Upper field, returned from lunch and (quite casually) asked me, “Did you let someone cut down your Porcha-maram?” Judging by his casualness, I assumed that it was some small tree. And in the heat, I had no interest in going and looking at the site of a cut-down tree. So, I just said, “Of course, not. Some bloody thief again”, and we carried on with our respective work.

Later that evening, when Sonati and I were sitting on the Hippo rock, Varun joined us and immediately said, “Oh, someone has cut down a big tree”, and pointed to a gash in the landscape.

How come we didn’t hear the sound of the hacking? Sonati and I (and the boys to some extent) are so “tuned-in” to that sound that we start up from sleep if it happens.

Next day, we took a look at the place: It was a clean cut with a saw! That is why the operation was silent.

A silent hack

A silent hack

And what’s more, the felled tree was still lying in the undergrowth, having damaged a couple of others in its fall. It is a tricky spot; so has the thief let it lie, intending to come back later, with help?

The felled tree

The felled tree

The Porcha-maram is a tree used to make ploughs, and as with most other native trees, it can now be found only on our land. I suppose we should feel thankful that it is someone whom wants a plough who has chopped down the tree. Who knows the state of things to come? We have heard horror stories of Timber Mafias operating near Auroville, with chain-saws and trucks. If that comes to pass here, we may hark back to the idyllic time when thieves operated only on a Need-to basis and not for the market.

The "gash in the landscape"

The “gash in the landscape”

After all, till yesterday, it was the sound of hacking that was an alarm call for us. Today, without any hacking sounds, we are on edge: a continuous High-alert.

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2 Responses to “Hackers 2.0”

  1. candicoot Says:

    That isn’t nice at all 😦
    There are people who cut trees near our area. The trouble is, the boundaries between Auroville/village land are very fuzzy so even if the tree cutters operate in broad daylight most people can’t tell if it’s legal or illegal. However, after the 2011 cyclone we had a bulldozer ( going to repair an electric pole that was in the farm) smash straight through the fence and run down a jackfruit tree. His excuse apparently was ‘ oh, I thought this was Auroville land.’ There’s also a band of Narikuravas who come to hunt mongoose. Am I glad we have a fence+ 3 dogs!

  2. Gauri Says:

    Happy to see the blog post ! And have you back on the radar again bringing back memories of the Thekambattu trip. That said feel worried for you guys so please take care and special love to you all,Gaurididi

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