We may be Muslims, saab, but we cannot cut this peepal tree. His name is Rahim and his band of workers sound Muslim too. The carpenter --- Maulana saab. The painters --- Abdul and Ismail. The plumber --- Yaqub. I didn’t hire him because of who he was (or who he thinks he is) but because he’s a competent contractor. And among the many other jobs that a house needs, cutting the peepal tree on the terrace of our landlord’s apartment was one. The tree, like thousands on Delhi buildings and millions across north India, was a hazard to the building. My generally invisible neighbours brought it to my notice. The tree had to go. Period.
Opinion in The Indian Express, March 17, 2008