Bunny and I had always lived in apartments, and it was her dream to one day have a home with a small patch of grass, a lawn.
When some 20-odd years ago we moved to our house in the National Media Centre in Gurgaon, Bunny thought her dream was finally about to be realised. The house came with a tiny front yard which she wanted to cover with grass.
Her hope was soon dashed, however, because along came a greedy developer who built monstrous office buildings around us which blocked all our sunlight. No sunlight, no grass, no grass, no lawn.
So, we paved our front yard with bricks and turned it into a patio, enlivening the space with potted plants and flowers.
Then one day we noticed that our neighbour whose house is as sunless as ours, had overnight magically acquired a lush green lawn.
Inquiries revealed that the sudden greening of our neighbour’s yard didn’t involve any botanical jadoogiri but was the result of employing artificial grass, sometimes known as astro turf, often used in sports such as tennis in lieu of the real thing.
We’d heard of artificial grass but hadn’t realised its increasing popularity among domestic users thanks to the many advantages it offers as compared with real grass.
You don’t need to have a green thumb to ‘grow’ it. It’s easy to keep clean. At Rs 75 a square foot – the price we paid in Gurgaon – it’s light on the wallet. It can give you a look-alike lawn on your balcony. And, most importantly of all, it doesn’t need to be watered.
Water is an increasingly scarce natural resource in Gurgaon, as it is in more and more places in India and in the world. In that it helps conserve the precious liquid, artificial grass scores major brownie points over its real counterpart, and is the preferred choice among those concerned with environmental protection.
The American sociologist Thorstein Veblen who coined the term ‘conspicuous consumption’ cited the lawn as an example of this, a status symbol showing the person who had it didn’t need to put the land to grow food.
Thanks to the artificial variety today a lawn can be a symbol of conspicuous conservation, showing that the grass is greener on the eco-friendly side.
This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.
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