Monday, April 16, 2007

My favorite tree

The intense heat of last summer seemed suppressed as the Municipal planted two new saplings near the roadside. Yes, green leafy fast growing plants they were, very healthy and it was quite obvious that they would become fine trees and adorn the bare Bangalore roads. As they grew, however, I saw one of them cringe and shrivel up and I thought that plant will die…but you see, that wasn’t the case. That plant put up a brave fight, and with the help of a little water, it revived, and continued to grow in a healthy manner. I was just waiting for the day when the plant would finally become a tree, and then that tree would grow, and flowers would blossom and I was eagerly waiting. I don’t know why. I liked that plant very much…

On a recent jostle about “Car Parking” space, a neighbor requested us to accommodate their vehicle next to ours, but their car took up a lot of space, not leaving any space for us. We politely refused. The Woes of Bangalore are reaching their peak—everyone owns a car, and nobody had any space!! In every corner and nook, vehicles are stuffed, and my beloved city is choking. The neighbor was in a dilemma. She persisted, and we continued to make her understand our situation.
“ Why don’t you park in front of your own house instead of choosing our compound?” my mother asked.
“No, we can’t park there! We have a coconut tree planted right there, and if some coconut falls down, our car will be damaged!!” argued the neighbor.
“We are sorry, please consider…”
The neighbor was irritated and offended.
“Fine!” she said haughtily and retreated. “ I can make better arrangements!”

Anger is blind. Frustration is even more dangerous. The next day, I learned that my favorite tree had been axed to accommodate the neighbor’s car. I was devastated. I rushed to see my tree…and there it was. Completely chopped down. Uprooted. Leaves hanging meekly from the last remains of the tree. I almost cried. You see, that plant had the right to live, it should not have been axed like that. That plant had survived a horrible summer, and it had lived for many days without water. It was growing, and very well too. It struggled a whole year for survival, but for what? For being chopped down mercilessly like that? My plant should have survived…

The irony of the situation is, even after they cut down that plant, the space was still too small to accommodate the car. That plant had to be butchered for just “being in the way”. My plant was sacrificed, for no apparent cause. All this was done, the neighbor said, to prevent cutting the “coconut” tree of their house. For one tree to live, the other had to die…and that plant, if it had a voice, would be screaming about the injustice done to it if it only had a voice. But I shall be the dead plant’s voice, and I will speak for it…..and I would like to conclude by the short poem written by Gieve Patel:
It takes much time to kill a tree
Not a simple job of the knife
Will do it. It has grown
Slowly consuming the earth,
Rising out of it, feeding upon it’s crust, absorbing
Years of sunlight, air, water,
And out of the leprous hide
Sprouting leaves……………

The roots will be pulled
out of the anchoring earth
It is to be roped, tied, and pulled out-snapped out,
Or pulled out entirely,
Out from the earth’s cave.
And the strength of the tree exposed,
The source white and wet,
The most sensitive, hidden,
For years inside the earth
Then the matter of scorching and choking
In sun and air
Browning, hardening,
Twisting, withering,
And then, it is done.

And that, my friends, is how that growing tree died…


GVK said...

I have half a mind to drop in at your place, Lakshmi. If only to get a glimpse of what a neighbourhood tree-killer looks like.
I wonder if you have read about a college student Somnath, who has a one-man crusade going to save trees in Bangalore.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

I just recieved a letter yesterday from Tinkle magazine and we are forming a local club called "Amar Tinkle Club" including all the little children of the neighbourhood. There are many small Amar Tinkle clubs in various cities, and we have planned to become one. I want to get them all together and make these kids discuss this issue in detail. I can't keep quiet about such things, and if I talk to them, perhaps, the parents could become more sensible.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

P.S. Mr. GVK sir,
I read the article on Mr. Somnath. It was wonderful!Thanks a lot!!

GVK said...

Lakshmi, a good idea. How do you plan to mobilize these clubs?

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

I think I should get them together, and we'll discuss this. I'll take them out to Bugle Rock, Lalbagh botanical gardens, etc, and make them understand how beautiful the city looks if it is adorned with trees. I want each of them to buy a small plant, including me, and all of us will gorw one plant each, and if that is succesful, then, we'll do it every year. Each human being on earth is responsible for cutting down of 7 trees per year, so now,I am responsible for cutting down 112 trees! I want to componsate that!! Another funny matter is that another old man from our road was very angry because of this incident and has decided to plant another seed in that very same place!!

Manjunath said...

i would like to know if there's any forum or club to conserve nature here in mysore, if you know about it, i would like to be part of it..

sandee said...

I have read few of the posts and I feel that most of them somehow touches the life of Bangalorians some why or the other. Keep posting..