Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Tree

I had written this story on 03-June-1991
I was environmentally conscious even then!

It was known as Lakhan chacha's tree. When he grew old, the tree was called Boodha Lankhan's tree. But it was always known as by his name. It grew in the Sarpanch's - the village chief - land. He wanted to get it cut down. He sent a few men one summer afternoon. Lakhan chacha - "I was strong as a bull then" - fought with the three of them. "You have to cut me before you can cut this tree." The tree remained and the villagers named the tree after him.

It was an ordinary tree. Nobody remembers who planted it or why. Bang opposite chacha's house, it had been his constant companion - in bad times and in good. A hundred memories. As a kid he played under its shade when his mother broke grains. He could see the tree from far when he returned from school. It was under the tree that chacha was smitten by Basanti's beauty. She was walking back from the fields, her head down, blushing under the gaze of the village lads. How desirable she looked. The next day he waited alone. As she passed him by, she looked at him and smiled. "My pulse went racing." He went on to marry her. Now there was no one. Only chacha and the tree.

Last summer the heat was oppressive. It was already August and no rains. Another drought. Bore wells were pressed into service to save the crop. But who would water chacha's tree? And one day chacha fell ill. The neighbors sent for his nephew from the nearby town. "This tree is like my mother. Please water it. Don't let it die." Nephew was more interested in what he could take back with him after chacha's death. Chacha a dying. The delayed monsoon finally arrived. The green leaves reappear and then one day chacha died.

The villagers met. Chacha did not have much money. The nephew was not interested to spend any money. Cremation required money. One of them came up with a brilliant idea. "And a fitting one too", said the villagers. So they cut down Lachan chacha's tree and cremated him by using the wood from the tree.

Heavens cried that day.

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Munnabhai Blogger said...

That was a good story. I feel you really have lot of positive energy and thoughts which ought to be shared with the bloggers' community, in order to spread good thoughts and re-build the society in general and India , in particular ! Keep Blogging !

Amitabh Mukherjee said...

Thank you!
That is very encouraging.

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