On life and its vagaries

Death of an old friend

with 8 comments

I was not at home, so I did not hear it fall. It must have made some noises. Its heart must have cried out at the ingratitude of its fellow beings.

None could have heard it. Trees do not cry out like us. But they do feel Dr. J.C. Bose has proved it. Yet none seems to have attached any importance to it. We turn a deaf ear to the cries of the human beings around us let alone to that of the animals we slaughter by thousands every day.

Such insensitivity is a part of our life. So we take it as natural to cut down a tree. Causes could be many. It could be creating a nuisance to us and neighbors, it could have become old and there is a fear of branches falling down on people or houses. It is said that a tree should be cut down if it is standing quite close to the house even if it is a tree of gold. But not all trees are cut down like that. We do leave some of them uncut.

This one was like that. It was an old mango tree, quite big and with branches spreading out all around. I do not know how long a mango tree would live. Judging by the girth it must have been at least a hundred years old. It was standing there when we began building our house in the next plot. There was a house directly under it at that time. The plots lay very close together and our house now stands brushing shoulders with the old house in the next plot.

The poor tree did both harm and good to us. Its branches lay low over our terrace and practically covered a large portion of our roof. The house enjoyed a good deal of shade in the summer, and it was a blessing. But it also shed its leaves by thousands on our uncovered terrace. This was a nuisance, for we had to clean it up every alternate day or it would clog the drainage pipes from the roof. There were also a large number of insects crawling under the dry leaves. Some of them could be potentially dangerous.

My dear wife used to complain about it every now and then. When the mango season comes the complaint would reach its height. The old tree used drop hundreds of mangoes on to the roof of our house. At night it was difficult, for every now and then there will be a loud thud, and then again and then again. I used to laugh at it and comfort my wife, saying that the noise would keep the robbers at bay. She refused to be comforted because it was her sleep which was being affected.

I had a soft corner for the giant tree, and used to talk of saving it when the neighbors felt it was time to cut it down. It was not because any of the usual “store house of oxygen” sort of stuff I believed in. Of course there was that, but more than that, I used to sit under it and meditate, not deeply but you know just a gentle meditation or more correctly practice a technique of relaxation. The tree used to spread over me and sort of sooth me in my effort.

But there were other considerations than that of mine and the tree was marked for cutting. Then strangely there was a dearth of wood cutters who could cut down the giant tree without it falling down on both of the houses. At last some were found and the tree was cut down. I felt grieved at heart, for I have this strange attachment towards the trees and I do not know why. It has nothing to do with other things in general. It was a feeling deep inside me. I do not know what it is, sympathy, and fellow feeling or respect………….

Well the tree was cut down, now when I look towards the place it is strangely empty, and I feel an indefinable sadness for it.


Written by Sam

August 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm

8 Responses

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  1. well, just like you i too love trees and i really, really hate those who cut them down 😦 with/without reason. kolkata is an expert in this field..


    September 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  2. It is sad that I had to allow my mother to cut down a tree recently which I had prevented from felling for so very long. My opposition had created tensions between my parents and me for a long time. The tree had become old and had developed hollows insides. Well it is no more living now.

    I saw the place where it stood in my recent visit to my ancestral home. Well, I am a little sad about it even now. I don’t know why I feel this affinity to the trees, may be I was one in the last birth 🙂


    September 6, 2009 at 8:20 pm

  3. i too feel a strong connection with them, why i dont know.. forget about chopping down, i dont like it when they are ruthlessly pruned..


    September 15, 2009 at 6:48 am

  4. My dear Trisha,

    I have this terror of seeing a Bonsai tree. I always feel somehow responsible for its mutilated state. The things people do fot beauty! To me it has always looked the other side of beauty.


    September 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm

  5. you reminded me of tagore.. he once ordered his pupil to immediately plant a bonsai tree to the ground.. because it looked mutilliated.

    i have often planted big trees in small flower pots.. i guess that too is bonsai
    😦 i just loved trees and having them all over the garden was not enough for me, i planted thirty or so of them in pots.. there were three or four trees among them rest shrubs like rose, beli etc..


    September 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm

  6. Gardening could be fun I know. I assisted my fathers younger sister once in making a garden. It was good to see the plants flower.

    Our house was near a wide alley then, lots of flower trees by the sides of the alley. It will always be strewn with fallen and beautiful flowers. It is a nice memory.

    The ground was sandy, a wonderful sight in the mornings, the speckled white of of the sand contrasting with the many colored flower petals in the ground, never wanted to step on them………….


    September 18, 2009 at 5:36 pm

  7. i was addicted to gardening 🙂 i just love to be around nature.. west bengal is very fertile.. so its a joy to do gardening here.


    September 20, 2009 at 3:19 pm

  8. Its a wonderful thing to be near flowers 🙂


    September 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm

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