“What’s it like, being a tree?” Not having actually been anything else, I might find it hard to make any comparisons. A strange question, but I see where it comes from. I can tell you this, being a tree is far less quiet and slow as you humans make it out to be. It involves supporting the lives of various others, squirrels, birds, insects, bats and even the occasional human. Of course, as far as other trees are concerned I lead a solitary life, but to be a tree is to be an ecosystem. An entire community supporting a plethora of organisms. Every day something new happens around here, a fact I am sure even you humans cannot boast of. It’s far from boring, I can assure you .In some ways I am a residence, in others I am a patriarch. A patriarch to the creatures that is – I provide for them, with both sustenance and shelter. They look up to me, and seek my guidance and my approval. You humans used to be a part of this ecosystem too, where I was respected once as a protector and as a provider, I have now become nothing more than a post for sheets of coloured paper! It’s just as well I haven’t been turned into furniture yet.
“But don’t you sometimes feel a bit restricted, not being able to move around?” Oh no, not at all. You see this isn’t a one way relationship – while my residents and visitors make use of my resources, I gain valuable information from them. I have no need to move around to witness and understand other things; all I need to know I can learn from my friends, my children. They are my eyes and ears. Just before you arrived here, a young crow flapped over to enlighten me of your arrival. At the same time, a squirrel warned me of your intentions – of your desire to speak with me. I am afraid most of my residents are not very tolerant towards humans though; as we speak some of them are trying to convince me to end this conversation and send you off! I understand their concern but fear not, I have no mind to listen to them, I have these conversations rarely enough. Now where were we? Ah yes, my eyes and ears. Yes of course this doesn’t stretch to all of them – the insects don’t spend too much time telling me things, they tend to be somewhat single-minded at times. Whereas cats on the other hand, are my most elaborate sources of information, they’re very observant. Demanding creatures though, they’re single handedly responsible for the shortage of critters around here.
“And what do you feel about living in Bangalore?” Bothersome city. Oh don’t get me wrong, it has its ups and downs. I once enjoyed its drinkable air and pleasant residents. But since not too long ago it’s had extremely temperamental weather. A tree can’t settle down to one type – supposedly harsh winter brings with it blazing sun, while a promised monsoon holds the coldest temperature we’ve ever had. I suppose we all have complaints in that regard though. Moving away from the weather, well, the city has changed a lot. And not for the best I say. Harsh chemicals penetrate my wholesomeness right down to my roots. Humans who were once friendly now turn their backs to us. I remember a time with younglings clambering around and others seeking solace beneath my shade. I don’t even have those pesky ones tying strings to me to fly their kites anymore. From what I gather from the cats, it seems like they barely even step out of their houses these days. Our flowers were once highly admired among you folk, but just recently I heard from an old friend of mine; his branches were sawed off the instant he started flowering, would you believe, all due
to an infant with an allergy! We were once very much a part of the lives of your race, but now they whine about anything they can see and hear – from branches growing too long, would you believe, to even the presence of birds and beasts amongst my leaves! I’ve never really understood why crows receive so much hate, they’re generally quite amiable chaps. Very family-oriented societies, I have long chats with them from time to time. If anyone, it’s the cuckoos that cause the most problems – too lazy to bring up their own young, and then having the audacity to hoodwink other birds! I try giving them a piece of my mind from time to time, but I prefer to avoid those loud calls as much as I can. I can’t blame humans for detesting those birds, but I will take issue with everything else. Since when did trees merely become unwanted obstacles? Hearing the other reports from the city, I don’t know how much time I have left before someone decides my presence is undesirable. The more I think about it though, I realize it really is no matter, I am content knowing that my children have spread far and wide. Eventually they will find their way to a safe place, somewhere in a deep, peaceful glade, complete with flowing streams and a thriving community, and if you listen hard enough, there you will find my voice once more.
Aryaman Girish- 18years