‘He knocked the over and climbed the tree to pro­tect it’

Tehelka - - BOOKS -

VIKRAM, MY lit­tle boy, was all of six years. That day, many years ago, he was heart­bro­ken. Tears of sor­row and ou­trage were wet on his cheeks. You’d think his favourite toy had been snatched away or that he’d been se­verely scolded. But the cause of his deep grief was a tree. A young fledg­ling of a neem tree that grew on the boundary of our gar­den. It was al­ready there when we shifted house a year be­fore. It wasn’t par­tic­u­larly large or im­pos­ing.

Some of the branches of the tree in con­tention were cast­ing a shadow on one of the main flowerbeds, thus ad­versely af­fect­ing the growth of the flow­ers. This was both­er­ing my en­thu­si­as­tic, if a lit­tle chop-happy, gar­dener. He was a man proud of his green thumb and wouldn’t stand for a few branches sul­ly­ing his pride. He ad­vised me to have the of­fend­ing branches lopped off im­me­di­ately to rem­edy this ill. Thank­ing my stars for the wise maali, I gave him the go-ahead. The very next Sun­day, he pro­ceeded to work on the tree. Thwack! Thwack! Crash! One

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