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