Autobiography Of A Banyan Tree::By:Arindam Nath
Autobiography Of A Banyan Tree
I am a banyan tree. My abode is a small town. It’s developing fast. I am just twenty. You may term me youth. These days’ banyan trees hardly survive for seventy to eighty years. I am telling about the life-span for my variety. We have three types based on place of growing, viz. rural, suburban and metropolitan.
The rural banyan trees are also termed as classical type. They are on the verge of extinction. Their average life-span is four-hundred years. In the countryside, assemblage for market, meeting, musical orchestra, drama, etc. takes place beneath their shadow. You will find their reference in the classics of prolific story-tellers Bankim Chandra, Tarashankar, Prabhatkumar, Sarat Chandra and the like.
I belong to town category. Before I narrate my bringing up, let me add a few words on our life struggle. We live in small town or suburban. Our births generally take place in disputed places. It may be due to human touch or natural reasons. Thus, very often you will find germination of our seeds at places like the cracks of old buildings, decomposed portion or holes in trees, heaps of garbage, etc. It’s needless to mention that we face turbulent and uncertain periods in our childhood. Sometimes, people become ruthless upon us. They don’t hesitate to uproot. Beheading is a common onslaught. Especially, it’s unleashed upon us with fanfare on the eve of Durga Puja. Thus, it’s difficult for us to grow by the side of streets in the town. There is no scope for extending roots underneath as well. The workers of Drinking Water Supply Department do not hesitate to cut our roots on the plea of laying pipes. The onslaughts from other departments like PWD, BSNL, TNGC, etc just add insult to the injuries. Sometimes, activists styled as environmentalists do cry for our save. But, it’s showy; they are biased towards metropolitan sect.
But, there is always an element of natural selection. At times, the Nature favours us to grow even in rocky soils. My comrades feel it lucky if a stone underneath comes out due to exposure in weather. The disciples of Lord Shiva are often found worshipping it. So, a place of worship gradually develops underneath the banyan tree. It gets the share of milk offered to God. The waste of other eatables acts as manure. The local people forms committee for the protection of the banyan tree. So, it survives for a long period.
The metropolitan type of banyan tree was first witnessed in Japan. The Japanese are a bit short in height in general. They find it difficult to climb trees. So, they make us dwarf by trimming our roots and keeping us half-fed. It has an ornamental name ‘Bonsai’. In metropolitans, there is craze for Bonsai. These dwarfs are also spreading to small towns. I am too young to ascertain the life-span of metropolitan banyan trees. Sometimes, the metropolitan people keep them alive through various processes from tissue culture to cloning after clinical death of a dwarf.
Now, I shall narrate the story of my life. I am an inhabitant of a suburban. Let me keep the name of the place secret, as I don’t want get exposed. A crane mother helped me see the light of the Nature. Actually, she swallowed some banyan-fruits. One such seed fell in a hole of a tree with her excreta. The plant was dead and almost decomposed. It allowed me to grow steadily for about one year. One elderly brother helped me to attain my youth hood from my infant. My mentor had his own interest. He owns a grocery shop. It’s first in the row of a series of shops by the side of a road of my native town. There was some open space by the side of his shop followed by drain. The people preferred to use the place for toilet. Sometimes, the ammoniac smell of urine made the life miserable for the inmates and customers who visited the shop. After some calculative thoughts, my brother planted me at the vacant place. Initially he used to pour water upon my roots religiously to ensure my survival. The soil was fertile due to formation of urea from urine. Within three months fresh leaf appeared on my branches. It gave immense pleasure to my mentor.
The subsequent development was quite fast. One day a procession for immersion of the idol of Goddess Manasha was passing by the road. My mentor joined them joyfully. He then put forward a proposal before the devotees to leave the idol beneath my shadow. By that time, the participants became tired. They agreed to the proposal without hesitation. My association with the Goddess Manasha was fruitful. Gradually people started keeping other idols, especially Goddess Kali, after worship, by the side of Manasha. My mentor also encouraged them as it deterred people from using the place as toilet. In the evening he lighted candles and incent-sticks before the assemblage of God and Goddess. Now, the place has been established as a place of worship. Lord Shani is also worshipped at this place every Saturday.
But, there is a sad note as well. Due to the widening of road my counselor has been evicted. He has to restart his business at another place. I have grown up as well. My head now touches the overhead electric wires. Every year my branches are shaped. I gladly bear with the situation. Fortunately for me, no water-supply pipe has passed close to my vicinity. However, OFC cable of BSNL is passing close to me. It keeps me apprised about the latest technology. I am hopeful that I can live the average life-span of a suburban banyan tree.
About the Author:Arindam Nath is one of the most popular writers of Tripura. He is an IPS Officer. He is presently serving in Tripura as Assistant Inspector General of Police. He wrote both in English and Bengali.His first book is Tarmuj Pagla O Anyanya Galpa (Bengali, published by BOOK WORLD). His second book is Bridging Souls A Journey From Mahabharata To Bharata, in English published by Peacock Books, New Delhi (Atlantic Publisher & Distributors). He regularly contributes short stories, plays and essays in newspapers and journals. 'I Adore' is his second English book. This is a collection of short-stories. You can write to Arindam Nath at firstname.lastname@example.org
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