I don’t know when I was born. But when I started understanding things, I was in a nursery along with several friends of my age. I must have been about three or four years then. I was happy there, though we were kept in small plastic bags with adequate soil to run our roots. We used to get food and water. The mali (gardener) uncle used to come every day and tend us. He was our friend. We thought this was our world and it will be like this for ever. Then one day some people came with a truck. They took several of us in the truck. We were driven for several kilometers. One uncle divided and distributed us to various parks. A few of my friends and I were planted in the C block park-cum-walkway in Sector 62 of Noida (UP).
The unfamiliarity with the new environment troubled me a lot initially. Earlier in the nursery we were all together. We could touch each other and even murmur jokes into each others’ ears. We used to sing and dance together, especially in the presence of our best friend, the slow breeze. We were all very happy there. We had never thought that we would be separated and planted in separate locations one day. I could see only a few of my friends planted several metres away. We could not touch or speak with each other, or dance together. I felt very lonely. The only solace was our friend breeze which brought news of my friends in this park and in other locations.
Slowly I got familiar with the environment. I was, maybe four or five feet tall when this man came. He looked at me and with a horrendous smile, wrenched a tender branch of mine and walked away. I cried in pain but to no avail. Blood oozed from the cut and I cried, and cried; sobbed and sobbed. I saw him removing and throwing away each of my leaves. He only wanted a small piece of about four inches to clean his teeth and he cut the whole of my three-foot branch. The wretched, unkind fellow! He did not bother to think that it has taken several years for me to grow that branch and he wrenched it in a second! Are all humans like this? Why do humans think that everything in this world has been created for their pleasure and convenience and other living things are subservient to them and they have no rights on their own?
One day some workers came with some instruments and truckloads of concrete bricks and sand. They built a four-foot wide walkway using bricks and sand running through the length and breadth of the park. The next morning I saw a man walking on the newly built walk-way. Suddenly I realised, to my utmost horror, that I may have to confront several human beings every day from now on. They will walk along, and wrench our branches to clean their teeth. After the day when that rogue man took away my branch, I had seen him and a few others doing the same thing with several of my old and new friends. We lamented being transferred to this wretched place. How happy we were in the nursery!
But alas, I didn’t know that more horrifying shocks were awaiting me.
[To be concluded]
[Updated on week-ends]