Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Miscellaneous Jottings | 0 comments

প্রাঙ্গণে মোর শিরীষ শাখায় ফাগুন মাসে কী উচ্ছাসে ক্নান্তিবিহীন ফুল ফোটানোর খেলা….

In my yards on the branches of the rain tree in the month of Falgun, with what exuberance the tireless game of budding flowers is played…

What I witnessed today couldn’t have come at a worst time. The headlines of a news report in today’s The Indian Express reads ‘2016 may be the Hottest Year for India’. The report tells me that this year, till date, the global average temperature is 2.07 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. This, incidentally, is the highest temperature for the period between 1880 and 2016 and it surpasses the previous record set in 2015 by 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit.

feeling of trees-1

Yet, today on my way back home from my morning stroll, I helplessly became the witness to a tragic scene. Some fellers belonging to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation were working on felling a rain tree that stood by us in sun or shower for three long decades. That tree was planted way back in the mid-eighties. I was a student then. Five different saplings were put in the ground in front of the apartment block where I live. Each grew up gradually until they reached their prime. They used to stand majestically lining the left extremities of this narrow lane, mesmerizing the neighbourhood with their arboreal grandeur. From late winter till the onset of summer, some of them would literally set the sky ablaze with their red and yellow blossoms. At the height of summer the trees would provide shelter to any pedestrian who cared to stand for a moment under its cool shade. Their massive trunks, their fine foliage that trembled incessantly, the gorgeous blossom that visited some of them every year would keep the onlookers spellbound.

line and wash tree sketch


It was evident that all those deciduous and evergreen trees became worlds in themselves. Their fruits attracted the birds, insects and lizards. Their branches, spread randomly on all sides, pleased the visiting birds and offered them such a loving assurance that the trees appeared as huge aviaries in the nesting season. Birds of all shapes and sizes came here and settled in those trees: the songbirds, the warblers, the fowls, even a few birds of prey. The trees were always hospitable, heartily welcoming their feathered friends and providing them with food and shelter. In the nesting season, the trees would become a large repository of a fledgling avian life.


Thus, lively in the mornings, silently resting at noon, and abandoning themselves to a long stupor at night, the trees had enough to edify and entertain any sensitive soul living in its vicinity. In windy and rainy afternoons, I would often look out of my window and marvel at the almost surreal golden flamboyance of an euphoric Radhachura (copperpod) tree, the vivacity of whose gestures would invariably touch the deepest chord of my heart. Then when the rain stopped, the tree would stand quietly by my window in resplendent glory, never conscious of its unearthly beauty, never knowing that it is making an onlooker spellbound. No wonder they call it the yellow flame tree.


Now, only three decades after their plantation, all my majestic neighbours are gone. I would not see them again. I sit here quietly thinking why they had to go so early, so many years before their time. Is it because they didn’t have a voice to protest?