ONE of the first casualties of this monsoon was a tree just outside my window. I was quite astonished to find when I opened my sitting room window after the first thunder storm that the tree had vanished. For a moment I was shocked.
Anybody would have been as shocked to find a huge empty space where otherwise branches and leaves jostled with each other. Then I looked down and saw stretched out in all it’s majesty the fallen tree.
Dead. I felt sad because the tree had been part of quite a few years of my life, and decided I’d go down and have a look at my dead friend. I was startled at what I saw. It was not just a windy night that had knocked down a robust tree. It was a casual breeze that seemed to have nudged a sick tree to death.
There were termites all over the lower part of its trunk, and when I looked closer found that the whole of its bottom portion was eaten up: That was no tree down there, no solid wood, nothing but a gaping hole covered so well by a lying bark.
“So my friend you were actually portraying a wrong picture for all of us!” I whispered sadly as dead tree looked stonily up at me. “Don’t worry,” I said to the tree again, “Many of we people are just like you! We show the world a lovely, beautiful exterior, great handshake, warm smile, cultured habits, when inside we are rotting!”
The dead tree seemed to be trying to speak, it’s forlorn branches signaling me something, “What could we have done. We were being eaten from inside!” it said. “Surgical treatment!” I said sadly, “Bit painful. For you, powerful anti-termite treatment! For us the acknowledging of bad habits and the painfulness of cutting them out!”
As I write today, I pause and look out of my window. The tree is still there, dead and unnoticed; somehow the branches spreading east and west, and the trunk stretching from north to south, reminds me of a map of my own country.
I hear termite mobs, making merry with their lynching. Cries of women from behind dead leaves. Bark grown soft with corruption. And as I look for fruit I find nothing that it has delivered for the past few years! Exactly what will happen to us if we don’t deal with the rot growing inside..!