Why did they have to do it?
I WAS 14 when we moved out of the
village. Though I do not remember
much of 'the village, the tree that bore
saffron flowers has a permanent place
in my heart. My most playful years
spent swaying in its arms and
on its branches. As the sun
shown its efflorescence would radiate
and as the sun set, leaving its glow behind ,the tree coyed like a ewly wed bride.
When my ears are bursting into youth, I found myself getting closer the tree. I shied away from every body and spent hours on its branches, dreaming. I had named it Pyari.The tree caressed me with its warmth ad reminded me every moment that I was growing up.
It was on Pyari that I first met him. As usual, I was weaving flowers into a garland when I heard a soft melodious tune on the flute. The music touched the chords of my heart and exhilarated my very being.I was mesmerised for an instant and the garland fell from my hand.
I looked down and I saw him. His eloquent, smouldering eyes met mine. He kept his flute aside and rose. I jumped from the tree, blushed, picked up my garlands and ran home. It was the first time somebody had ever looked so tenderly towards me.
Pyari was watching everything. Life passed, with a longing and passion I had never experienced before.No one but Pyari knew about this. I shared a delicate bond with the tree.
The day came when our family moved to the town. I wept all day, sitting on my favourite branch. As the wind blew, the tree shed its flowers on my lap making me feel worse than ever. I inscribed a message on the tree and with a kiss, bade it farewell.
Today, after 30 years, I went back to the village, of my childhood. Much has changed - metalled roads have replaced the kuccha ones, small shops have 'appeared all over and the village boasted its own hospital. But my eyes searched for something else.
I walked along the muddy path that led to the stream on the banks of which the tree grew. As I neared the stream, I saw a massive heap of logs and people working with axes and saws. A deep-rooted fear crept into me.
I ran to stop them, but before I could do anything, a branch fell before me, covering my head with saffron flowers. I fell beside the fallen tree and spotted something familiar. Quickly wiping away the mud, I saw a message written in a child's broken handwriting, "To Pyari, With love, Anni".
Pallavi Chopra is a student df class XI in Delhi Public, School at Rama Mshna Puram in' New DAL
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