Friday, July 29, 2011

Whoosh - the Wonder tree

Whoosh ! The hanging roots swayed. Karan looked up in surprise. It was not a particularly windy day. Well, he was too tired to think too much now. He had run a long distance in search of his ball, which had fallen down the slope.

He hadn’t found the ball. His uncle would be mad at him for losing it again. And then, he would give him a lecture on how careful they had been as children.

It was a routine scene. Karan had been living with his uncle and aunt for as long as he could remember. His parents had died in a airplane crash when he was a baby. “If you were my son, I would have thrashed you”, he kept saying. Karan sometimes felt it would be better if he actually gave him a whack instead of going on like this. Fortunately his aunt, his father’s sister and Seema, his cousin, were different. So, life was not too bad.

He sat down under the tree. It was really nice and cool. Before he knew it, he was fast asleep.

Karan got up with a jolt. Something had fallen on him.

“Yuck! it was crow’s shit.”

He wiped it off, irritated at being woken up in such a manner.

His exciting dream had been disrupted. Oh well.. too bad, he thought and started to leave. His foot got caught in one of the roots coming down from the tree. He struggled hard, but was not able to break free.

“I hope you will be my friend “ a voice whispered.

Karan looked around. What was that ? Who was speaking to him ?

A little bird was sitting on the branches of the banyan tree, chirping sweetly. A whole group of ants had made a home of one of the hollows. The ants were working hard carrying food inside. Other than that, there was nobody to be seen.

“I must be going mad !” thought Karan.

He heard it again “My chosen friend” it said.

“What, where ?” said Karan, looking around.

“It is I, the tree”

“The… the.. tree ?” Karan asked, incredulously.

“Yes, me. “ he heard the voice speak distinctly.

Karan looked squarely at the tree. It seemed to be moving with the words. A little hollow in the trunk looked like the mouth. It looked quite friendly actually.

Friendly ? A tree ? What was happening to him? Was he going out of his mind? He wanted to run away but something made him stay on.

The voice continued speaking.

“People came and sat here. They talked and I also read their mind. They want a building. A big, tall building here. This land is protected forestland and they are not supposed to cut any trees. But they have somehow broken the law. They plan to kill me”

“Oh ..” said Karan, bewildered.

He remembered he had seen in the television news that many people had filed a petition in the court that the green area should remain protected.

Whoosh .. the tree swayed…

“But you can help me stop it”, it whispered.

“Me? Help you?” Karan asked, incredulously.

“Yes. You can help “ the tree answered, “please”, it said in a imploring voice.

“I need a friend to make things happen and I want to make you my friend.” It swayed again ” So will you be my friend? Please ? You can also transfer thoughts.”

Karan was feeling very queasy. But still, he did agree. Whoosh told him where to go and how to transfer the thought, by simply making sure they looked at him and transferring a thought. The person who was the builder happened to be Mr Parekh, his classmate Arnav’s father. Arnav was a conceited, arrogant fellow who Karan did not like at all. Magically, he was transported to his house. He was at the garden in his home. He mustered up the courage to walk up to him.

“Good evening, Mr Parekh”, he said.

“Yes, yes. Ok. I don’t know what’s good about this evening, though”, Mr Parekh, without looking at him.

What a disagreeable man.

“I am Karan. Remember we had met in our school annual day”

“Maybe. “ he replied, still not looking at him.

“Oh. Mr Parekh, be careful”, shouted Karan.

Mr Parekh turned “What ?”

Karan threw a rope from his bag in the grass.

“That was a snake. It could have harmed you.”, he said,

“A snake ? Here? What nonsense.”

“No, it is not nonsense. I actually saw a snake coming towards you.”

“Nowadays even tigers come to people’s buildings, you know. My aunt says its because we humans have taken away all the land from the animals.”

“Hey, you. You are not one of those environmentalists, are you? Don’t tell me about not cutting trees and destroying forests.” For the first time, Mr Parekh looked him in the eye. He blinked and rubbed his eye.

Great ! The thought was transferred now.

Karan grinned.

“No, no Mr Parekh. I don’t even know what “environ.. “ – what did you say ?”

“Never mind. It’s not important.”

“Ok. Get going now “ he said and turned in the key at the door.

The next day, he Arnav called out.

“Hey, Karan. “ called out Arnav. Saw a snake, did you ? Poooh.. nonsense. What were you doing near my house, anyway ? “

“Hey, I was on the road and that is public property “

“My father changed his mind about his grand building. He dreamt that the building would create too much pollution and then we would not be able to breathe. He even felt he would be blamed and people will not move in. As a result, our Singapore trip is now cancelled. “

He paused, sulking.

“Did you have anything to do with it ?” he asked, looking at Karan’s gleeful expression.

“Wow. You think your father would listen to me. That’s great.”

Arnav did not answer. Of course, his father would not listen to anyone, least of all, Karan. There was something weird in the whole affair, though. He shrugged and walked on.

Karan was greatly relieved. Whoosh was safe now. He went running to him. A sudden gush of wind blew across making Whoosh sway heavily. Karan hugged him tight in a warm embrace. “How wonderful if we could do this everywhere, Whoosh,” said Karan.

“We cannot go everywhere, Karan, but we could share our story so that others too realise how important it is to preserve the environment, “ Whoosh said, in a grave voice.

And this is what they are now doing.

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