Autobiography of a Tree in 1000 Words
“Trees are the poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” ~Kahlil Gibran
Situated near a temple in a village, I am a Peepal tree. I have lived for so many decades that now it is tough or even impossible for me to remember my exact and true age.
I have so many brothers and sisters around me in this peaceful little village. Most of them are quite younger to me and also smaller in size. Their names are Banyan tree, Tamarind tree and Jamun tree. I love the lively chatting of the village ladies and the innocent giggles of the young children. I never feel alone or lonely here.
Just like the children playing with marbles, I was once a child myself, what you humans call as a plant. Slowly and steadily, with the help of water and sunlight, I became a giant tree.
I still remember the purpose for which I was put on this earth. I have a significant responsibility towards humanity. I provide fresh oxygen to all living organisms while taking in all the harmful carbon dioxide gas at the same time.
This process is known as photosynthesis. Most trees release oxygen during the day and exhale carbon dioxide at night, just like human beings. But that is not the case with me. I give out plenty of fresh oxygen even in the night- time.
My roots hold enormous amounts of water to prevent soil erosion and massive flooding. I also provide shade to passer-byes, travellers and the everyday village folks. I and my brothers and sisters are responsible for maintaining cool temperatures as well.
We bring ample rainfall to the village and feel happy when the farmers harvest their crops in abundance. I also provide a cure to more than 50 disorders with the help of my leaves, roots, bark, etc. The milk derived from my heart-shaped leaves can be used to cure eye pain. I also help in curing other diseases like diarrhoea, asthma, gastric problems, etc.
Whenever people come to visit the temple, they worship me as well. They tie a red thread around my trunk and take three rounds circling me. They also light a small earthen lamp near my roots and say their wishes and desires for God to listen.
I am considered to be a holy tree in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. My roots represent Lord Brahma, my trunk represents Lord Vishnu, and my leaves represent Lord Shiva.
I am also known by other names such as Vasudeva and the Chaitanya tree. On Saturdays, people come in large quantities to water me. The reason behind it is that it is believed that Lord Vishnu and his other half, Goddess Laxmi resides in me every Saturday.
It is also believed that Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating under a Peepal Tree. People worship me because they think that it will bring happiness, good luck and lots of wealth in their life.
People sit around me almost all day, and I can even listen to their stories and chit chat. I get to know about all that happens in the village and sometimes, even outside of it.
I see mothers cuddling their children and helping them take a bath. Sometimes I wish I were a human so that even I could experience and feel what a mother’s love is. Just yesterday, I heard a poor boy Ram talking to his friend Manu.
Ram was telling Manu how his father was still coming home late at night drunk. He never did any work and beat his mom. Ram was very scared, and so was his mom. But yesterday his father even pushed Ram and abused him.
His friend Manu advised him to go to the village Panchayat with this matter and get justice for himself and his mom. It is sad to hear about these stories. I wonder if Ram’s life would have been different had he lived in a city.
But cities have their own problems. Rakesh is a young man from our village who had gone to the city to study and managed to get a job there.
He came to the village to meet his family a few days ago and rested peacefully under my shade in the hot afternoon with his younger brother.
Rakesh told him everything about city life. He told him about the tall buildings, the fast cars and the speedy highways. But he also mentioned one thing that made me scared. People in the cities have very fewer trees.
In fact, men over there cut us for our wood. They burn us and axe us. This is known as deforestation. I cried, thinking about all the brothers and sisters I lost in so many places.
I also heard him talk about high levels of air and noise pollution. People in the cities are always on the run and hardly take time to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature and each other.
I feel thankful to have been born in a place where people are so kind to each other and me. I will continue to serve my purpose on this planet, just like God intended me to do.
But I only have one request to you all. Please understand the importance of us, trees. Refrain from cutting us recklessly. Instead, plant more and more of us. Because the day trees stop sustaining on this planet, is the day life will stop to sustain as well.