Terrified and tainted , I stood alone in the midst of the barren land , which was till three months back a vast forest in all its pride. I shuddered a little when the long stout branch which stood grazing me swayed roughly to one side . It hit the hard rock bottom with the loudest thud I have ever heard . The most beautiful and awed- at plant of the forest , with its fresh green leaves ruffling cheerfully at the lightest cue from the softest breeze , my companion for six long years left my side . No . It was murdered ! . Stabbed at the body for umpteen times over , as it refused to budge , my dear friend now lay dead and trembling in a heap of dried leaves .
” Aah , let us take some rest now . ” , I strained hard to hear those words . The proud tint in his voice could be recognised however far he stood . He was the leader of the gang which was appointed to cut down the trees to make way for the largest steel plant in the country .
” Is it just me or do all of you feel the same after a day of hardwork and toil ? I guess this is what they call ‘ satisfaction ‘ ! He jeered at his friends , a gleam of victory shone bright in his eyes as he scanned the bare land exposed to its ultimate rawness .
” Come , let us sit down under the shade of that banyan tree and have a pint or two . I cant wait to finish the job off and grab today’s salary . Dont forget that come what may , we are going to celebrate the last day of our tenure in this area tonight at Mahesh’s toddy shop . ” He declared while his hands deftly played with the lid of the white coloured bottle .
A pang of fear shot through my trunk as he mentioned the word ‘ last day ‘ ! . Soon followed a wave of pain at the thought of the plight of my fellow beings . I miss my family . That day , when i found my little one slowly sprouting from the seed I left intentionally on the soil , I was elated to the core . Shouting as I might , I fluttered my leaves in ecstacy . Little drops of rain showered on us that moment as if they rejoiced too . The waft of fresh scent that emanated from the soil welcomed him to this world . A world where nature lived in harmony , a place so humid , so bright and so content – Our thick green forest !
I remembered the day when my little one nudged at me in excitement with his fragile roots when a group of birds flocked and nested on him for the first time . I found him the happiest that day . He kept still the whole day for fear that his slightest movement would disturb the little ones resting so trusfully on him .
We offered comfort and shade , its our fruits that men savoured , we lent them shelter , we gave man even his life breath . Each moment man inspires air into his lungs , we do our part diligently such that he wouldnt get cyanosed breathing carbondioxide . And now, all those species of flora whose lively vibes and efforts served to balance the nature were brought down to a lump of logs merely in a matter of hours .
Men need us ! Time and again Mother Earth tried engraving deep on his mind the one truth to which mankind ever pretented to be oblivious of . That he can never dwell on Her unless he learns to respect Her . The wrath that She has been unleashing, albeit hesitantly ,was meant to teach him this lesson the harder way . Unfortunately greed has encroached his mind with its ever slithering chains to such an extent that he chose to be deaf to her wails , blind to Her tears !
The violent gaze of the sun with its razor sharp rays shook me up from my thoughts . I realised for the first time how penetrating these rays could be , for the hugs of my taller companions never for once let me fall prey to such torments before . At the thought of which , i felt a deep agonising pain as a chunk of my flesh was torn apart from my trunk . ” Oh ! Is it happening ?! ” . I felt my branches being mercilessly axed down by those workers . My leaves wailed in clutters more for the painful thought of having received such heinous torture in return for all those years of selfless service ! . I whimpered a bit before the last chunk of me was torn apart .
The men were over whelmed on finishing their assigned job way before the allotted time . They scampered away in a hurry to stuff the wood they just cut onto the truck . In the peak of fervour none of them noticed the hard green mass that rolled off from one of the branches . A worker unknowingly stamped his feet onto the mass to push it further deep into the soil . It was a fruit ! The tree left the world , but not without leaving behind the last glimmer of hope for the very manhood which left it in shreds.
P.S : Pause for a moment and think of nature as one among us. In this industrial world, cutting down trees has almost become a necessity for a multitude of reasons . But even then there is something we could do such that they dont end up as an endangered species . Plant a seed somewhere for every tree that we purposefully axe down . Let that act be the light at the end of the gruelling tunnel .