Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Romancing a Tree

Yesterday, I went to Lalbagh Botanical Garden (Bangalore) to test my wide-angle camera lens. The day dawned beautifully; the Sun was out. But by the time I actually reached the garden, the afternoon Sun was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds. No regrets because we desperately needed rains. The cloudy weather was like unremovable sunglasses to me. Wasn't sure if I could click good photos especially with low light; well, let's experiment, I told myself and set out.

The Spring had given way to Summer. Trees that had shed leaves were flaunting leaves at various stages of growth and of several colours. Lot of trees had flowers. At certain places, the dried flowers and leaves formed a carpet under the trees. The birds certainly were happy to fly from one tree to another, sucking nectar and catching insects. And yes, the garden had tourists admiring the vastness of the garden.

I have grown with trees. Climbed them, touched them, and enjoyed plucking fruits off the trees and eating them. I have played 'Mara Kothi' (Tree Monkey) game with my friends. It's a simple game - climb the tree, and let one of the friends catch/touch all of us sitting on the tree. I have also thrown stones to cut a mango off its branch. Now when I see young adults do the same to the Mango tree at our house, I just smile at them, and ask them to be careful not to break a window glass or hurt anyone. Even now, I like to climb a tree; only fear is that my excess weight may hurt the tree.

Being with Nature is the most romantic experience, for me. As I walked inside the garden, I stroked the trees; the bark texture varies from tree to tree. The touch caused a tingling feeling, which is hard to explain. May be the tree felt ticklish too. The only human touch that it knows and fears is that of an axe or a knife that a human holds; chops the tree down or engraves nonsense on it. May be the tree was craving for a gentle touch from humans. May be the tree loved to have children playing around it and climbing it. May be the tree wanted to romance a human being; listen to human voices, and try to have a conversation.

May be the tree wanted people to have potluck parties under the tree's shade. One time, I recollect, we had a potluck party with our neighbours at the same garden. The party was a hearty mix of women, men, and naughty children. We cooked food and packed them, come to the garden, selected a pretty spot, spread mats, and sat down helping the adults. Later, we played games, invented our own games, and had a gala time. One of the young adults having seen mangoes, threw a stone, hit a beehive, and ran screaming as the bees began to attack. Those were good old days when people got together, involved Nature, and enjoyed life.

Even before I could touch the bark of certain trees, I had to first cross the gigantic roots covering the ground. The roots resembled snakes of varying shapes and sizes. One after another, I crossed the roots, and then stood in front of the trunk. "Hello there!" I greeted. I described about its structure to the person accompanying me. I had a great company, and that's another blessing of the day! We stood admiring the tree. We looked up and followed our eyes through the length of each branch. They seemed to touch our neighbouring city. We discussed about the tree itself, and clicked photos.

We have forgotten to look up at a tree. Each element of the tree is interesting. The leaf texture differs from tree to tree. The flowers and fruits differ too. The birds and small animals that the tree attracts also differ. The parasite plants that grow on trees too vary from tree to tree. The fragrance of trees vary too. Previous evening, the rain feel on the leaves of our Eucalyptus tree, and let out the fragrance. Was divine to walk at our garden!

We picked flowers fallen on the ground, and smelled them. Not all flowers are fragrant. The structure and colour were unique. I always feel that the trees shower us with flowers and fruits to remind us about their existence. "Hey friend, I'm here too!" the trees may say. "Come, sit with us. Rest your soul." the tree may offer. Oh, but we are busy humans! "Aw, at least, give me a hug!" No, we are busy!

While I clicked photos, I am sure that the trees stood in their best pose; they may have smiled too. Their smiles were like flash (of light) that helped me get good photos (on a cloudy day). We sighted several birds - Common Myna, Spotted Doves, Black Kites, Parakeets, Common Crow, Wagtails, and others. They sat on the trees, sang a melody, and flew to another tree. These birds seem to be entertaining the trees. Their relationship is worth watching. We also saw monkeys.

For me, hugging a tree is an awesome experience. Settles disturbed emotions, thoughts, and vibes. Regulates breathing. Engulfs kindness. Sometimes, I have cried unable to bear their compassion. Cleanses me; makes me feel like a sponge capable of absorbing positive energy. Reassures that I am not alone; I have them as friends.

Sitting or sleeping under the shade of a tree is yet another wonderful experience. Lie down, and then look up to endlessly admire the branches and leaves. The trees hold my attention for a long, long time. I lose track of time. I also lose all my thoughts and the sense of being. I am completely in love with the trees and with that moment. Whenever my husband and I visit gardens (anywhere in the world), we take a moment to sit or lie down under the shade of a tree. We strongly believe that that's the most romantic moment; getting connected to each other through a tree.

Oops, we had to end our tour, and then return home. I hadn't even covered one fourth of the garden! But then other duties needed to be attended to. We retraced our steps back to the entrance gate, exchanging our views about the trees and about our feelings. We stopped at a coffee shop, drank a cup of strong and hot filter coffee, and returned to our houses. On the way back, the rain showered; what a pleasant day it was!

Yes, you too must romance a tree, and let me know how you felt.

[Note: This article is also available at]


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