Ever since I could remember he was there - strong, well built, arms open in welcome - and now, he is no more there... it pained me to no extend that the huge tree that provided shelter from rain and shine, which stood majestically along the roadside, with its branches stretched over to the other side of the road has now been cut and removed... The spot which was full of life suddenly has turned into a barren land!!!
Thanneer Panthal - meaning refreshment booth (or shade of tree in this case) - was a bus stop (named after the huge tree providing shade) en-route to my home from the humble town of Perinthalmanna. Placed somewhat in the middle of the distance from Perinthalmanna town and my own bus stop, the characteristic mark of Tahanneer Panthal was the grandfather tree which formed a canopy on the road. It was a pleasing sight to behold the majestic splendour with which the tree stood, holding its head high.
I must have passed by the tree at least a thousand times, if not more… I’ve always felt the cool shades of him on me, even if I was in the bus on my way to and from home. Many a times, I’ve paused under the massive branches of the tree to enjoy the cool shade and enjoyed waiting under its protective shades. Moreover, the pupils from the nearby college and school also used to find comfort and comradeship under its cover.
It was as if the tree was there forever! I could never imagine the place without the tree. And now as the land lie naked and scarred with the stump of tree bleeding out its life, I feel as if a part of me has also dead… What used to be a lively spot is now bleak and dead – forever!
I know now that the tree was cut to accommodate the widening of the road and that it is only one among the hundreds that are mercilessly cut each day so as to felicitate development. Sadly, to a certain extent, it cannot be avoided as well. It is often told that if we cut one tree we should plant ten instead. But, it is alarming to note that there is hardly any land left to plant more trees. Presently, even if one wants to plant a tree for the one that was cut, there is no land available to do so. And soon a time will come when the barren land and arid days will force us to regret our thoughtless deeds; but by then, it would be too late!!!