Oct 18, 2017-I was five when I planted my first tree. It was a peach sapling that my dad had brought home from one of his field trips. He was an agriculturist who often set off on his visits to villages, farms and protected areas.
I would guard my plant as if it were some kind of treasure. I planted it on the most fertile part of my garden and pulled off some minor engineering to design the perfect environment for it to grow: A network of channels delivering wastewater from a tap and rainwater from all over the garden, chunks and sticks of wood fixed circumferentially protected the plant and a stout stick tied to the plant shoot supported its firmness and ability to stand.
Looking after the plant became an intrinsic part of my chores. And the source of that perseverance was not only my fascination with nature, rather it was my selfishness. I would often leave my assignments in the middle and go to check on my plant. As an innocent kid, I felt, or wished, the plant would bear some ripe and juicy fruit then and there. I would count days waiting for the fruit to appear. My parents didn’t really tell me that it would take time; they perhaps didn’t wish to burst my bubble.
Months passed and my expectations faded. By my sixth birthday, the tiny little plant had risen to my height and it was stronger than me. But it still didn’t bear peaches—my ultimate dream. The plant too didn’t seem to require my care anymore, if its firmness and development was to be considered.With time, my interests and inclination shifted. Ignoring the peach plant in my garden, I would pass by it and head to a corridor in my neighborhood—a long, graveled section of land between two rows of houses. And then I would engage in all sorts of games.
The corridor was very lively. In those days, it would buzz with children and sports. The tennis ball we played cricket with would hit some girls playing badminton. The chungis thrown by chungi-players would be seized upon entering the cricketing territory. The air would be ringing rhymes and cheers and hoots. Every moment was fun and I looked forward to it every day.
We only feared two things: Our tennis balls or chungis entering some ‘dangerous’ aunty’s veranda and the dais who were as old as I am now. They probably meant no harm to us but still, their playful bullying or eve-teasing could turn pretty intimidating.With time, my interests shifted—from the peach plant to the cricket matches. And then soon it was solely focused on academics. Tests, school activities, projects, exams—each evolved transforming my playful childhood into the life of a sincere, busy teenager. The frequency of our playtime diminished with time.
Time can trigger changes so powerful that we let go of things which were once so close to our heart. And in all these years that I grew up, I didn’t realise how much my peach tree had grown until I saw its branches reaching out to the electricity polls outside my house. With concern among people in my locality rising, we had to cut the whole tree down. I saw the tree getting cut right in front of my eyes without tasting the first fruits it produced.
I couldn’t cry, because it was the very rule of life—change. Sometimes, I try to see in myself, the “dais” that we feared in our young days. I don’t know where the dais who bullied us have vanished to—America, Europe, some unknown place? I am right here but the children in my neighbourhood never go out to play for they are busy with their tablets and laptops. The children don’t get along with each other or uncle and aunties in the locality for their balls and chungis no longer stray into the verandas. But it makes me sad, even the corridor we played is covered with grass and shrubs, untamed and rough now. It often looks dreary and has become an epitome for silence. Change doesn’t happen all of a sudden, but when it does, you’ll be left wondering where all the days went.
Pant is a recent A levels graduate from Budhanilkantha School
Published: 18-10-2017 09:38