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Posted at: Jul 16, 2019, 6:44 AM; last updated: Jul 16, 2019, 6:45 AM (IST)

Till my last, will serve humanity

Till my last, will serve humanity

Rajesh Sharma

Tilted and wilting, uprooted I stand. The early days of my life were spent in the company of friends, big and small, most of who are no more. My early reminiscences are of birds nesting on me. It was blissful to be a home to various kinds of beings, also on wings. Squirrels would scamper on my branches all day. It was an ambience of jungle. I was sad to see a cunning cuckoo destroy eggs in a nest and placing its own eggs there.   

One day, we witnessed the activity of humans. They walked erect and worked with machines. From the talk of my avian residents, it came to pass that humans were going to build a hospital in our sylvan surroundings. The hospital was for a disease called tuberculosis. It was exciting to observe humans working! Sometimes, disturbing too. The President of the country came to inaugurate the hospital. What a festive day! 

Humans, ailing and withering, came and stayed in this hospital. The sick and their attendants would relax in my shade and discuss disconcerting matters. It was painful to listen to stories of human disease and squalor. I saw many sick people getting better, but I was also a witness to the last journey of some. Once a young man came to see a relative and on learning that there was no teashop there, set up a makeshift shop under my shade. Years later, I learnt that this kind soul got afflicted with tuberculosis and bade goodbye to this world.

A few years ago, construction activity resumed on a huge scale to start a medical school. Labour came, as did the machines. And then one day, a bunch of young girls and boys started living here. Many more came year after year. I am privy to their cuddling and cajoling. The sweet nothings they shared are a holy secret. Many of these young lovebirds later became life partners, and when they revisit this place with their kids, I feel like a blessed parent. 

When buildings needed expansion, humans were ruthless in cutting some of my roots and branches. I turned weak. During a storm, my roots gave way, and today here I am — uprooted, tilted and wilting. But I found happiness once again when humans started to hang clothes on my branches to dry. Sometimes, I become so colourful that I forget my suffering.

I could have offered my shade to more humans, but then, my roots were made feeble by humans only. Soon it will be time to bid goodbye. All life ends one day. I am a Bo tree. Till machines move in to remove me in bits and pieces, I will continue to serve, if only for hanging clothes. 

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