I have become a tree spotter now. Living 50 kilometers from office in Delhi has only one upside – look at the trees on both sides and talk about the greening drives, compare delhi and noida and bitch about the diminishing diversity that horticulture depts should be blamed for.
When I was a child, the village had the mandatory temple as the hanging out spot. On one side was a irrigation canal, on another a river as wide as my little finger, there was my school of two classrooms. And, then there was a concrete pandal covered by a Banyan on one side and a peepal on the other.
Banyan trees are not trees, they are ecosystems. They offer shade and fruit and nesting space for birds and animals. Banyan trees are landmarks in village-scape, if there is a tree in a kilometer radius, all directions will mention the tree.
Just that the tree is a lot like Indian population. And, that’s why it has no place in urban planning. How do you show children a banyan tree if you live in a city?
And, what sort of children grow up without seeing banyan trees? Seeing one of these is like binge watching whole Harry Potter series and more. How do children learn to imagine and create stories without these? Where do their angels and demons live?
P.S: This tree is from Auroville in Pondicherry