There were two banyan trees in a small jungle in the middle of a city. They were very big and provided a huge habitat for the birds and other small living creatures who were the natives of that garden. Each of them houses numerous species of sparrows, and parakeets. Owls are other sneaky and spooky mysterious creatures who made their abode there. Typical Morning in the garden starts with the cooing of koel and chattering mynahs. It was wonderful just to be there in the garden. It was a universe on its own.
The trees considered themselves as the guardians of the garden. Everyone respected them. Nobody knows how old they were. Some says they were here before the garden itself. Some says they were as old as the earth itself.
A family of squirell lived on one of the trees. A father, mother and their little baby boy. He won’t go to sleep until he heard the stories of the guardian trees. All the stories never tell how old the guardian trees were.
One day the baby squirell decided to ask the elderly trees about their existence. He sneaked out of his nest in the night in the hope of striking up a conversation with the guardians.
Baby squirell : Hi.. , his eyes almost popped out because of excitement.
Tree no. 1: what are you doing up this late? Go back to your nest.
Baby squirell: please, I have so many questions for you. All those stories I heard, you guys are real guardians. Without you we would never be able to have a home. But…..
Tree no.1 : But , what ?
Baby squirell: But they never revealed your actual age. It made me all the more Curious.
Tree no. 2: it’s just stories, kid. Don’t take it seriously.
Baby squirell: I don’t mind, I love those stories. Please tell me…
Tree no. 2: what do you want to know ?
Baby squirell: How old are you ?
Tree no.1 : why do you want to know, kid ?
Baby squirell : My father said you are older than the earth itself.
Tree no.2: That’s nonsense, Earth is our mother. How can children predate their mother ?
Tree no.1 : Now, move along kid, we have work to do.
Baby squirell : But you are old, my mother said old people don’t work.
Tree no.1: Nonsense, who do you think provides you and your family with food and home? And one more secret kid, we are not old as you think.
Baby squirell : (eyes widened with excitement).
Tree no. 1: In our world we are very young. We are kids in the world of trees, like you are now.
Baby squirell : wow, so u guys are of my age ? Then we can be friends, right ?
Tree no.1 : I wouldn’t say exactly that, but , I am a young adult in my world as u r a kid in your world.
Baby squirell : how do you came here. Have you seen my great grandfather? . My mother told me he was the one who first made it his home here in the garden.
Tree no. 2 : yes , we knew him very well. It was a stormy night when he first came here. He was frightened to death. We let him took shelter in our branches. He was in fact the first among the first residents here. You very well reminds me of him.
Now go on , don’t disturb us. Your mother would be worrying not seeing you.
(After Baby squirell went back to his hole in the branch, trees started to talk each other)
Tree no.1 : Do you remember the old fortune teller who took a shelter under our shadow in a summer ?
Tree no.2 : yes, why do you bring that up now ?
Tree no.1 : Do you believe him ?
Tree no.2 : he is an old man. He couldn’t even see in the dark, then how could you believe his claim that he could see our past ?
Tree no. 1 : still, he had this aura around him, which made me believe in him.
What if he was true?
Tree no.2 : oh.. come on….., you really think this life as trees’ is a blessing? that we had done something good in our past lives ? Moreover he told us we were humans in our past life. You think humans can do any good in their pathetic lives. They are greediest of all creatures.
I think if we were ever humans, then we had done something wretched in our previous lives. It is a curse to be a human. Once a human is forever a human.
Tree no. 1 : It’s not always like that, there are some goodness in them. Like the fortune teller? What if this life is our road to salvation ? In this form we are selfless, look how many we are helping.
(It was already getting dark)
Tree no.2: I think it’s going to rain tonight.
The cool wind breezes through the leaves of the big trees. Both of them were enjoying the moment. As it gets stronger,They started to sway along with the wind, Like they were dancing with the rhythm of wind. As the night put the cloak of shadows around them, They looked like two apsaras dancing passionately.
The morning after the storm was peaceful and fresh. Water is still dripping from the branches. All the creatures seemed so happy. Sun is shining bright above. The wind still carry the smell of fresh rain.
They all felt the tremor. Like earth is shifting beneath their feet. Something or someone is causing this. All the animals grouped under the shadow of their guardians. Then they saw a huge iron hand tearing the earth. It has a slim body but a huge hand with claws. It is uprooting trees like it was nothing. The animals are all running for their lives. Their home is being destroyed. They are helplessly looking at the guardian trees.
They have no idea what to do ? They were equally perplexed as the animals and birds. Then suddenly an owl, who is trying to get away accidentally hit one of the branches of the guardian tree. The owl looked frightened. He tried to get up and takeoff but his fractured leg deceived him.
Tree no. 1: Don’t try to put pressure on that leg, else it will break. Let us take care of it.
Owl: I don’t mind if my one leg is gone, as long as I have life.
Tree no. 2: Please tell us what is going on. Don’t you see we are all frightened here.
Owl : sorry, if was rude. I am also scared. You all need to go from here. They are destroying our home. They have uprooted many trees in the garden. I don’t understand why can’t let us be ?
Tree no. 1: who are you talking about ? Who are they ?
Owl : Humans. They are taking over this place. That one handed beast is their creation. It is unstoppable.
tree no.1: it is really happening, isn’t it ?
Tree no. 2: so, what he said is going to be true ?
Tree no.1: sadly, I think so. I think our time has come.
Tree no. 2: But it isn’t fair with us. I despise this humans. I hate them.
Tree no. 1: please everyone, you all have to leave us. We are no more any use to you.
Every animals grouped there looked at each other perplexed. They don’t understood why their guardians are acting weird.
What are you going to do ?, they asked.
Tree no. 1: what we have been doing for years. we are going to protect you one last time.
All the animals looked each other sadly. The baby squirell started to weep.
Don’t forget me, please. Baby squirell managed to say while crying.
You can beat the one handed beast. I believe in you. Please let us stay. I don’t want to go. His eyes are all watery.
No one dared to say anything. They all stood there keeping their head down.
Tree No. 1: Our time has come, it is our destiny. This is what being a tree means, to sacrifice for others. You call us your guardians, then let us guard you. Go to some place safe. Every thing in this world comes to an end at one point. This is our chance to be good. If you are all safe, then we can die peacefully knowing we did what we were supposed to do.
Tree no. 2: we were once humans, in our previous life. We never did a single good thing in our life. We were ………..just humans, greedy and irresponsible to our fellow creatures. We had no respect for our Mother Nature. We just cocooned ourselves from outside world.
And now in this life she give us a chance of being on the other side of human perspective. We cherished every moment in our life as trees. She taught us how it feel to be useful and helpful.
This is our chance for salvation. Our karma get back to us. But this time we would be free from all the worldly chains of attachments. The cycle of karma has reached a full cycle for us. After this sacrifice, we can be free.
So please don’t worry about us. Take good care of each other. Tree no.1 called the baby squirell to come near. He listened and run towards him . He whispered something in his ears. Baby squirell climbed into one the branch and disappeared in a hole in it. He came back smiling widely. And ran back to his mother.
The roar of one handed beast was approaching them. They can feel the ground shaking.
Guardian trees stood strong, like they always had, in thunderous storms , earthquakes or facing an all engulfing flood.
The animals left them reluctantly, the baby squirell was looking back. His eyes were all red. He fixed his eyes on them till they vanished from his view. He can hear the sound of saws grinding tree trunks. He freed himself from the hands of his mother and ran towards the place where trees stood. Suddenly he stopped as if something pulled him back. He opened his clenched fist. A bunch of seeds, waiting to explore the outside world. Wind brought leaves from the branches of the guardian trees as if they are lost kites wandering the sky. One of the leaves landed on his face, it still felt fresh and lively. He said looking at the skies, “I hope you two achieved peace, Thank you for being there for us.”