The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Palm Sham

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As a child I had seen quite a few palm trees (Palmyra Palm) being felled. And I used to enjoy the scene—the bustle of the adults, involving the operation; the sweet taste of the crisp pullulating stalks, extracted out of the crown of the felled tree and distributed to us at the spot; the nests of the tailor-birds brought aground along with the tree, whetting my curiosities about the empty nests, the smashed eggs, the fledgling birds. That felling a tree could be disastrous for the survival of the mankind was not a concept taught to us so early in our childhood as is being done these days. For us a palm tree represented something tall and if we could not reach its top, jolly well its top should come to us, aground. Yes, that meant a sense of victory; a vicarious joy to see something so haughty vanquished and brought to its knees.



Then I grew up amidst trees and bushes. Smaller ones like guava, for instance, had their branches starting low on its stems. We had in our backyard one such tree that was so very climber-friendly. With branches to serve as the foothold and branches as the banisters, there was absolutely no problem for us when we went atop.


But a palm tree is no guava. With no branch anywhere sprouting out of its trunk, it was so much unfriendly, so self-contained. I hated it, for I could not venture clambering it. Mango, guava, tamarind, banyan and even a coconut—all were negotiable, but not a palm. So unclimbable it was! Its prickly fibres exposed at the trunk were so much dreadful I had scratched my chest many a time, just for trying.


Sometimes, I used to wonder how dexterously the climbers could go clambering, reach the top, and cut its fronds! They were real heroes, as brave as Hanuman, the monkey God! Of course they used to take the help of a rope designed to bind them loosely around their waist together with the tree trunk and that served as their safety stay-cum-backrest. It was like sitting on an invisible chair, suspended in the sky! Besides, they used to have a foot loop that kept their feet together and prevented them from sliding down. Those were the safety equipment, perfected over centuries of innovations and the climbers hand their skills out to their younger generations for their living.


But I was not born to a parent who knew anything of that skill. So climbing could not come to me as a family trade. Whatever I would do would be just amateurish. Once in a while I tried to climb a date palm (Phoenix), for it is such a tree as has no branches like a palm yet offers its innumerable pruned stubs of old leaf bases where one can put his legs while climbing up. As though one goes upstairs negotiating a flight of steps. Date palm is known for its crown full of petiolar spines, quite frightening to anybody who does not want to shed blood yet wishes to feel the thrill of climbing. I was one of those and no wonder I could not reach its beautiful crown.


So what does a palm tree mean to me? A reminder of a thing I couldn’t do in my life? An entity, tall and towering that sends me into inferiority complex?

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By

A. N. Nanda

Bhubaneswar

03-03-2007

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4 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Binoy Gupa x Chief Commissioner of Income Tax said...

Nice writing.
You can see my photographs and article on the Jarawas in Andamans Part III.
I have another blog:
www.binoygupta.com

7:58 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Nice post. It made me smile, thinking of the child's frustration at looking up the tree's impossibly smooth trunk and great height.

9:00 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Thanks Br Gupta and Nancy. Your appreciation will definitely encourage me.

9:30 AM  
Blogger binoy said...

I like your articles.
You can see something on my blog which may interest you
on the Baobab Tree

9:47 AM  

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