Gaachh is a calm tree. Why would he worry? He does not have relatives flanking up and down the road carrying a dead/half-dead body to and fro the ARVI hospital, which is just round the corner. His only job is to absorb sunlight and let his leaves do all the work. His dark green leaves are a source of pride to him. Beside him lives a thin tree which bears bougainvillea flowers. His name was Lombu. Lombu and Gaachh have an amicable relationship. They do not click selfies whenever the sun becomes a luscious red but try to help each other with their branches and roots. Being sessile means Gaachh can do little for Lombu but then, feelings matter the most. A man comes near Gaachh and stands with a determined look on his face. Gaachh asks him ‘Would I be of any help?’ The man doesn’t reply. Gaachh wonders what the man wants but stops to worry about it after a while. If one looks closely on his sweat dripping shirt, his name appears to be Shujoy Haldar. Shujoy has a measuring tape with him with which he measures a certain part of the ground between Lombu and Gaachh. Lombu asks Gaachh ‘What do you think he is doing?’ Gaachh says ‘I did ask him, but he didn’t reply. Humans never reply so it’s not unusual. But men mostly come here to pee. Is he going to defecate as well?’ Lombu says ‘Please, God, I can’t take this.’ Gaachh doesn’t say anything and gets ready to call it a day. The sun is bidding him farewell.
‘Wake up, Gaachh! ’ cries out Lombu. ‘Help me! Please help me! Gaachh, wake up. Gaachh, my phloem! Help! Ouch, my leaf! Help me! Stop it, human, stop it, stop!’ Please st….’
Shujoy watches as the woodcutter gives a final blow to Lombu. A few other men help him carry the dead tree and load it into a truck. Lombu leaves his friend without bidding an adieu to him. Some relationships are so hard to break that God chooses to let one of them live in oblivion. Shujoy picks some of the fallen leaves and dumps them in a corner of a strange wall like structure nearby. He throws a lit matchstick on the leaves and the burning heap causes a reflection on his spectacles.
May Lombu go to heaven, not hell.
Gaachh does not speak to Ghash, a patch of grass just beneath the wall like structure. Ghash says ‘This shouldn’t have happened, Gaachh. Please allow me to comfort you. Please do.’ Gaachh wants to close his stomata once and for all. His soul is throbbing for Lombu. His friend Lombu, who kept calling him and he slept away like a foolish fern. ‘I can’t live like this anymore. I want to go away. I want to be a part of the celestial forest’, Gaachh thinks. He has nothing left inside him. He tenses up and his roots fail to do what they should be doing. Winter approaches and gradually, Gaachh survives only on the odd root which is young and healthy. His leaves fall on his feet and his branches become thorns sticking out of his depressed and agitated body. A big signboard has been put in Lombu’s erstwhile place which says ‘This parking area is owned by ARVI hospital.’
‘I think today is my last day on Mother Earth. My head is spinning. Ghash, farewell’ says Gaachh. But everything seemed to be spinning. The signboard falls with a loud noise and the wall like structure collapses. Gaach feels calm and serene. He can see everyone panicking and crying, just like Lombu did. He sees children clinging on to their mothers, just like the leaves clung on to Lombu. He sees men trying to find their families, just like Lombu tried to find help. Gaachh’s roots have given up and he is finally motile. He sways and turns. He sees panic in the eyes of human beings who are near him. He falls like the greatest warrior Mother Earth has ever seen.
20th January 2015
An earthquake whose epicentre was in Agartala jolted Kolkata and as many as two hundred people died in the city alone. Rescue operations are underway………………………………………………………..
……………..is survived by her daughter who lives in Canada. Shujoy Haldar, an employee of ARVI hospital, was killed when a tree fell on him. He is survived by his elder brother Bijoy.