Have You Ever Loved A Tree?

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Cinema, Friends, Letter, Literature, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

“Niranjalli had called” I was told as I entered the house.

”Is it? What’s the matter?” I questioned.

”She was crying”

”why?”

My sister laughs.

”…”

”There is a tree in their house which extends one of its branches to her room in the first story”

”yes, I know.”

”That tree was cut down this morning”

”is that the reason why she was crying?”

”Yes”

I decided to call Niranjalli after a while, for the matter wasn’t extremely serious as much as I had presumed it to be when my sister told me that Niranjalli called up and started crying.

I called Niranjalli that evening preparing myself to listen to her, who manages to surprise me every time I talk to her, with her stories and logic.

”You know what, Samvartha….” Like always she started. She told me how she has been crying all day for the loss of the tree and also told me as to how she had protested against cutting down of that tree. I kept wondering the attachment towards a tree, for I have never been attached to a tree, though I have never liked cutting down of trees, for the fact that since my childhood days I have been injected with the thoughts of environmental conservation and similar things. Knowing Niranjalli, I knew, she would narrate the narrative of her attachment towards the tree and she did. “You know, Samvartha, I always dreamt that some guy would climb that tree someday like Romeo and walk into my room and tell me how much he loved me”. I was tongue-tied!

What was that love for a tree? What was that dream of which that tree was an integral part? What did that tree mean to her emotional world? Did only birds build nest on that tree? Did dreams also build their nest? Did it just add greenery to their garden or did it add greenery to her dreams too? Was it just cutting down of a tree? Or was it cutting down of a dream too?

I still ask myself….

***

“In one of our many meetings with Ghatak, I asked him about the significance of using the sprawling rain tree, in the opening shot, as the motif for the rest of the film. He looked at me curiously and asked “Have you ever loved a tree?” The crowd laughed and I did not know how to reply as he went back to his glass of arrack. A few days later he succumbed to a massive liver failure in a small Pune Hospital.

When I think about it today, it makes so much sense. “Have you ever loved a tree?” to such an extent that you would give up your life for it?

This question can be extended to every little detail that has sustained us for millions of years, from trees to music; from iconography to handmade textiles; from our culinary arts to poetry; ‘Have we ever loved any of them to such an extent that we would give up our life for it?’

Sadly we might end up giving up our lives away because just because some vested interests decided that nuclear power was more important than drinking water!”

– K.Hariharan, noted film theoretician, while discussing MEGHEY DHAKA TARA, a film by Ritwik Ghatak, with me via mail (July 2005)

15 May 2008

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