Life under the banyan
My favourite tree is the Banyan, which is as tall as it is wide. My village is called Allamaramedu because, many years ago, there were plenty of banyan trees on top of a small hill. Now only two remain; all the others have been chopped down. One huge tree has a small shrine under it and so people care for it. In summer, the elderly people of my village will gather under that tree. If we need to find one of them, we know where to go. Their main source of entertainment is to sit under the tree and chat with their friends. The children love to climb the tree and play on and under it. Many women tie their saris to the branches to make cradles for the babies. Five years ago, my class teacher Sarah, an American, gifted us all some trees before she went back home. Luckily I got a banyan seedling. Today, my tree is still growing. It will be a home for birds, animals and insects.
P. Divya, IX
My favourite tree is what is called kilimuku manga in Tamil. It is a kind of mango. As a child, I would watch people climb it to pluck the fruit. Once I tried to ask some of them to take me to the top too but, as I couldn’t speak clearly, they didn’t understand I started crying. So my father plucked a mango for me. But even he did not understand that I wanted to climb the tree. Many years later, I decided that I would climb the tree on my own. The first time I fell and hurt myself. Later, I tried again and this time I reached the top. It felt like I had climbed Mt Everest.
M. Nandhini, IX
Our beloved maamaram (mango tree) was a gift from my father’s patient. He worked in a mango orchard and would bring us fruit. We ate the fruit and threw the seeds in our garden. The rains and the fertile soil took care of the rest. As the tree grew, many birds and insects made it their home. By the fifth year, the fruits began to appear. The feasting season started. During the day, humans, birds and insects gorged on the fruit; at night, it was the turn of the bats. In summer, the tree had a very special visitor: a golden oriole.
Shanthala Devi, IX
My favourite tree is the bamboo because it is strong and has hollows to make a pipe. We can use bamboo sticks to catch fish and make weapons like silambam. I can make gates, ladders and small chairs with the bamboo. Did you know that the bamboo grows only as a group; almost like a family? The bamboo also helps in water conservation by allowing water to trickle down through its hollows.
A friend in need
My favourite tree is one that grows in my farm. It stands beside the road near a small rock. I do not know its name, but I like it the best. It’s not very tall but I love to sit under its branches. When I am tired or stressed, just sitting under the tree for a few hours helps me. One day, I sat for hours there and the breeze and shade put me to sleep. I woke up too late to catch the bus and when my father found me, I got a scolding I will never forget. I love to watch the birds that sit on the tree and sing to me.
P. Keerthana, IX