The Banyan Tree


There used to be a huge banyan tree
we had no love for nature then
but its soothing shadow
helped us dream a lot
about our love life
professional life…

It was the place
away from the confines
of four walls of the classroom
where we used to practise
singing the patriotic songs
as well as tunes of bollywood,
where we used to burst out
anger against teachers
inventing nicknames for them…

It was the place
where we used to debate
whether spirit is a reality 
to discuss dualism and non dualism,
Gita and Abhigyan Shakuntalam
as also to interpret poems
of Surdas, Bihari, Hariaudh and Tagore
mostly in romantic ways,
forbidden in the classroom…

It was the place
where the strategies were devised
for our board exams
and also to crack entrance exams
for medical and engineering
and a future five years hence…

It was the place
where we used to get
respite from sweats and troubles,
where we would see
everything green and golden
where we could feel
the feelings of every leave
that had become quite familiar
with our faces, laughter and gossips,
a true friend and a guardian
of a classroom
away from the classroom
like in Shantiniketan…

The last day
when we left the college
first time tears rolled down our faces sitting under the same tree
that witnessed all our activities
good and both with forbearance
we had all started loving
the very nature
of that banyan tree…

We still feel
its shadow and fragrance
engulfing us on and often
taking us back to our golden days
of the teenage years…

–Kaushal Kishore

images: pinterest

38 Comments

  1. Thank you, Kaushal, for the beautifully versed “ODE TO THE BANYAN tree,” the national tree of India. This magnificent tree represents eternal life because of its ever-expanding branches.
    The Banyon tree expanded structure and deep roots came to symbolize India’s unity.
    I can see your college chums talking about getting into reputable professions sitting under the canopy because the Banyon tree is known as Kalpavriksha, a “wish-fulfilling tree”.

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a lovely description of banyan tree, Joanna! Thank you. I love and admire your deep knowledge about India, its people and psyche. We had no inkling about the wish-fulfilling or other quality, when we used to sit under it, but in retrospect I think it must have contributed at least in parts to what we are today. Incidentally, in some parts of India, married ladies worship banyan tree and tie a thread around it for the well-being and long life of their husbands.

      Like

  2. Both the tree and your poetry are breathtaking. Your descriptive phrasing carried me away to that banyan tree. I would love to sit beneath it one day and reflect on life. Thank you for sharing your wondrous piece, KK. 🌳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted to hear your wonderful words, Nancy. It’s really a different experience altogether to sit and chat with your people around under a big tree like banyan. Sometimes I used to sit alone and read there. Just have an experience. You’ll like it. 😊💐

      Liked by 1 person

  3. KK, beautiful reminiscing of youthful days beneath a banyan tree. Lovely photo! Many of my fondest memories involve trees…oak trees, maple trees, willow trees, cedar trees, magnolia trees…We find comfort in their shelter. I think part of their allure is knowing they existed before our lifetime and will continue to exist after we are gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cheryl for such a beautiful reflection! I also used to love trees and gardens. There was also a game involving trees. Your last line is very touching and true. That tree is still there and will be there.

      Liked by 1 person

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