The Champa tree, in front of my house, stood all decked up like a newlywed bride. It wasn’t much tall, almost of my height. It had branched out in all directions. There were the green leaves and fragrant white flowers with a tinge of yellow between them. I would pluck those flowers in the morning.
No one knew who had planted this Champa tree. When I had moved into this house it had already grown up. I was always grateful to the unknown person who had planted this tree. He had left behind a fragrant gift for me. Indeed, planting trees is an unselfish act. You never know whether you will be there when the tree will flower or bear fruits. But still you plant them.
It was rainy season. My sisters had come down for the Ganpati festival. The Champa tree was in full bloom. It gave hundreds of flowers. We plucked the flowers, made beautiful garlands for the elephant God. My elder sister made beautiful rangoli of flowers at the door.
Like every siblings, we too have had our differences when we grew up. But the Champa tree helped us bond together. In the mornings, we would pluck the flowers, make the garlands and rangolis. While doing so we would relive the memories of our childhood. We would remember those days when we were kids. We regaled in songs from our childhood and we remembered our fights. Once this morning routine was done, I would go to my work and return home late in the night tired. So I must give all the credit to the Champa tree and its flowers for the bonding, rather rebonding.
Soon the sisters went to their homes and in another few months rains left too. The land was all parched up. The dancing green grass dried up. Only I and the Champa tree stayed back. I was feeling lonely. I longed for that laughter, that mirth which was present only when my sisters were around, only when there was someone you could call family. I was lonely and unhappy.
I guess Champa tree felt lonely too. Its leaves began to whither and turn yellow. It had begun to shed its leaves. I thought it was because of lack of water. I began to water the plant twice in a day. Yet it was shedding its leaves.
One day not a single leaf was left on the tree. I felt so bad for it. My gardener told me that someone had poisoned it. I felt as if I too was poisoned, and was going to die soon. I couldn’t see the tree dying with every passing day. But what could I do? There are no doctors for trees. I prayed fervently that the tree may survive. But it remained there barren with just the branches and no leaves or flowers.
It was a December morning. The air was cold. I got out of my house for a morning walk. I saw the barren tree. There were tears in my eyes. Then I spotted something white at the end of the branch. I ran and had a closer look at it. My joy knew no bounds. There was a tiny bud, a sign of life, a ray of hope. Soon the tree flowered again. I too got married and started a family.