About a tree, actually two

I have mentioned the mango tree behind our apartment in an earlier post. In reality, there are two of them, growing next to each other in the same compound. They belong to an elderly lady, of remarkable spirit and physical will, who lives alone in the old house within the compound.

Neighbouring her plot is a house which has been extended several times and is occupied by several families. Among the many people in this strange house is a woman, K, who objects to the trees. She claims the leaves that the tree sheds ‘dirty’ her compound and cause her no end of trouble.

Three days ago, she called the city municipal office and complained about the trees. They promptly sent a few men over to cut them down.

Veena, a friend and neighbour, heard and saw branches falling and rushed out to talk sense into the municipal people and K. She begged and pleaded and even shed a few tears. The result was that the trees were spared, but all the branches extending over the compound were lopped off.

The trees are now precariously balanced, with most of their weight on one side. When the rains come, I won’t be surprised if they just keel over and crash.

The lady whose trees these are shut herself inside the house and refused to come out during the whole chopping up exercise. These are trees she has probably lived with all her life; they probably know each other as old friends do.

She’s well over 60, perhaps close to 70 even, and each week, she diligently sweeps up the leaves from the trees and either buries them (during the rains, for compost) or burns them (during the dry season to heat water).

Not all of us have the time and energy to maintain a garden, but I do wonder – to think of fallen leaves from a magnificent tree as garbage that ‘dirties’ one’s home, while being perfectly tolerant of the tons of un-reusable, un-recyclable plastic that we ourselves bring in daily, seems sadly warped, doesn’t it?

This is a picture of the old house and the trees around it from last year’s monsoon. The lopped tree doesn’t look too bad from my balcony, as the cutting was mostly on the other side, but still I can’t bring myself to take a picture of it now.



5 responses to “About a tree, actually two

  1. $#@#%^&^(*(&%%#% to K.
    the municipality is so prompt when it comes to cutting trees?

    Actually, the municipal corp where I live is surprisingly prompt about a lot of things. Even about things one wishes they would drag their feet over.

  2. Don’t they have rules about not cutting tress?

    They do, but only on public land/property. If your neighbours have a problem, there is nothing to stop them removing the source of “nuisance”.

  3. This is becoming almost usual. All these people with palaces and granite paved driveways can’t bear the sight of leaves on the ground. They chop off branches and whole trees without consulting anyone and one of these days I will die of apoplexy.

    Btw, I object to burning leaves at any time but esp in the dry weather, before the new leaves are out. Not only is it very polluting, it is likely o burn whole ares of dry grass/scrub and even the lower branches of trees.

    Hi Spacebar, welcome here. She burns the leaves from her own yard, to heat water. That doesn’t seem too bad, does it? Where we live people need hot water to bathe in – it is often rather cold. In fact coconut husk, dry coconut fronds, fallen branches, dry leaves, are all carefully collected by people for fuel – both for cooking and heating. I don’t think a lot of people can afford commercial fuel.

    But I do agree, done the way the Forest Department tends to, under the guise of “controlled burning” it causes no end of damage.

  4. Oh no! Not those mango trees! I still think of them when I need something to dream of while at my walled in desktop area! It is such a joy to look up from your desk and peek into those magnificent trees!

    Yes 😦 The good thing is they didn’t get cut down to the ground. All the branches going over the neighbouring compound were chopped, but it still looks bad. Mango trees do regenerate rather well – that is what gives me hope.

  5. no, for one’s own fuel is different, and yes people do need fuel to cook with and all.

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