Ratan and the Mango tree

Ratan was ecstatic…the mango tree was adorned with small white flowers…his mouth watered at the prospect of relishing the ripe mangoes in the next few months…

He still remembered how he had planted the sapling last year…he had worked hard to earn the pocket money which financed that purchase from a well known shop in the city…on the journey back, he had proudly held the pithy sapling in his tiny palms, which according to him looked fragile and susceptible to the winds…

He had then nursed the sapling with utmost care…he had bought old and discarded gardening books and toiled hard to make sure that the sapling lived to become a tree…

As he used to tend to the soil, he used to dream of the tree growing up…spreading nice cool shadow…and bearing ripe fruits in the summers…he could almost feel the sapling, something akin to what J C Bose’s instrument had done…he used to caress the tiny leaves and watch them grow…he used to be cautious and prudent in administering the exact amount of compost and water…he was patient and methodical…and he waited with bated breath for the tree to grow up…

All his labor and love had finally made his dream come true…as he lay sprawling under the tree, he congratulated himself and smiled…the tree’s big branches and thick canopy provided respite from the summer sun…Ratan could feel his eyelids getting heavy and drooping…finally he fell asleep with the book clutched in his hands…

That evening thunderstorms rampaged and wreaked havoc in the locality…Ratan was sad to see the flowers getting detached…as he went to sleep, he was pleased that the storm had subsided and there was still hope…the leftover flowers would bear enough fruits for him and his family…

As he got up in the dawn, he ambled outside…as was his habit, everyday he used to stroll in the garden with the neem stick stuck in his mouth…with sleepy eyes, he relished the cold breeze…as his eyes wandered, he stopped in his tracks…he froze on the spot…he couldn’t believe it…throwing away the neem stick, he ran pell mell…his feet flying over the dew laden grass…finally he stopped…panting he stared at what lay ahead…the mango tree was all but destroyed…it was burnt and charred badly…it seems that the lightning had chosen the tree, the night before…

Tears streaming down his face, he ran back to the house…his grandpa consoled him…after a look at the burnt remnants, he told Ratan that there was a good chance that the tree might survive after all…the trunk didn’t seem to be totally burnt…they would have to wait and see…

As Ratan returned from his village school in the evening, he was surprised to hear high pitched shouts in his courtyard…people barking orders in Hindustani dialect and the sound of saw blades…his worst fears confirmed, Ratan ran like mad…he could see his father talking with a stranger and counting wads of notes…he couldn’t believe it…how was this possible…didn’t his grandpa resist… didn’t his father heed his grandpa’s pleas?

Seeing all his efforts coming to naught, Ratan stopped…with a misty gaze he looked one last time to see the trunk being chopped off into pieces…finally he could bear to look no more…he cried out aloud…but no sound came out…the pain somewhere inside him was excruciating…suffocating…

He got up and walked into the house…later that night, he promised to himself…he would work in Shyam uncle’s store during the summer holidays and buy another sapling…but this time he would not plant it in his courtyard…this time he would choose someplace else, where greedy people like his father wouldn’t be able to stake a claim to…someplace where his dreams will be his alone…to nurture…to realise…

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Posted on October 18, 2014, in short story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Was reminded of ruskin bond’s cherry tree…good job joydeep

    Like

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