Under the Banyan Tree

The Banyan - वड़, as in the name of my city, वड़ोदरा, has always fascinated me for being perhaps the most disheveled, yet giving tree. From the one at the University campus here and the two in the enclosure in front of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Halls for men, to the giant one in Pondicherry and the two at my favourite vegetarian Italian restaurant in Mumbai called Under the Banyan Tree, the Ficus Benghalensis has held my attention wherever I've had the pleasure, opportunity, good fortune to spot it.

As a matter of fact, I feel like a banyan tree right now. A young one. But not too young. My first few ariels have just reached the ground. Perhaps not strong enough to make another tree trunk, but they sure strengthen the one that already exists. So many use me for their purposes and stay on, but nothing thrives if I try to protect. I'm a shelterer, not a shield. Something about my core refuses to change. As if I would diminish if that core ceased to be. Am I complaining? Not quite. Because this too has its advantages.


Sometimes the word is so favourable, and at others, such an expletive.

And so, how is it useful to the banyan to be a shelterer?

It is that much harder to destroy it. They let it be. They allow new ariels to sprout and reach out. The branches spread eider and shade more. And eventually the table turn. There is a little bit of that tree in everything it touches. Those who have gained from it, those who can't fathom its use, those who attempt to break it down, and those who embrace it in return for favours rendered. To be hated is also an impression, an element of oneself planted in another forever.


prashanth said...

Interesting. D'you think you could hold forth more about being a Banyan? I'd love to read. :)

`` said...

Prashanth, this was just one of those stray scribbles one jots on a long train journey. Glad you liked it, but to be any more liked to a Banyan would be nothing short of a tad insane :D