It can be noisy and annoying, for some, when children are playing. Noisy sounds of children, chattering and playing, can be heard from far distances. They did not seem to have enough time before darkness completely takes over daylight. To them, it seems like the last day on earth. Relieved from their daily routine, they are enjoying every bit of it.
There was a huge tree in our village. Village folks referred to it as ‘the village tree’. The tree is located in the center of our neighborhood. It appeared to be a full-grown tree and must be of ages. With its perfect location and long branches spreading out for all, it is home to the villagers throughout the day, especially early in the morning till late evening.
For any events in the village – ‘At least one members from each family are requested to meet at the ‘village tree’ for discussions or before any community work had been initiated’, notices was served. Before the advent of Community Centers, few motion pictures, which could instill harmony amongst the community, were also shown in the shades of the tree using projector.
It is where different generations of the villagers met together. Young and old came out of their home in the evening to sit in the shades. They would talk about the day’s work, politics, past glories of the village, and many more general topics. Not all parts of the world are exposed to modern culture. They would, comfortably, sit in the elevated area in the roots spending their leisure time.
The tree had united all the villagers in the shade. By spending time together, they become more united and get to know each other well. Any threat or person trying to demean harmony can be easily sorted out through discussions. Migrants and new faces joined them, which takes them further intrude in the realm of the villagers till they get fully settled.
Few times, I had enquired about who could have planted this particular tree. However, nobody seems to know much about its history. Almost everyone came up with different theory, which seems to be backed by their friends. May be they made it all up, I guessed. The most valid and acceptable theory could be that the former generations had planted the tree for generations to come.
Every year, when spring dawns, the tree grows new buds to replace those leaves shed in the previous months. The bud of the tree is edible, which sometimes caused few snarling sounds among the villagers. It is natural – when there is something to benefit freely, it caused a rift in human hearts.
However, we felt blessed to have such a tree in our village. We thank God for His creations, which had become one of the most ‘happening zones’ in our village. The tree is not worshipped instead of that, whenever we sat under the tree, we are left in awe of God’s care for human race.
One morning, the very sad news of ethnic conflict breaking out nearby came around. The villagers run amok like a flock of bird scattering away at the sound of gunshot. That day marked the end of an era. No villagers ever came in groups under this tree anymore. Peace had eluded the village ever since.
The village tree slowly gets deteriorated, which might be caused due to its loneliness. Eventually, the tree died a natural death, someone reported. The tree, which had once provided shelter to the villagers, was no more talked about. When violence and hatred enter the world even an innocent tree had suffered deeply. It is gone!
There would be no other thing – human or any creature, like the village tree, which could accommodate all the villagers – any kind of them whether good or bad, rich or poor. Be an agent of change – when interacting with others, spread love and unity among the ‘global villagers’.
© 2017, Siam Ngaihte. All rights reserved.