In the hustle and bustle of a city on the banks of river Tufraan—a gushing water body with a legacy of its own—there was a boy who lived with his parents. The city was called Kasaah and the boy was Kokab. He was just over 12. Just like all the boys of the town, he went to school, learned computer and played games with his friends. He was fond of playing games on smartphone also. His favourite game was Brazilian Billiard. One fine day, Kokab went to school. And he was informed by his teacher that the school is going on an excursion to a faraway mountain to the south of the city. ”Dear children, we will be going on a school excursion” farm teacher shouted in fervour. His class was also going. He was excited to hear this news. In the evening, he told his father in excitement, ”Dad, we are going on an excursion”. ”Oh! Really? Where?” his father asked with a smile on his face. ”To the mountains” Kokab replied with exquisite bliss on his face. Next day, registrations were made. List of food items and clothes to be taken to the journey were given to the students. Kokab’s father bought him all the necessary stuff advised by the teacher. In one week the big day arrived. ”Kokab, Kokab, get up son; it’s time to leave for the excursion” his mother woke him up early in the morning. Once Kokab’s eyes opened and he realised that it was the excursion day, he jumped out of the bed and galloped to the bathroom. He hastily brushed his teeth, took a shower and got ready. He kissed his Mom and Dad and, in a hurry, left for school. Soon, the caravan comprising three buses and an old wagon left towards its destination—a two-hour drive into the woods. When they reached to the hill-station, their happiness had no boundaries. They were laughing and cheering in joy. Kokab and his friends set up a makeshift tent towards a corner of an endless green pasture. They dug a narrow circle around the tent and erected a few wooden poles and fenced their tent with a rope. They also draped their tent with red silk fabric.
After some time, this bunch of happy lads started playing football. While playing, Kokab’s friend kicked the ball. The ball dropped off into the woods nearby. ”Go and get the ball back” his classmate shouted at Kokab. He ran after the ball. The ball had travelled into the trees. Kokab looked here and there and finally found the ball under a big Deodar tree. When he saw the tree, he was amazed. This tree was huge but withered. All the trees in the vicinity were green and full of life. Their branches were waving in the mild breeze. This big Deodar was naked and lifeless. It was on a death bed. The tree, however, caught Kokab’s attention. He thought to himself, ”Ah! This tree is lifeless and dead.” With this passing thought, Kokab grabbed the ball and walked back to his friends. As he was about to walk, he heard a sudden voice. ”Boy, I was not always lifeless.” Kokab was stunned. He was scared. He looked back and found that it was the same old tree that was speaking. Kokab rubbed his eyes and raised his eyebrows. The tree continued ”I was also yound and green and lively.” Kokab spoke in a fumbling voice ”What, wwhaatttt happened to you? Whoooo who did this to you?” Kokab was curious to know. ”Humans” the tree replied in pain and agony. The tree narrated a painful story. ”One day a few humans came here with axes and daggers. They put some white granular substance under my feet.” The tree sighed while narrating the tale. It added ”after a few days, a swarm of red ants invaded my world and I was gradually depleted. Today what I remain is a hollow, lifeless deadwood.” Kokab was an innocent kid. He couldn’t understand the reasons. ”But, why did those men do that?” he asked. The tree laughed and said ”Not all humans are alike. Some of you are greedy.” Those men had put sugar under the stem of the big tree so that ants could attack and eat away the Deodar. This would make the tree hollow. Then they would be able to cut it down mercilessly. The smugglers of wood had cut down its branches for timber. The same thing had happened to many other trees in the neighbourhood. Kokab went home. He was upset and cross. He narrated the whole incident to his Dad. ”Son, we have developed our materials but our minds are primitive and our intentions are wild” he said. “We have cut down trees. We have forgotten that they are our lungs. We have forgotten that when there are trees and forests, there will be food.” Kokab’s father asked him to go to sleep. He advised him ”Plant trees; do not cut them down; respect nature if you want to live a plentiful life.”
(The author is a freelancer. Views are exclusively his own)