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The Magical Banyan Tree

 

 

Mr Lobhi was a greedy builder. He was loud, rude and arrogant and stayed in a palatial house all by himself. He would buy land, cut all the trees from that land and build tall and big buildings. Rich people wanted to buy and stay in the houses constructed by him as he was a famous builder. The more he was becoming famous; the more he became richer and greedier.
One afternoon Mr Lobhi and his friends passed by a beautiful forest. He stopped his car and got down, “Whoa !! what a wonderful piece of land. I will make a big resort here. No one in this city would have seen such a huge and grand building. This land is really beautiful. Look at the green hills and that clear blue lake. This place is such a beauty. I will talk to the mayor of this place tomorrow and will soon start construction here,” he said excitedly to his friends.
On hearing this, one of his friends said, “ let the natural beauty remain, why spoil it. This is a lovely natural spot for picnics and trekking. You can make your resort in some other place.” The greedy builder got angry on hearing this.
“ You are a stupid man. You have no idea how much money I will make from this place. You just keep quiet and let me do what I want to do,” he shouted back rudely.
After hearing the builder’s words, the trees and animals in that forest got very worried and sad. “In whose branch will I sit and sing, said the cuckoo bird.
“O my god! they will cut all trees, where will I build my nest”, said the little sparrow. When there will be no trees and birds, who will get annoyed and irritated when I would caw, cried the crow sadly.
From which tree will I swing, exclaimed the monkey. From where will we get nuts and berries to eat, wailed the squirrel. Listening to all this, the peacock who was standing under a banyan tree said sadly, for whom shall I  open up my feathers and dance. The owl screeched for whom shall I keep awake all night and guard.”
The trees were also sad and worried. Mango tree said “ I used to get angry and hurt when the naughty children would throw stones at me and take my mangoes away. But then, the children love me hence they eat me so much. I shall miss them. Same here said the guava tree, the monkeys and squirrels would not leave my branches and the children when they come for picnics would hang a swing from one of my branches and play all day long.
Appletree looked sad and said “ all those who passed by my tree praised the colour and taste of my apples. I will miss their words. ”Other trees like Sal and Mahogany said together, now we will go to factories. They will make furniture from us. God knows how they would treat us and in whose house shall we end up going. We had so much fun together. Tired men who walked past us took rest under our shades and sometimes plucked and ate our fruits. We shall miss all of these.”
The Banyan tree, who was the oldest of them all said, “ Hmmm, this is worrisome and not a very pleasant thing to hear.

These men are only thinking about money, but not about their welfare and us.

We all should live in harmony. If they kill all of us, they will not have any pure air to breathe and from where will they get water to drink. Who will give them a cool breeze and from where they will get rains. I thought men were intelligent and wise. Do not worry, let me think of something. Since I have been around for almost three years I have seen the world and it’s people more than you all have. Also, I have magical powers, but I have not used them for a long time. Let’s see if it works.” Hearing this, the others got some rays of hope. In the meantime, the builder was making arrangements to talk to the mayor to buy that beautiful land.
One day Mr Lobhi was travelling to a far off city for some work. The car was speeding across the city roads and then reached the countryside. It was a hot humid day, the sun was blazing in full force.
He soon entered a patch of road which was completely barren. Little shrubs were scattered here and there but there was not a single big tree. The place looked like a vast desert. The builder was deep in his thoughts, he was dreaming about becoming richer when suddenly his car made a whirring sound, WHUR….WHUR….WHUR….jolted and stopped suddenly.
He got down from his car to check the engine. The engine was very hot and smoke was coming from it. He poured a bottle of water that he was carrying, but still, the car did not move. He then started to walk in search of water. ‘’Uff….Ahh….it is so hot, where will I find some water”, he was murmuring to himself.

He walked ahead and saw a shiny patch on the sand that looked like a pool of water, he got very excited, “Ahh! finally, I found water.” But alas ! that was not water, it was a mirage.

By now, the builder was huffing and puffing for breath as he had walked a long distance away from his car in search of water. He was extremely tired, thirsty, hungry and also scared. “ I am so thirsty and tired. I cannot walk any more. But where can I sit, there are no trees and no shade? Rays from the sun are burning me. I am so hungry if there were few trees I could eat some fruits from a tree, sit under its shade and take some rest. There are no lakes or ponds either, I cannot even fill my bottle or drink some pure and natural water.”
He was wondering what to do and started walking back towards his car and lo behold! he lost his way. He walked in all directions, but could not find his car.
He started to cry and shout…. “Please, please someone please help me….H E L P  M E …..H E L P  M E…..” but there was no one around. He was frightened, tired and lost in the desert. Suddenly, he heard a loud booming voice, “Why are you frightened, you only did all this. You cut the trees, dried up the lakes, killed animals to make money and satisfy your greed. People like you completely spoil nature. You all do not allow us to live in harmony and so now we will punish you.”
The builder looked around to see who said these words, but could only see a banyan tree at a distance. As he started to walk towards the tree, the banyan tree disappeared. He started to cry loudly, “ I am sorry, please help me, please allow me to rest under your branches for a few hours. I am really S O R R Y ….
Someone was shaking him up roughly. “What happened? Why are you screaming and crying?” Mr Lobhi heard a voice shouting in his ears. He got up with a start and looked around. He was in his room, sleeping and dreaming.
“Thank god, this was just a dream…..but so scary !” he exclaimed to himself. The next day, he went to that beautiful forest with his friends and told them, “ I have decided not to build the resort here. Let it remain as a natural picnic and trekking spot. Henceforth, I shall not cut unnecessary trees, but will plant more trees to make our surroundings pure and beautiful.”
He then narrated his dream to his friends. Hearing this, all the trees and animals in that forest were happy. They all thanked the great magical banyan tree for scaring the builder and making him realise that trees are so very necessary and important for a  healthy life.
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