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Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Great Banyan Tree

As a young child I had visited this place called the Great Banyan Tree. We would make field trips from my school to this site where there was a huge banyan tree. The prop roots from this tree would hang almost to the ground. Myself and with other kids would hang on to the young prop roots and swing. We would climb on some branches and sit chatting, making jokes, and having fun. This tree provided a lot of shade, and was an ideal place for picnics. The tree covered about half an acre of land. It was an ideal place to play hide and seek. There were couple of times, I went with our family and played with my cousins. I have good memories of this. Recently when I went to India with my husband and children, we were in this neighborhood of the Banyan tree. Because of my own experience at this site, I thought this would be a nice place for my kids to play.

So we drove to that area, even though we didn't have enough time to be there, we stopped to take a quick look. I was greatly disappointed with what I saw. The tree was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. The wires were so close to the tree, it looked like the tree didn't have enough room to breathe. There was a small entrance and a watch man was there who was not friendly. Bluntly he said no one is allowed inside. As I looked through the fence I could see the tree was coated with dust. It looked uninhabited. My children could not understand why I was giving such importance to this tree, even though I had good memories of it. I wish I had not brought them there. I felt like all of my sweet memories of this place were erased. We went home greatly disappointed.