Home > Magazine > ChaiTime > Fun Time: IF YOU APPRECIATE TREES, PLANT MORE OF THEM



Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
October 2019

Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved trees. Back then, I saw trees as a play structure. I enjoyed climbing them and exploring their branches, usually with a friend or two.

My appreciation of trees continued into adulthood. When I walk around my neighborhood or drive my car down a road, I’m always struck by the beauty of trees. I love how they spread out their branches and give us shade. I love how calm and peaceful they seem. I imagine myself having a conversation with a tree and learning its perspective on life.

Me: “Hello, Mr. Tree. How are you?”

Tree: “Please don’t call me Mr. Tree. How would you like it if I call you Mr. Human? Besides, I don’t have a gender.”

Me: “What should I call you then?”

Tree: “Ash.”

Me: “Is that short for Ashwin or Ashok?”

Tree: “What makes you think I’m Indian? Is it my complexion? My accent?”

Me: “Sorry, I just made an assumption.”

Tree: “Well, stop making assumptions. That’s what I don’t like about humans—they’re always making assumptions.”

Me: “You don’t like humans?”

Tree: “I do like them. I just wish they weren’t so … human.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Tree: “Well, humans should try to be more like trees. For example, they can learn to be kinder to each other and not discriminate so much. I do not care if a person sitting under me is white, black, or brown—I give them equal shade. I was even kind to the boy who carved his initials on me. Can you imagine how humans would react?”

Me: “We’d kick him. But you don’t have legs.”

Tree: “I have limbs. And I could have easily dropped one on him.”

Me: “What else can humans learn from you?”

Tree: “They can learn to appreciate their roots. Humans often forget their roots. They don’t know where they came from. We know the importance of roots. We can’t survive without them.”

Me: “Any other lessons humans can get from trees?”

Tree: “They can learn to adapt. Humans complain about so many little things. For example, they get upset about the weather. But who is exposed to more adverse weather than trees? We can’t take shelter anywhere; we can only provide it. Humans also complain when they’re stuck in traffic. But can you imagine being stuck in one spot for your entire life?”

Me: “Would you like to move around?”

Tree: “No, I’m quite happy here. This is where my roots are.”

Me: “So you don’t like to travel?”

Tree: “I hate traveling. Two of my friends did some traveling. One is now a chair and the other a table.”

Me: “Sorry about that.”

Tree: “Sure you are! Do you own any wooden furniture?”

Me: “Uh … well … I have chairs and tables and bookcases.”

Tree: “Shame on you!”

Me: “Please forgive me. I’ll do anything.”

Tree: “Will you plant 15,000 saplings tomorrow?”

Me: “Fifteen thousand saplings? That’s impossible!”

Tree: “Of course it’s possible. A Canadian man named Ken Chaplin planted 15,170 saplings in one day on June 30, 2001.”

Me: “Wow. Did he feel guilty about all his furniture?”

Tree: “No, he was trying to set a Guinness World Record.”

Me: “How did that make you feel?”

Tree: “I was thrilled. I love it when humans do good things while setting records. I was ecstatic when people in Madhya Pradesh, India, planted 66 million trees during a 12-hour span in July 2017. So tell me, have you planted even a single tree in your life?”

Me: “Uh … well … I once tossed a peach pit into the forest.”

Tree: “That’s not enough! You need to do more. You keep using us, but you never bother to help us survive.”

Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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