I would perch myself on one of those branches, armed with a story book. I wasn’t scared of heights back then, but maybe the act of doing something that was not a girle thing to do made me feel uncertain, uneasy. For, although I loved this activity, I did feel jittery, even had a few butterflies in the tummy! But, I loved it – this me time that I enjoyed with my book and my tree. It was all the more pleasant during the scorching summers. The tree shaded me from the heat and the branches swayed ever so slightly to the tune of the cool breeze, leaving me with a feeling of sweet somnolence.
But, sadly, I don’t remember when we had to bid adieu to our favourite garden ornament. Umm…I think it was when mother found a family of rats enjoying a nocturnal picnic under the tree that she decided that we had had enough of garden fun. Yes, that was it! And, the day the gardener uprooted the tree, we found to our horror a handful of eww-y looking, pink, hairless rodent babies, snuggled against each other, enjoying their siesta! Out went the tree, the babies (aww!) and all. The garden vanished, and in its place came a tiled porch which mother decorated with a few potted plants. Sigh!
It’s been ages since I climbed a tree, a la Mowgli! Had those rats found some other garden to reside in, my tree would have grown older along with me! We would have spent many a summer in each other’s cool company. Of course, I wouldn’t have burdened it with my grown-up’s weight, but would have nestled against its trunk, reading a book and stealing some precious moments far from the madding crowd!