It’s still Monsoon here in Nepal and every time I set foot out of my haven for some fun I get lashed by the downpour. Like every other day, it was no exceptional; the heavy shower caught me before I could reach the destined situate. And what could be the better place than a PEEPAL TREE to save myself from getting drenched. As the rain started to take toll, the figures ahead of me began to escalate. So, I trotted backwards and got in close encounter with the master piece of the nature. Then and there, a small inquisitiveness gurgled in my mind which led me to contemplate about the name of this giant stature; is it PEEPAL TREE or PEOPLE TREE? Though the notion seemed bit ridiculous, it knocked every hemisphere of my brain. An instant vibe in me propelled my best side to jot something down on this extraordinary living thing we hardly take notice of. That’s what led me to toddle forward.
At most of the junction, either inside or outside Kathmandu; there is a PEOPLE TREE ( it’s wot I luv to call) which serves as major outlet for most of the mobile business. A small local tea shop, a momo stand, or a one stop Chinese goods shop etc all have their station at or around PEOPLE TREE .Their presence is simply inevitable. To name a few attendances, we can reckon of the one at CHABEL, the one at BOUDHA, the one at GAUSHALA, the one at HANDIGAON, the one at MAITEDEVI, the one at NEWROAD, the one at SINAMANGAL, the one at SWOYAMBHU. In fact the numbers are more than we can even think of. PEOPLE TREES have grown and flourished with and around people.
The rapport between human beings and PEOPLE TREE can be traced back to the mythology. It manages a special position in our religion. There are significant numbers of religious chores where the presence of PEOPLE TREE is hugely obligatory. Many mythological tales have expanded the fruitful horizon of PEOPLE TREE. More than 2500 years ago Lord Buddha attained the enlightenment under one such PEOPLE TREE itself. PEOPLE TREE attains great size with age. The leaves that hang from the strong divine flexible branches rustle in the slightest breeze to create a pleasant feelings and it speaks of its pride.
In the time when there were hardly any shopping malls and trading houses like we do have today, the PEOPLE TREE served as one. The so called merchants would sit under the shady branches of PEOPLE TREE and served the people with whatever they wanted. People from all around the village would throng around the PEOPLE TREE to meet their needs and wants. From dawn till dusk they would occupy the place under the PEOPLE TREE and when they would call it a day, the children would occupy the places making it their playground. Even today we can see people flocking around PEOPLE TREE simply to pass and enjoy the time.
PEOPLE trees’ bonding with people can even be seen at each CHAUTARI in our village even today. They have managed to provide the invigorating shades to the travelers far and wide. Travelers sit, relax and rejuvenate under the graceful branches of PEOPLE TREE. PEOPLE TREE planted by people for people at such major turns also tells the tales of everlasting linkage between people and the PEOPLE TREE.
Just the other day, a foreigner inquired me about the same tree and it’s amazing how he said it in his pure foreign accent, “Chabel, PEOPLE TREE, whe’ is it?” I helped him with the location and he unknowingly helped me with this article.
I have watched people at Gaushala, in route to my college; enjoying fresh watermelon or a coconut under the immense shades of PEOPLE TREE during summer, while in winter I have witnessed people sipping hot tea at the same hub. Some people earn their living under these PEOPLE TREEs while some people try to churn the ways to start a fresh life under one such tree.
So, for me it’s not PEEPAL TREE but a PEOPLE TREE.
TRIVIA: Scientifically PEOPLE TREE has been classified in the division Magnoliophyta under the class Manoliopsida of order Urticles and family Moracene. It is also known as the Bo tree or Fig tree. It is often regarded as the female counterparts of the great Banyan tree.