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Putting Down Roots Image Credit: Verve
Putting Down Roots Image Credit: Verve

Putting Down Roots

Trees have played a significant role in all civilisations, states Madhu Jain, who nurtured a rather large one of her own in her New Delhi garden .

Madhu Jain

The tree stood at the end of our driveway. It was just a tiny little thing when we planted it some years ago. But then, like the giant beanstalk that grew from the three magical beans Jack threw on the ground in the old English fairy tale, the tree shot up, towering over our house. Its lush branches prevented the rays of the sun from reaching our increasingly brown and bare garden. The flower beds became barren, as did the mandarin tree bearing the tiny Chinese oranges, which began to wither and fall off.

The tree began to reach for the sky. The roots spread deeper and pushed upwards through the driveway, rendering it difficult for us to walk. But we did not have the heart, and to be honest the right, to cut it down — even though we had planted it on our own land. The municipality had numbered and was responsible for maintaining all the trees along the sidewalks.

Home for saplings

Bringing down a tree is complicated — and not without consequences. If you do so without permission, you are required to plant 10 saplings elsewhere — and show proof of having done so. Fortunately, we have friends who offered the far edge of their huge gardens as a home for the saplings. Strangely enough, there are few complaints against the municipal corporations for felling myriad trees to build bypasses and flyover bridges in Delhi and the Greater Delhi area.

These sentinels of trees are perhaps just doing their job, carrying out o


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