Since when I have lived here, in Goa, Panjim, this behemoth of a creature has stood its ground firmly. It always would sway in the wind, as if made of foam and yet seem so sturdy. The gargantuan of a tree, Rainwood would be right in front of one’s face when they looked out of my window.
When asked about its origins, most of them would just shrug and smile because they never considered as a tree. It had always been there and that fact had rendered it an obvious part of the environment.
I remember as a kid being fascinated by trees and plants and might I add, there were not few but instead many in Panjim. The whole city had its streets lined with trees. Shrubs and bushes of unknown species dotted the hidden alleys and roads as if trying to defy the existence of man-made urbanisation. Flowering trees adorn the heart of Goa to this day and is the most hauntingly beautiful scene I have ever seen.
This particular tree was the first tree of its size that I had seen. From the window of the living room, this tree would call out to me by the rustling of its leaves. I was a short kid back then, and seeing that I was not allowed to leave the home alone, I would stare out the windows all day whilst imagining a great space battle—all on the huge tree.
And the weird thing about the tree was that it was a complex network of branches. The huge trunk, at least a few feet wide, had branches of all shapes and sizes sprouting out of it. It reminds me of that kurkure commercial ‘Tedha hai par mera haiiiiinnn‘ (yes in that weird tune).
The branches itself had been designed in such a way that each one had a different type of fungi growing on or out of it. Mushrooms of queer smells and colors; moss covering the branches and twigs like a carpet of green velvet; insects of strange yet beautiful sorts, crawling in the niches of the wood…
As the monsoon would hit, the tree would glow. Literally, GLOW. The leaves would be greener. The moss covering the wood would be a hundred folds greater. Birds would take shelter of the thing, as if the thing was their mother, protecting it. And I swear to God, the tree would grow more as the rain would pelt it.
As the years flew by, the monsoon grew fiercer. Storms, rains and thundering grew ten fold. Winds of great speeds would sway the thing as if it were made of foam. I wondered about it, always. Then I would realize that the trunk was hollow. That was the speciality of these Rainwood trees. They were hollow, yet looking sturdy; huge yet comfortingly small; rustling loudly yet pleasantly.
Maybe or maybe not but the tree would make the environment cooler. Panjim would be smouldering hot in summers and this tree would make it a lot less so. And it would also become fresher.
And the cherry on the cake?
I realized when I grew up that it wasn’t the only tree there. The whole street was lined with Rainwood trees (although smaller) and each was an exact copy of the other. They guarded either side of the Road like an army of statues.
The rain could not kill them, the wind could not make them fall. They were surely very strong.
In closing, I would like to say that this tree has been my own support in its own weird way. How a tree could be a source of so many childhood memories, I will never know!!!! But it still stands grandly, waving at each new kid that lives in the building.
After a long time, I am writing this post on a tree outside the house where I grew up in. Why about a tree?
Well, someone asked me to. This is more of an essay of sorts than a normal post. Tell me if you like it!