The Constant


Hello there! I’m Bany, your friendly neighbourhood banyan tree. You can spot me chilling in my usual spot in front of the library. The next edition of Degree is up, and I was really flattered when they asked me to pen down my thoughts for them. Time to take out my journal and keep those fleeting thoughts from flying away.
0600 hours: The pleasantly warm rays of the sun brush my bark as the birds start flying about. My body tingles with delight and I feel the lethargy drain off. As I bask in the moment, my inner 'shayar' bursts forth.

Arun rath par sawaar aadambar shoonya weh sansaar ujjwalit karta hai
Nisha apni chaadar samet kar naye din ka aavahan karti hai
Ek naya din ek nayi shuruat ka smaarak hai
Insaan nashwar nahi hai yaaron
Are weh to roz mar kar subah uthne ka gila karta hai

Five of my black friends are sitting on my branches, cawing about the dearth of worms nowadays. Turns out NIT has competition for everyone, man or beast. A few humans of a rare species have started running about; apparently they’re called “joggers”. A sweeper is collecting the leaves I shed throughout the night. I try not to spread them much, but alas! No one ever toilet trained me. ☹

0805 hours: It’s time for classes! Kids rush about, trying to make it in time, hoping the professors don’t dock their attendance. Freshers are more nervous in this respect; seniors couldn’t care less. Times like these make me thankful that I’m no human.

1330 hours: “Coffee isn’t my cup of tea”. Despite the constant debate over which is better, the romance that tea brings with it is the stuff of legends. No matter what time of the day, tea lovers will find an excuse to have it. A few bravehearts attempt the impossible by seeking relief in a warm beverage while the wise soothe their parched throats with a refreshing gulp of cool soda. Even though I can’t participate in the quiet, little discussions over a cup, listening to them is a little guilty pleasure of mine. Yes! I do eavesdrop! Can’t a tree indulge in some sin as well?

Itni azaadi to hume bhi de ae kaafir,
Ki hum tumhaare gile shikve sun sake.
Unhe suljha nahi sakte to kya hua,
Unki ghataaon mein ulajhna to hume bhi aata hai

1730 hours: The skies start turning a beautiful shade of mauve. It really is a sight to behold, and behold they do. Pairs of lovebirds sit scattered by my base, hands entwined, with stars in their eyes. Sometimes I feel they are the ones who truly appreciate life, for they have the gift of love. They whisper sweet nothings to each other and I can’t help but feel the slight tinge of jealousy, for I’ll never have what they do.

Wo hathon mein haath liye chalte hain
Zubaan pe kasame aur man mein sapne sanjoy rakhte hain
Ye to khuda hi jaane ki inka kya hoga
Par kam se kam ye lamhe mein to jeete hain

2230 hours: A lone man sits beneath me. The entire area is empty save for him. He takes out a cigarette and lights it, the red embers glowing like the Devil’s eyes. He proceeds to drown out his sorrows and the entire world in that little, deadly stick. A few puffs, and he’s noticeably calmer. It took me a long time to figure out how they could do this to themselves. You only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low, and after a day of lows, it seems a small sacrifice.

Andheri raaton ke dhoomil saaye mein
Wo apni zindagi ke pal dhuan kar raha tha
Anjaan weh apni zindagi ka swayam daman kar raha tha
Shaayad use zindagi mein praudhta ki nahi, yauvan ki chaahat thi

50 years I’ve stood here. I have seen the metamorphosis of countless kids, lost souls find their way, mechanical engineers get a girl, and civil duals gain fame on DC++. However, each day brings with itself something new to see and to learn. This is what keeps me going. This is what I do; I feel, I learn, I grow.
Seems like I should doze off now. I’m no night owl, but this guy on my branch sure is!

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D361 is the official magazine of NITR.