MODERN HIGH SCHOOL
I am the Big Tree, a resident of the Stree village. I am 62 years old and am a Peepal tree. The residents of the
village often come to sit under me and the grandmothers usually host story telling session here for the children. This village is hardly known because its residents are mostly women and children. All women who refused to be burnt alive after the death of the men in their houses, fled from their original villages to seek a sanctuary here. Although this village is very small with only 23 earthen huts, the people live happily here.
Most children here are below the age of 13 but the older ones go out of the village to work. Recently Geeta, a 21 year old girl, became a doctor in a local hospital and moved out. However she comes every Sunday back home to give her earned money to her family and do free health check-ups for the people. The government was told about this settlement by one of the older boys who left the village a long time ago and we receive help from them once a month. As I continue gazing at the village, I see my sunset coloured leaves falling off my delicate brown branches. This means that winter is coming and it also indicates the yearly festival of the village. Every winter for as long as I can remember, we have a winter festival to express how grateful we are to God for this wonderful family and home. All children excitedly decorate the village each year with old colourful cloths tied in braids and flowers.
Just as the festivities began, for the first time I felt insecure. It felt like someone was watching me but I dismissed my feeling as I looked at the joyous faces around me. Suddenly out of nowhere, I saw men coming on horses and causing havoc. In one corner a man was abducting the children, in another the mothers were locking their children in their weak huts while I just stood still, not being able to do anything. As I saw the goons setting the place on fire, a single tear fell from my eyes, though one could not notice it on such big a tree. But indeed I felt sad that now I might have to live alone again. The robbers looted the village and set it on fire. A part of my branches were scorched by the fire. Oh how it hurt me! The fire slowly made its way to the rest of the leaves and my trunk which was completely dry because of no rains in the past month. As I died, I gave a last blessing to the place I called home and fell into deep slumber, never to wake up with the sun again.