Thursday, January 12, 2012

Notes from the reunion: How green was my valley!

Ok, Neyveli is no valley.

But, boy was it greener than I had ever known and imagined!

Even back when I was a school-going kid, yes, there were lots and lots of trees.  The yard at our home had a whole bunch of mango and tamarind trees, and a few others.  The walk, and later the bicycle ride, to school was along tree-lined roads.

Thirty years later, the town and the school were immensely greener.  I mean, incredibly greener.

When we were in school, the yard, where I stand in the photo, was quite bare with only a couple of trees.

(There was no statue then!  I wish they hadn't installed it.)

When we drove past the house which was once our home, the building was quite lost in the thick vegetation. All the homes on that entire road were way, way greener.  It was great!

As we continued driving, I was struck even more by the phenomenal greenery all around.

Doesn't this photo clearly convey a sense of how green the place is?  With a house (where a former classmate lived) snugly amidst a number of trees of different types?

The greenery is wonderfully contrasted by the bright color of the soil.

I remember well how the Tanzanian soil color reminded me of Neyveli's, and now I am convinced that my mind was not playing any tricks; the similarity is for real.

Not only were there many more banyan trees in Neyveli than I had imagined, many of them were also huge.

Huge!

Like this one, which was way smaller when we were in high school.

Over the hundreds of sunny and warm days in the tree's lifetime, I suppose thousands of people have sought shade and chatted and played and fought under this tree, which, if it could talk, would have fantastically rich stories to tell. 

There were many more like this wherever we went.

After we left town in the evening, through the night and the following day, Cyclone Thane blew through the area and the rain fell hard and fast.

Reports were that many trees were down, which then brought down power lines too.

A classmate, "K," who works and lives there, updated us with plenty of photos--like the one on the left.  Fallen trees across the roads.

Homes in the town, which is a significant source of electricity for the entire state, were apparently without power for a couple of days.

With their multiple supports, most banyan trees are well grounded.  "K" added a note to this photo that only a few branches had broken off this tree.

People come and go. Cyclones blow past.  The firmly rooted banyan trees stand witness to all things good and bad.

Here is to hoping for a lot more good than bad!

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