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When the Trees Walked
Take turns and read this section aloud. Work in pairs, discuss, describe and list the three main events in this section.
The monsoon season was the time for rambling about. At every turn, there was something new to see. Out of the earth and rock and leafless boughs, the magic touch of the rains had brought life and greenness. You could see the broad-leaved vines growing. Plants sprang up in the most unlikely of places. A peepul would take root in the ceiling; a mango would sprout on the window-sill. We did not like to remove them but they had to go if the house was to be kept from falling down.
‘If you want to live in a tree, that’s all right by me,’ said Grandmother crossly. ‘But I like having a roof over my head and I’m not going to have my roof brought down by the jungle.’
Then came the Second World War and I was sent away to a boarding school. During the holidays, I went to live with my father in Delhi. Meanwhile my grandparents sold the house and went to England. Two or three years later, I too went to England and was away from India for several years.
Some years later, I returned to Dehradun. After first visiting the old house – it hadn’t changed much – I walked out of town towards the river-bed. It was February. As I looked across the dry water-course, my eye was immediately caught by the spectacular red blooms of the coral blossom. In contrast with the dry river-bed, the island was a small green paradise. When I went up to the trees, I noticed that some squirrels were living in them and a koel, a crow pheasant, challenged me with a mellow ‘who-are-you, who-are-you.’
But the trees seemed to know me; they whispered among themselves and beckoned me nearer. And looking around I noticed that other smaller trees, wild plants and grasses had sprung up under their protection. Yes, the trees we had planted long ago had multiplied. They were walking again. In one small corner of the world, Grandfather’s dream had come true.
Ruskin Bond is an award winning Indian author of more than 500 books, short stories, essays and novels. He writes poetry and books for children as well as adults. He lives with his adopted family in Landour, in Mussoorie, India. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.
Discuss and answer.
1. What did Grandmother feel about trees growing in the house?
Grandmother did not mind trees but she preferred growing
2. Why did the author leave town?
Due to second world war the author had to leave the town
to a boarding school.
3. How did Grandfather’s dream come true?
After many years later the author went to the riverbed and he saw the trees well grown, squirrels, koel, crow challenged the author with a mellow "who are you". Thus the grandfather's dream come true.
4. Describe what the author saw when he went back to the island.
After first visiting the old house which has not changed much the author walked out off the town towards the river bed. He looked the dry water course and was caught by the spectacular red blooms of the coral blossom. In contrast with the river bed, the island was a small green paradise. He noticed that some squirrels were living in them and a koel, a crow pheasant, challenged me with a mellow "Who are you?"
rambling - wandering
sprout - when seeds begin to grow small plants
spectacular - eye-catching
beckoned - to signal (someone) with your hand to ask the person to come closer or follow
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