It was a winter morning. A shaft of warm sunlight shone on an old and mighty tree.
Ready for the day’s play, a clan of monkeys, squirrels and sparrows frolicked from branch to branch.
But they all noticed something odd.

The mighty tree that would usually sway to the breeze stood still, brooding.
It looked sad and pale, quite unlike its usual lively self.

Bali, the leader of the monkeys hushed up all the clamouring creatures. He sat next to the trunk of the tree and asked,

‘What happened my good friend? You don’t seem like yourself today. Is everything all right?’

The tree kept mum, as if holding a secret inside that it wished it never knew of.

‘Please tell us what’s wrong. You are in the company of friends’ muttered Shilpa the squirelle.

The tree heaved a sigh and spoke,

‘ My dear friends, I overheard a terrible news today. The owners of the house across us is quite miffed with all the leaves and seeds that fall during winter time.’

‘But that’s only natural !’ exclaimed Bali the chimp.

‘ Not only that Bali, he was angry with the monkeys for jumping on his brand new car’

‘But that’s parked on our playground !’ retorted Shilpa the squirelle.

‘And he was upset about all the droppings on his car from birds and squirrels.’ said the tree.

‘But that’s where we’ve been going all these years. It was his choice to park his car under our toilet !’ reasoned Salma the Sparrow.

‘He is considering to chop me off so that there are no more monkeys or birds or squirelles to ruin his car, no leaves for him to clean from his front yard.’

They all fell silent.
They could be losing a friend, a playground, an abundance of food, a place they called home.

‘I wonder what will happen to my future generations. There is no way my seeds will sprout on the concrete pavements that I am surrounded with, no way for rainwater to reach the aquifer so that I can quench my thirst. My roots grew deeper and deeper in the search of water and now that I stand firmly on the ground, the owner wants to just behead me!’

‘I tried to tell this to the owner, but before I could enter the house, he shut the doors’ shared Vayu the wind.

‘Why is this human divorcing himself from nature to this extent?’ they all wondered.

Watching the tree and the animals in plight, the owner’s dog came out to the front porch.

‘No need to worry my friends’ he spoke,
‘I overheard my master speak to his father this morning over breakfast.
He is much interested in buying a new house advertised in the newspaper this morning. His father agreed to the suggestion as well. I think they will move into this new place next month.’

There was a sigh of relief from each of the members of the tree’s brethren. They all danced around, jumped from branch to branch, the sparrows fluttered in the sky and landed back in utter joy.
Their lives are safe they all thought.

‘But where are they moving to?’ asked the old tree.

The dog said,

‘I couldn’t read the fine print when I took the newspaper from the gate this morning.
The ad said in big block letters that the new homes were built in the lap of nature. I think that’s what sold the idea to my master.’

Oh the irony !

The tree and the animals wondered whether to celebrate for the safety of their lives, or to feel sorry for the nature’s lap that will soon be desecrated by an inveterate human.