I recently read a case study about how the palm trees (actually called as Palmyra Palm), usually the face of most villages is being destroyed in India and especially in Tamil Nadu. The major reason for this is the boom in real estate even in remote villages and the huge demand for bricks. People cut down palm trees, dry them and use them as fire wood for baking bricks. This tree can live without much water, and can survive any drought and can live for well over 150 years. The tender fruits are not only nutritious and delicious but also an ideal food for the Indian summers, the Palmyra candy (கருப்பட்டி வெல்லம்) is a nutritious sweetener, even the sapling of the ripe fruit is consumed as food.
When I was a kid; this tree intrigued me a lot. There are many reasons for it, I always felt that there is more life in this tree than any other tree (barring a neem tree). The tree has a ghostly appearance during the night times. As a kid along with my friends we climb all the trees in our neighborhood (in my native village), we even climb coconut trees without the string for our legs, but never attempted to climb this tree, because we were told that lot of scorpions reside in these trees, so we never entertained the idea of climbing this tree not just because of the fear of a scorpion bite, but the fear of falling down if we were bitten by a scorpion. Though all these things added to the mystic of these trees, it was a thing said by my grand mother about these trees which made a lasting impact.
Palm Tree Friendship:
This is what she narrated: There are three kind of friends; one a betel tree type, the other a coconut tree type and the last a palm tree type. Betel tree requires extensive maintenance, right watering, good soil and manure. Despite doing all that they might not give a good yield. A coconut tree requires maintenance, and if you do maintain it well, then it gives very good yields year after year. However friends should not be like these trees, no matter what the other person is doing for you, if he is your friend then you are supposed to shower unconditional love. Just like what a Palm tree does, it doesn’t matter wether we take care of it or not, it will yield all possible benefits for us. People make fans out of the leaves, tender palm water is an excellent beverage, tender palm fruit is a good food during summers, the ripe palm gives rise to saplings which can be taken even as staple food, it gives us the most healthy sweetener – (கருப்பட்டி வெல்லம்), even for those alcoholics it gives a healthy form of alcohol (பனை கள்), if the tree dies, then it is used to make bridge over streams. A true friend should be like that, should give and do anything for a friend without expecting anything in return.
So whenever I come across Palm trees, I remember all my friends, and whenever I come across true friendships I remember Palm trees. It is really sad that people are destroying palm trees without knowing the contribution of these trees to the rural economy, while invasive species like acacia and parthenium are thriving in our country palm tree which acts as the backbone of rural life is being destroyed. After reading that case study completely, I felt like a friend of mine is being killed slowly in front of my eyes.
Please plant trees, and only trees can make the future of man kind sustainable.