Saturday, December 16

Garden City

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The city was observing `friends of the green’ day. The guide explained to the tourists a group of them to visit the city gardens.

As they walked around with saint Ramoji, the clever sage, they noticed that a peel tree was growing right through a wall. Saint Ramoji explained that all fig trees, the peepal being one being one of them, grow anywhere. `The peepal tree is a sacred tree. It is said God appeared to Buddha while he was sitting under it and praying.’ Saint Ramoji remarked that people believed it was dangerous to lie and cheat when seated beneath the tree. However, people continue to do these things in spite of having peepal trees in the bazaars!

The group then walked further till they came to a banyan tree. The people were impressed with its size. One of the man asked why these trees were not seen in the city itself. `That is a good question. You can see it needs a lot of space to spread itself out. Look how its branches reach the ground, take root again and then send up more trailing b5ranches, which spread out again and give further strength and support to the trees,’ said saint Ramoji.

Old service man Mr. Mohan, head of the gardens, arrived and explained that it would not be possible for them to talk about all the wonderful trees, but they must not miss seeing the palm trees. They noticed that the palm trees were in a row, the way they are near the seashore.  The ladies in the group could identify the Palmyra tree, from which the cool and delicious Palmyra fruit is obtained. There was also the betel –nut and date palm which is an important tree. Muslims break their fast with the date, which is highly nutritious.

The people wanted to know about the coconut palm. Mr. Mohan explained that it was a popular palm because it gave water in the shell, flesh in the nut, oil for cooking and applying too the hair. The coconut tree is useful to us in other ways also. Brooms are made from its leaf ribs; palm wine, sugar and jaggery are made from its sap; fiber is obtained from the outer cover of the nut. Butter is produced from the dry copra.

Having enjoyed their visit, the people returned to colony. The people said the visit would have been more enjoyable if they had been permitted to climb the trees!   

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