Grandpa Banyan
As popular folklore describes, apparently banyan trees shelter ghosts, the chilling stories of whom were part of my memories of Aai-ghara. The poor old tree would be left to the company of its invisible companions, bereft of the giggle and glee of the children who adored it, as soon as the sun set.

And today when I mustered up the courage to stay beyond the clock, I saw the grand old banyan, caress the memories of generations who played in his lap.

Probably these were the ghosts Aai talked about: the kindness, the joy, the sense of fraternity, which have sought refuge in the embrace of the leaves, as childhood slowly slipped away, leaving behind angsty mechanised adults.

On my evening stroll to the majestic Banyan at the village-end, I trod back in time, waving at familiar unrecognisable faces, now absorbed in tending to their nests, the dear ghosts of whom still echo the same laughter in the lap of Grandpa Banyan.

© Pratiksha Saikrishna