After the Storm
– Deepa Agarwal
The storm raged all night. Lightning crackled and the wind howled like ademon. Saruli cowered under the covers and clung to her mother when she heard the thunder. A peculiar crack-crack-SNAP, followed by a tremendous crash, as though agiant had fallen to the ground.
“What is that?” she asked her mother. “The trees,” her mother replied. “The wind is blowing them down. “The trees!” Saruli was shocked. The wind was strong, very strong. But was it powerful enough to knock down those enormous pines—so straight and tall?
The next morning she saw it for herself. Row upon row of the lofty pines lay stretched helplessly on the ground. Saruli was stunned. Half the jungle seemed bare.
Most of the people from the small hill village were there, foraging for branches and dragging them away. But Saruli, a wiry girl of thirteen, stood there stunned. Gripped with fear Saruli was thinking of the barren hillside across the valley. How desolate it looked! A real contrast to the forest near their village, which was full of Fresh grass and shrubs. Suppose… suppose all the trees fell down … wouldn’t the forest disappear? With an effort she dismissed these thoughts and began to collect wood. Fuel was always an important need. Saruli gathered a large bundle. On her way back, she passed Diwan Singh’s house. The old man was seated outside. “You want some wood, uncle?” she asked. Without waiting for an answer she dropped part of her bundle in one corner of the paved courtyard.