The Neem Tree
Adapted from: Indira Anantha Krishna
The month of April was warm and summer had just set in; the neem tree was in bloom. Malar gazed through the window at the neem tree and totally forgot herself. The tree was so beautiful! Suddenly, the teacher’s harsh voice thundered. “Malar! I’ve called your name twice already and you’ve not answered.” Her thoughts swung back to the classroom.
“Yes, teacher, ” said Malar.
“Malar! You will never learn anything if you keep on dreaming in the class,” remarked her teacher. Malar stood up silently, her head down.
“Sit down,” said the teacher and continued the lesson “It isn’t true,” said Malar to herself as she sat down. “I do try to pay attention, but I don’t think dreaming is bad.” She swallowed a lump in her throat and began to pay attention to the lesson- At the end of the class the teacher announced, “Before we close for summer, we will entertain ourselves as we usually do, with a song, dance and drama show. “The children clapped their hands joyfully.
“Who’d like to participate?” asked the teacher A few enthusiastic hands went up.
“Malar? You too..,?’ I asked the teacher, raising her eyebrows.
Malar nodded, her right hand raised high.
Her grandmother’s words echoed in her ears, “Keep your flag flying high. You will do well!”
“What would you like to do, Malar?” asked the teacher doubtfully. Malar answered promptly.
“Act in a play”,
‘Well… I must see where we can fit you in,” said the teacher, her voice still ringing with doubt. “Or… or… dance.” The girls giggled. One of them said, She will start day dreaming on the stage, too !”
“We’ll see about that,” replied the teacher evasively. The bell rang. It was break time and the class dispersed. Malar and Nila ran out hand in hand. They ran to the row of trees that provided shade for the children. They ran in and out of the row of trees. Malar loved the white flowers of the neem tree. She thought that the green leaves of the neem tree were dotted like pearls by the tiny flowers of the neem trees Suddenly, Nila stopped running and pointed upto one of the trees.