(When I was very young. I had a classmate. An albino. We always avoided sitting with him. We were afraid. He was so innocent. Hardly spoke. Kept to himself. Till one day. During Jhulon Yatra. He showed great strength. In building those caves. In the soil mounds. And most importantly. He whooshed away a few boys who had come to do some badmashi with our caves.

I was in that school for six months only. I have forgotten his name too. But I still remember him. And how we each one hugged him the next day at school.

Today seeing this tree from my verandah I remembered my lost classmate.)

The different.

He loved. The dark. For everyone noticed him. Only when it was dark.

His brothers and sisters. In their colorful presence. He was the odd one.

Albino. In an overdose of life’s green. All around.

Those lovebirds. Young boys and girls. Who came to the forest. For a romantic moment of their own. They came. In pairs. And rested on the green grass.

Softly the trees would come from behind. And push him.

The girl would scream. The boy would jump. And they would run. In fear. Their faces ashen. The ghost-tree. They called him.

And the trees all laughed. Rolling on each other. At their innocent prank.

And he felt happy. That he was the source. Of Joy. To his friends. Brothers and sisters.

He would no more feel sorry. For his appearance. Different.

At day. As if lifeless. Among trees. In evening. The life of their joy. The trees.


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