The shade under the banyan tree is cool on this hot day. Although the sun is at its peak in the sky, the temperature below the banyan’s canopy remains pleasant. The air is thick. The smell of the banyans blooming flowers fill the air with the sweet smell of nature’s industry. A soft “Cuooh… Cuooh” can be heard from a bright green fruit dove that had made its nest in a nook of the banyans entangled limbs. A gentle breeze makes its way through the banyans many leaves, causing the canopy to partake in a quiet applause. Shirtless, I stare up at my great banyan through the eyes of an adventurous child. Shoeless, I feel the uneven surface of the banyan’s cool roots. Is that a pulse I feel through the soles of my feet?
The sounds of nature are disturbed momentarily by the passing of a bus, whose booming music causes the small pebbles near my feet to dance. The sound of the bus’s music becomes fainter and fainter, until once again the noises of the banyan canopy dominate. I put my ear against the trunk of the banyan, and with the imagination and determination of an eight year old child, I listen for a heartbeat.