Bhuto’s Banyan Tree

On a chilly December morning, as the first rays of sunlight pierced through the veil of fog created by the condensing water vapour rising from the forgotten Adi Ganga river passing nearby, it revealed the silhouette of a massive and ancient banyan tree the likes of which perhaps nowhere else could anyone find. The golden beams of the sun darted through the few gaps in the mighty banyan’s enormous and thick foliage to cast down a mosaic of dancing and dazzling yellow shapes on the green and brown earth below and the smoking river surface.

The dawning rays further unveiled a crumbling and archaic Hindu temple of thin and exposed skeletal bricks, fifty metres from the old banyan, covered in sprouting wild vegetation, housing a unique deity of Goddess Kali made of eight rare metals, worshipped by the villagers every day.

The deity was believed to be very powerful and stories of its miracles and divine providence travelled to far off regions. A hundred metres beyond the temple across a green paddy field lay the sleepy village of Botgram deep in the hinterlands of the South 24 Parganas district in India’s West Bengal state.

The Adi Ganga or the original river Ganges once flowed through here, however, gradually through the centuries the mighty river changed its course leaving behind a thin canal in its place. On the left bank of this once mighty river stood the majestic Banyan, the antique temple of the miraculous goddess, and the tiny village of just twenty houses with fifty residents.

As the piercing morning light gradually cleared the previous night’s mists away, smoke from woodfire and cow dung patty fuelled earthen cinders slowly rose above the thatched hamlet indicating the start of another village day. The crowing of rivalling roosters, moo of sulking cows, bleats of fleeting goats, barks of local dogs, and grunts of domestic swine and wild boars mixed with the hoots and chirps of different birds gradually woke up the village sleepy heads.

“Bhuto, aye Bhuto, where on earth are you goddamnit,” shrieked a rickety old lady as she wobbled out of a dilapidated hut, swinging her crooked cane in the air, cursing to her heart’s content, creating a ruckus, which the villagers were used to listening every day.

“Have you gone up to climb the godforsaken banyan again along with your troublesome friends? Now, who will take the goats out to graze? Aye Goddess Kali why have you left me with this cursed orphan, who killed his mother at birth and caused his father my only son to commit suicide and end his life in the most horrible way,” cried and shouted the old woman banging her feeble bosom with her crumpled and wrinkled fists walking down the main village alleyway.

“Bhuto, your frantic grandma is on the rampage again,” commented twelve-year-old Potla peeping through a camouflaged window of leaves and twigs, which opened and closed like a stage curtain, operated by pulleys, levers and ropes fabricated by Bhuto and his engineer friends, at about one hundred feet above the ground on the western face of the mighty banyan’s foliage, facing the village.

“Chill grandma, boys will always be boys,” chuckled Daton the toothless village blacksmith as he prepared to fire up his hearth for the day. “They are just up in their beloved tree. They will come down when they get hungry,” continued Daton speaking with a steady stream of spit jutting out of his toothless face. “Don’t defend the boys, you spitting fool. They have enough food stashed up in that tree to feed the entire village for a month you imbecile. God only know what these kids do up in the tree all day,” mumbled grandma as she walked away.

“Why do you encourage the boys Daton. They are always stealing our tool, nails, metal, and wood for their silly games up on the tree,” commented Gurupodo, the village carpenter, as he chewed on and violently poked his mouth with a Neem twig, brushing his teeth in the ancient Indian way.

“Okay, granny has calmed down, as usual, she won’t be searching for you for the next few hours I guess,” said Godai to Bhuto looking out through another camouflaged window a storey higher up in the tree from where Potla had peeped out to report grandma’s initial fit of rage. Few more such windows opened and closed all around the Banyan’s thick and impregnable foliage as Bhuto’s friends peeped out of them to gather useless intel about their uneventful village as part of their childish treehouse games.

A hundred kilometres from Botgram through the neighbouring forest rode a fast-moving hoard of fifty horsemen. Peetombor and Kalu led the group on their two jet-black Malani stallions. The brothers had carved a name of terror for themselves in the Bengal region. They and their band of dacoits had been looting and plundering, moving from one village to the next. No one knew where their secret hideout was and how they managed to cover their tracks and always vanish away.

The year was 1702 CE, the Malla king Raghunath Singha Dev II had just inherited the throne of Bengal from his Father the brave Durjan Singha Dev. King Raghunath who though a competent ruler was more inclined towards music, dance, and artistic performances. He had not yet given adequate attention to Peetombor and Kalu’s looting rampage.

Two hundred hooves drummed on the soggy forest floor on that cold winter morning in December heading towards Botgram, the small and unknown village of twenty houses with fifty people. The previous night they had just plundered the neighbouring village of Chapadanga and though their next logical target on the path of plunder was Botgram, there was another strong reason for them to head that way.

The brothers were great devotees of Goddess Kali and had heard about the miraculous power of the unique rare eight metal deity in the temple of Botgram. They wanted to bring and establish it in their own secret hideout forest temple. Of course, they would also loot the village of all its food and riches, violate women, and if necessary, kill to make an example or simply fuel their sadistic ways.

After two hours of hard riding, the dacoits were finally at the village. They tore into the peaceful hamlet shrieking horrifying battle cries creating dust clouds with their galloping horses. The looters frantically wielded their sabres and spears slashing and jabbing through anything that lay in their way.

As the initial frenzy of the attack calmed and the blinding dust settled, Peetombor, Kalu, and the bandits could not comprehend what they saw in front of them. There was not a single human being in the village. Cows, goats, pigs, dogs, and hens roamed around but there were no men, women, or children. Food was still cooking on the earthen stoves, but no one was around to tend. There were signs of human activities everywhere but no villagers anywhere. It was as if the people had just vanished moments before the dacoits came.

Peetombor and Kalu’s men frantically searched every nook and corner a few kilometres in every direction but could not find a single human. Now, they were really scared. It had to be divine intervention. The dacoits were convinced that Goddess Kali of Botgram must have performed a miracle and teleported the villagers to a safe place before they arrived in the village. There was simply no other explanation.

Now scared of the wrath of the Goddess, the bandits decided not to take a single thing from this divinely protected village. Standing in front of the ancient temple Peetombor and Kalu bowed to ask for forgiveness from the Goddess. “Oh! Mother Kali, we will never come here again and promise to abstain from looting any village with your temple in it,” cried the two dacoit brothers with folded palms, before leaving the village once and for all with their horses and men.

As the bandits rode away, camouflaged windows slowly started opening up on the mighty banyan’s foliage. Moments later a wooden basket came down the tree like a lift, lowered through an ingenious system of ropes and pulleys operated by a wooded wheel slowly turned by two boys hidden somewhere inside the banyan’s bowels. From the basket stepped out toothless Daton the blacksmith and Guropodo the carpenter and signalled that they were out of harm’s way.

Runged and knotted rope ladders came down from the mighty banyan and one after the other men, women, and children descended from the branches. The basket lift went up and down to bring down the aged.

It seemed that over the past three years Bhuto and his friends had become obsessed with creating an intricate livable world on planks and platforms hidden deep in the mighty banyan’s foliage.

Their childish game of keeping a lookout through the camouflaged windows spotted the approaching bandits long before they arrived at the village. In a great show of bravery and presence of mind, the children came down and gathered the villagers, alerted them of the approaching danger, and convinced them to hide in the tree in time before the bandits came.

The villagers never told anyone about this event as they wanted to keep the possibility of escaping into the banyan if ever needed. As the years passed by, upkeep of the secret treehouse was handed down to children through the generations, who constantly developed the living space and facilities in the tree’s bowels.

So today if you somehow happen to land in Botgram do visit the ancient temple of the eight rare metal deity of Goddess Kali and catch a glimpse of Bhuto’s Banya Tree, who knows you may spot a kid peeping out of a camouflaged window keeping a watchful eye as a hidden sentinel.

Bhuto's Banyan Tree


Copyright © 2021 TRISHIKH DASGUPTA

This work of fiction, written by Trishikh Dasgupta is the author’s sole intellectual property. All rights are reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, send an email to the author at trishikh@gmail.com or get in touch with Trishikh on the CONTACT page of this website.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trishikh

Trishikh Dasgupta

Adventurer, philosopher, writer, painter, photographer, craftsman, innovator, or just a momentary speck in the universe flickering to leave behind a footprint on the sands of time..READ MORE 

112 Comments Add yours

  1. nedhamson says:

    Reblogged this on Ned Hamson’s Second Line View of the News and commented:

    delightful tale

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Ned for always liking my stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A. White says:

    Very interesting story.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Always a pleasure to receive your appreciation. I look forward to it all the time.

      Like

  3. Banyan’s evoke mysticism filled with beauty of an invisible kind. Your story takes me to many a places, trees that held my thoughts of long and there is no doubt dear trishikh that the tree has also blessed you with words and vision. My wishes

    Nara x

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Your words greatly encourage me. Am so glad that my story was able to take you to places. Yes you are right, trees have a special place in the human heart, and specially in that of a kid.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Bravo 🙂 I have a “foreigner” question: is this beautiful tale a traditional tale that you rewrote, or is it all your own?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      It is a figment of my imagination. A complete new and fresh tale for the world. Thank you so much for liking my story.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So it was the birthday of a new tale !!!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        Oh! Absolutely.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 🙂 I should write the day of birth… / the Birth Day 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Trishikh says:

        Yes certainly you can do that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Arpita Banerjee says:

    Loved this story. ✨

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you Arpita. You have always encouraged and appreciated my stories. Will always be thankful for that.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ola G says:

    Lovely story, Trishikh!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. Always appreciate your appreciation.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. vaniheart says:

    Wow very well described 👏👏👏
    And what a great story

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. Really treasure your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Anamika says:

    Fascinating story! Keep on writing such impressive one’s.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Anamika, you are my constant source of inspiration.

      Like

  9. ahiricreates says:

    Interesting!! Loved the story!
    Stay happy and keep writing ❤️!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks for liking the story. Much appreciate your kind comment. Keep a look out for one every weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ahiricreates says:

        Yup i loved it! And will surely keep an eye every weekend waiting for a new piece to read! Till then will be going through all your previous writings and enjoy them🤗!

        And thanks for the support you’ve been showing to my blog! Grateful I am 🙏😇

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        Thank you so much. You are most welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ahiricreates says:

        Daroon laglo shotti!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Trishikh says:

        ধন্যবাদ। Thank you.

        Like

  10. I love how you weave a great story connecting so many dots of our rich heritage, life back then and the ingenious bunch of young lads. I could visualise your words unfold the entire story before me. Kudos Trishikh 👏

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are too kind with your words. Usually I tend to get a bit carried away with history, but this time for this story I wanted to keep as little as history as possible. Fortunately I have been able to connect the dots till now in most of my stories, some ofcourse are better than others. I agree with you visuals are a very important part of my stories.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. KK says:

    An excellent and absorbing story, Trishikh. The way you weave your words with imagination is simply superb. The characters you choose look so real. Thank you my friend for sharing this beautiful story.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Your kind words of appreciation mean a lot. They encourage me to a great extent. Am so glad that you liked the story. Will keep on writing, more good stories to come ever weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. KK says:

        Most welcome, my friend 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Amazing blog you got and thanks for following

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Oh it’s my pleasure. You are most welcome. I enjoyed going through your blog too.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. A really enjoyable read!! Thanks for sharing this tale with us!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      So glad that you liked the story. Thank you so much for liking it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did and you are most welcome!! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Interesting and engaging story. You have a great imagination and you paint a picture with your words, that is relatable to many. I am always fascinated by the Banyan trees, and I liked their reference very much. Thank you for sharing another absorbing story.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Much appreciate your comment. Thank you so much for liking my story. I always believe our writings should paint a picture in the minds of our readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. DiosRaw says:

    Great story, very describe and imaginative. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. So glad that you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautiful story!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for liking.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Np, stay safe!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        You too, take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Goff James says:

    Thanks for sharing such a beautifully penned and wonderfully swashbuckling story. Really enjoyed the read. Happy Story Writing Days.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Oh! Thank you so much Goff. So happy that my story could bring a smile across your face.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Goff James says:

        Great story telling. Best Regards.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. TheIndianBookLounge says:

    Potla and Bhuto feel like the kids next door. Your descriptions are almost palpable. Great story.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. Really appreciate your comment. Will keep on bringing more good stories every weekend. Do keep an eye out, visit again, and enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Diana says:

    Beautiful story!! I love fiction pieces. This one really grabbed my attention!💗💗💗

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Diana. So glad that you loved the story. There are many more stories in my blog, some of which I am sure you would love. I release a story every weekend, so more good ones to come in the future. Do visit again. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Lovely story, Trishikh! But I am only wondering how can the whole village go up one Banyan tree?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Well it was around 50 people and some banyan’s can be massive. The great Banyan tree in Calcutta’s botanical garden is 250 years old, occupying an area of 18,918 square metres with its many combined trunks. Further the children made many platforms and livable spaces up in the tree for 3 years, this made it easy for the people to stay up there. The basket lift assisted elders to climb, and many ladders helps others to climb.

      Like

  21. what a wonderful story weaving such rich history, woven with fiction and fun story Trishikh. I loved it. Nicely done!!! I so love the banyan tree ❣️💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you Cindy for always appreciating my stories. Really treasure your appreciation. Yes, weaving history and fiction is my favourite style. I love Banyan trees too, there is something ancient and majestic about them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is my pleasure Trishikh!!
        I can see how much you love it which is this gift for all of us. 💖🌷🌷

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        I treasure your constant support. By the grace of God and through the best wishes of friends like you I am sure that I will be able to bring many more of these kinds of stories in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is very kind and I have no doubt you will! 💖

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much.

      Like

  22. This story reminded me of “My Father, Maker of the Trees” by Eric Irivuzumugabe. Survivors of the Rwandan genocide employed the same strategy. I think you would enjoy the book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Oh! Is it so, I got to read it then. How fascinating it is that sometimes when we write something, the likes of it might already be existing. Thank you for always liking my stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. mcurry09 says:

    I loved this story, Trishikh. It was so fun. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Marthe, always treasure your appreciation. My many best wishes.

      Like

  24. Rahul Mate says:

    Superb, you are a very good writer, I liked your flow of writing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Rahul, really treasure your comment. So glad that you find my flow of writing appealing.

      Like

  25. nightlake says:

    Good for the smart kids. Lovely story.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you for liking the story. Smart kids indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. This is a wonderful story. You have a great descriptive style.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Tina, it’s always delightful to get words of appreciation for someone for the first time. Really trasure your like. A try to write and publish one story every weekend, started from August 2020. Right now I am writing my 31st story. I am sure you love some of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking forward to reading more. Have a wonderful day.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        You too take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. You have great skill to keep engaging me throughout the story. With Lots of Blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation. Really treasure your comment.

      Like

  28. Love Alone says:

    Reblogged this on Love and Love Alone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for reblogging my story. You honour me greatly by doing this. Really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Denise, always treasure your appreciation.

      Like

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks for featuring my story in your blog. Really appreciate it.

      Like

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you Elsa, always a pleasure to have someone for the first time show interest in and appreciate my story.

      Like

  29. I think these young boys were quite heroic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are right, absolutely they were. Always look forward to your comment. Thank you for always being so supportive of my writings.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome.

        Liked by 2 people

  30. ybrwrites says:

    Your description of you village reminded my grandmothers village……fantastic writing……and keep………writing……YBR

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I am so glad that my description brought back a precious memory of yours.

      Like

  31. Aadya singh says:

    Amazing! Well, till now I have only read half of it, but yes will have to say, Simply Amazing!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Aadya. So glad that you like my story. Do finish it. I am sure you would love it.

      Like

      1. Aadya singh says:

        Sure, Mr. Trishikh! Was reading it only…Well, how do you today?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        Thank you Aadya. I am doing well and hope you are doing good too. Take care of yourself and happy reading.

        Like

  32. davidprosser says:

    An excellent and very enjoyable story Trishikh. That you respect and enjoy your culture shines through.
    Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks David for liking this story of mine. I try my best to uphold bits and pieces of the Indian culture through my stories. So many people have been so supportive and appreciative of my stories that it’s really overwhelming. I try to write and release one story every weekend. Do visit again and read some more, I am sure you would love a few of them.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Trishikh says:

      Just wanted to add, simply loved reading you post ‘Senility Before Sunset,” simply hillarious and too good a piece to overlook. Will read more of your writings, got a chance to go through a few of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. myle2u says:

    Nice Story.😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for liking the story.

      Like

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. So glad that you liked it.

      Like

  34. Nana Wathore says:

    Interesting story

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Nana’ji for your kind words of encouragement.

      Like

  35. good story, and I really love the artistic rendering of the banyan tree!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Krista, so happy that you liked this story of mine.

      Like

  36. Halim says:

    Cool story, Trishikh! I love the creative idea of having the villagers hide up the tree to escape bandits, thanks to the engineering skills of the youngsters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks for liking Halim. Always a pleasure to hear from you. Yes this story of mine is on the lighter side, a bit adventurous and young at heart

      Like

  37. Subhraroy says:

    It’s associated with some superstitions. So I’m indeed deeply impressed with the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you Subhra, so glad that you liked the story.

      Like

  38. Subhraroy says:

    If I ever get opportunity to visit Botgram I’ll never forget to take a glimpse of Bhuto’s Banyan Tree. Actually the story is really quite an indian village description.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Oh certainly Subhra, but Botgram is a figment of my imagination, however, who knows you may find a similar village and certainly a similar tree. So glad that you liked my description.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s