My Little Peepal Tree

I have limited space on my balcony to have too many plants, but I make do with what space I have.  I have button roses, hibiscus, holy basil, orchids, curry leaves, some ferns and a silver oak, at least that’s what I thought till last week, when I saw a small Peepal Plant (also known as the Sacred Fig Tree), growing in one of the pots that used to have a small ornamental plant.  I was amazed that I hadn’t noticed this before.

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The Peepal is about half-a-foot tall, and its stem and branches are already strong and hard, signs of the beautiful tree it will grow into in a few years.  So which little bird brought the seeds of this tree to my balcony, allowing it to grow into a small plant ? Was it the myna or the pigeon or a small yellow-bird with black-edged feathers or another light green bird with a longish-beak, that flutters down the hibiscus plant everyday?

I am humbled by this miracle of nature.  In my excitement, I walk around the condominium looking for other Peepal Trees.  I am unable to see even one. I widen my search on my morning walking route.  I see neem, mango, and other trees, but not a single Peepal.

I imagine the myna or the pigeon, flying out for the day to a far off place and coming back with the seeds, to take a breather on my balcony, before they fly away to their homes.  Did they go to meet friends there? Did they go to look for food?

A whole big tree hidden in a small seed, carried by a little bird from a faraway place, the soil accepting this new baby, and nurturing it & caring for it, till it suddenly comes out of the soil in all its glory, waiting to take on the world.

My friends warn me that the Peepal Tree’s roots are very strong and hard, and can break through walls and cracks.  I know, I know. I will take it to the right home, maybe to a national park or a plant nursery.  But for the next few days, I will enjoy seeing it grow, after all it was born in my home, on my balcony… I will love it for a few more days.

With its beautifully shaped leaves, and woody stem, I can see how this plant will tower above the other plants in my balcony, outliving them, outliving even all of us, I imagine.

Maybe children will play under its shade, maybe a young couple will sit under its shade in the botanical gardens, maybe a jogger will stop under its cool shade to take a break and then maybe, many years from now, a little bird will carry its seeds to the balcony of one of my grand children!

I love you, my little Peepal Tree. Stay safe and grow well.