Delhiwale: A tree for Krishna | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Dec 11, 2017-Monday
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Delhiwale: A tree for Krishna

This is no ordinary tree. It is the legendary Kadamb, an inseparable part of the colourful folklore about antics of boy Krishna. This one, however, is in Moti Bagh, far from the banks of Yamuna.

delhi Updated: Aug 03, 2017 11:06 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
A kadamb tree outside a bungalow in central Delhi’s high-security New Moti Bagh.
A kadamb tree outside a bungalow in central Delhi’s high-security New Moti Bagh.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT PHOTO)

Yeh kadamb ka ped agar maa
hota Yamuna teere
mein bhi uspe baith
Kanhaiya banta dheere-dheere

We instinctively start to sing these lines on chancing upon the beautiful tree.

This is the sight that poet Subhadra Kumari Chauhan must have imagined in her mind’s eye when she penned the opening of her greatly loved Ye Kadamb ka Ped — This Kadamb Tree. The poem’s child-narrator is standing with his mother under a kadamb, fervently wishing that the tree was beside the Yamuna so that, like Lord Krishna, he could climb on its branches to play the flute.

Our kadamb tree is far away from any river. It stands outside a bungalow in central Delhi’s high-security New Moti Bagh. Half the branches are leaning over the gate. The tree is loaded with hundreds of round fruits; they seem as many as the leaves. The mistress of the house, sitting on the porch, stands up and walks towards us. Gently plucking a fruit and breaking it into two halves with her bare hands, she remarks upon its bitterness. She is not sure if the fruit is edible.

The gun-carrying sentry in the guard’s cabin informs us that a passerby stopped on the road to gaze at the tree just the day before. He talked about how his mother, back home in the village in Bihar, makes pickles from this fruit.

Walking closer to the tree, the bungalow’s mistress says that Krishna used to play Raas Lila with cowherd girls under the kadamb. She then starts humming… well, what else but:

Yeh kadamb ka ped agar maa
hota Yamuna teere…