The state capital’s tallest Christmas tree measuring over 32 ft—came crashing down as a storm hit the city on Wednesday afternoon. This 20-year-old tree that had stood high at St Teresa’s Day School in Model House for two decades could not brave the strong winds, storm and rain that lasted for an hour.
A number of students and some teachers actually saw the tree falling down. It must have been around 1 pm. "The school was about to get over and I just came out of the classroom for some work. It was then that the tree fell. I ran inside the class and informed teachers and other friends," said a Class III student.
For Peter Fanthome, principal of the school, it was not just a Christmas tree. "I cannot explain my sentiments. I’m in pain as a lot of sentiment was attached to it. Over the years, it became an integral part of the family. I myself took a lot of care of the tree. The family used to decorate it every Christmas while schoolkids used to play around it. But now it is all over," said Fanthome in a choked voice.
The tree scaling to such a height testifies the loving care and attention that went into nurturing the plant, which grows normally in the cold climes of the hills. He recalled, "Sowing this plant was easy but looking after it needed constant effort. The tree had to be protected from the scorching heat of summer because it generally grows in the hills." A family friend gifted this plant to Fanthome in 1980s.
According to Fanthome, for the last few months, monkey menace has been a problem in the locality. “They used to shake the tree hard. We tried our best by tying the stem with an iron to give it some protection. But all our efforts went in vain."