I read this post by Ferrari and it reminded me of something I did long long ago.
I was in high school and we lived in a place with lotsa trees around. My favorite hang out was on a stout branch of an old tamarind tree next to our house. Of course, that was not the only tree I inhabited. At this point, I know exactly what you are thinking about me. Come on guys, someone has to uphold our legacy, right? During the study holidays for the dreaded public exam, I inform my mom that I'll be up in my quarters studying. ;) I take up a few books with me. I loved to climb up on the branch leaving the cares of the world at the foot of the tree. I enjoyed the solitude at the top, the gentle rustle of the leaves, the soft chirping of the birds (who got used to me after a few days), the tangy taste of the puliyangai (tamarind) hanging from the branches at arms reach. One such day, as I perch myself on the branch and fall into a silent reverie, a katterumbu (a big black ant that lives on trees) and its girl friend walk by.They bump into me and size me up with their tiny feelers.
Intelligent she-ant: Hmmm. What do you think this is?
Dumb He-ant: huh? Is it edible.
She-ant: Its definitely not part of our tree. Its warmer...
He-ant: Can we taste it?
She-ant: Its moving too!!
He-ant: Can I take a bite? Hell I am gonna take a bite.. (crunch)
Wham! Splat! Die you filthy insect!... And that is the end of their sad ant-love story. Of course, I didn't know all the above background info.
Well, I've totally digressed from what I wanted to say here and whenever I digress my imagination runs wild resulting in unnecessary additional tracks about dumb ants and their intelligent girl friends.
Ok. My passion for climbing trees had made me climb many a tree, but the straight branchless coconut tree had always looked a bit more daunting for me. I used to watch the tree-climbers who use some kind of ropes and cycle tire tube combos and fashion a loop out of it and effortlessly pull themselves up the tree. After watching them for a short while, well actually for a long while, I learnt theoritically how to climb a coconut tree. I decided to apply my knowledge of tree-climbing. I selected a regular sized coconut tree. I folded an old cycle tube and put both my feet into it and stretched so that I could grip the trunk with my feet. I jumped up and hugged the tree with both hands and immediately lifted my feet, rubber tubing and all, to grip the tree. At that instant, my palms started to sweat in spite of the cool breeze. The few crows which were hanging out on a nearby tree branch took flight and started flying aroung randomly, incessantly cawing out loud. I took it in a positive sense that they were cheering me on. I lunged up and climbed a few more feet. At this point my feet started sweating. A group of squirrels, three to be exact, settled down on another tree nearby and were enjoying the show. I could almost hear them snickering and whispering among themselves "moron". So the crows aren't really cheering me on? I hugged the tree tighter, hanging on to dear life between heaven and earth. Can't go up. Can't go down. Afraid to let go of either hand or foot. More frightened that someone would come out of my house and find me in this ridiculous position. Believe me there would be no end to it. I'll be the butt of their jokes for the next 1 year atleast and it would be repeated to every relative and friend without any mercy.
Finally my feet couldn't hold on and slipped totally. The rubber tube fell to the ground. Meanwhile I was judging the right place to jump/fall (whichever happens) since the ground was pretty rough and thorny and I was barefoot. I held on to the trunk as tight as I can with my feet and tried to slide myself down. Unfortunately the blisters on the tree got me and I instinctively let go of the tree. And after a short flight I found myself sprawled on my back.
When my eyes focussed again, the crows had settled back on their branch giving me a stern look. The squireles chuckled and shook their heads, "what a loser" and went back to whatever they were doing.
I escaped with a few bruises and scratches but my pride was hurt the most. I got back on my feet, checked for major damage, and trudged back to my perch to brood about the unfortunate incident and life's unfairness in general. I realized, fortunately no one saw me and hey, I climbed half, well almost half a regular sized coconut tree.