आम्ही ज्या झाडाखाली खेळायचो ते शिरसाचे झाड आता वटलंय. त्याच्याकडे बघून आपल्या घरातलंच कुणी माणूस आपल्याला सोडून चालल्याचे दुःख मनात दाटलंय. अर्थात त्या झाडाचे खोड ज्याला कित्येक अलिंगने दिली. त्याची प्रत्येक फांद्यी ज्यावर आम्ही चढलो. त्या झाडाची नुसती वाळलेली पाने आणि लाकडासोबतसुद्धा आम्ही तासंतास खेळलो आज मात्र ते फक्त त्याचे अवशेष घेऊन उभं आहे. जिवंत माणसाबद्दल आपण कृतज्ञता व्यक्त करतो तशाच जिवंत झाडांबद्दलही करायला हव्यात म्हणूनच हा शब्दप्रपंच.

गावातल्या मोठ मोठ्या झाडांच्या सावलीने व्यापलेला भाग त्या गावातल्या पोरांचे हक्काचे प्ले ग्राऊंड असते. आमच्याही गावात अशी दोन बलाढ्य वृक्ष आहेत एक वडाचे आणि दुसरे शिरसाचे. आमच्या गल्लीतल्या माझ्या वयापर्यंतच्या हरएकाचे लहानपण या झाडांखाली व झाडावर खेळण्यात गेलंय. खुप लहान असताना आपल्या घरातली माणसे जशी आपल्याला अंगाखांद्यावर खेळवतात अगदी तशीच ही झाडे सुद्धा गावातल्या लेकरांना खेळवत असतात. दुर्दैवाने मोठाले बंगले, अपार्टमेंट, रस्ते बांधण्याच्या नादात अशा मोठमोठ्या झाडांच्या कत्तली झाल्या त्यामुळे हक्काच्या सावलीची ठिकाणं संपत चालली आहेत. मोबाईल गेम्सच्या अतिवापरामुळे झाडाच्या सावलीत खेळणंच जणू बंद झालंय.

कुठुनतरी वाहत वाहत आलेलं शिरसाचं ‘बी’ नदीकाठी अडकलं, उगवलं, फुललं, मोठं झालं. हजारो पक्षांना घरटी बांधू दिली, हजारो लेकरांना खेळायला सावली दिली. शेकडो क्विंटल पालापाचोळयाचे खत दिले, ऑक्सिजन तर न मोजण्याइतका दिला. गल्लीतला एखादा माणूस जेव्हा त्याच्या बायकोला प्रश्न विचारायचा कुठं गेलंय पोरगं ? तेव्हा ती निसंकोच सांगायची “शिरसाखाली खेळतंय”. हा विश्वास दिला. आमच्या शिरसातला रस निघून गेलाय, आता फक्त शिर उरलंय ते ही तुटुन जाईल. राहतील फक्त आठवणी, तुमच्याही आयुष्यात असं एखादं झाडं नक्कीच असेल त्या झाडाची फक्त नावे वेगळी असतील पण जिव्हाळा मात्र सारखाच असेल. सरतेशेवटी ‘झाडे लावा, झाडे जगवा’ याच्या आधी स्वतःहुन उगवलेली झाडे जपून लेकरावरचे नैसर्गिक छत्र पुन्हा तयार करा एवढंच.

वक्ता तथा लेखक : प्रा.विशाल गरड
दिनांक : १८ मार्च २०१९

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