Old John is an active environmentalist. The management of the old age home he lives in, are pulling a tree down to make way for the supply vans to move , and John is up-in-arms against the decision. The tree is an old friend to many inmates, and they’ve shared their joys and sorrows. The tree looked happy during the last spring celebration, when the inmates had put up a small musical performance under it, and John wants to see that again.
He awaits a response from his son, Hank. Hank is a senior government official, and can pull strings to get support from the Ministry of Environment. Three days have passed, but there is no response. In the depth of his heart, John knows the reason. His son fears that his father may want to visit them, and his family is not very supportive. He wants to reassure Hank – it is only about the old tree. But he stops short of sending another message, as it may seem too presumptuous. His son has never spoken of any ill will or reluctance.
John knows he is losing the battle, as he sees labourers wielding axes enter the compound. His chest pain has intensified, and he does not feel strong enough to visit the spot. Breathing is also laboured. A lifetime of smoking is taking its toll. He wished he had paid heed to his health sooner – at least for the sake of his cause.
The doctor pulls the white sheet over his face, and mumbles a few customary words – Rest in peace. Old John is no more.
Outside, the tree has been pulled down, and the birds lament over its dead body. John is not so lucky. There is nobody to grieve his exit. The birds he sheltered have flown away long back.
A few people are moving swiftly to complete the formalities, before sunset. For two twin souls, the sun will never rise again.