trees Nov 12, 2023
I am older than I seem‌‌
Come, sit near me‌‌
Let me see you dream‌‌
Up above there is a Seraphim‌‌
But down here with you‌‌
I am the Neem.

So we begin our wander around the campus, looking at our trees. Northstar's campus is home to many trees. Most of them are local native trees. One of my favourite trees is Neem. The quintessential Indian tree, to me Neem has many memories from my own days growing up and from the days when Northstar was still young (younger than it is now). I remember eating the yellow-when-ripe fruit, which is slimy and takes some mental fortitude to eat at first. It ripens in May-June, those wondrous months of school vacation which I remember as having some nebulous out-of-time characteristic. We have many Neem trees on the Northstar campus. One of them is in the play area. It is quite young and slow growing. Neem generally grows fast. I have heard elders in the village say that if nothing grows, the Neem will grow.

For some reason, unbeknownst to us, the Neem of our play area has remained slow growing. But we love it all the same. Just like we love all the kids all the same. There are other Neems on the campus which are not often visited. They are at locations which are relatively secret. Two Neems can be found in the grove behind the basketball court. They are young, too, and not yet towering over the other faster growing trees surrounding it. There are a couple on the back periphery towards the dining area. And a few more. I leave you to explore all the Neem trees on the campus.

There is Neem tree, which I used to climb often when I was young. The bark is thick and rough and dark. I remember the scratches it left on my palms. I remember using the unripe, hard, green fruit as a projectile. And my grandmother eats the leaves raw, which I found to be brave and nauseous in equal measure, until I did the same 3 weeks ago to cure an upset stomach.

‌Neem, the old Neem.