Kanjirappally native Pius Scaria is proud to show – off an old tree that he has been preserving in his living room for more than four decades. The old and dried trunk of Ficus Amplissima or the Indian Bat tree has been intriguing the guests who visit the ancestral home at Pottankulam.
This Indian Bat tree that had grown on the river banks in Bharananganam had earned ‘notoriety’ for killing a date palm that had hosted it. The aerial roots and the terete of this tree can completely encircle the trunk of the host tree and restrict its growth before killing the latter. Pius had always noticed this tree whenever he travelled through that route.
He decided to buy the Indian Bat tree along with the dead date palm when he returned to Kerala from Kolkata where he ran a successful rubber business. The Indian Bat tree is usually harvested for its wood. So, Pius bought it before it was cut down for firewood. The trunk was gently moved from the river banks to the road by laying them on plantain trunks.
Pius says that it was quite a task, separating the roots of the tree. Pius and his family didn’t forget their beloved Indian Bat tree when they moved to Kottayam from their ancestral home in Kanjirappaly. Later, the tree was the first thing to move, when the family moved back to Kanjirappally, almost after 26 years. Pius looks after this old and dried tree just as he would take care of himself.
“I have been taking care of a tree that could have been cut down by a woodcutter and turned into firewood. Now, it is like an indoor plant, adding elegance to our living area,” says Pius. Today is World Environment Day.
A movie enthusiast and nature lover, Pius Scaria had made a documentary film titled 'Chemanna Petti' portraying the state of postal communication and people working in the field.
'Chemanna Petti' received Excellency Award and Special Festival Mention Award at the Mumbai and Delhi Short International Film Festivals in 2016. The film was also screened at New York Indian Film Festival-2017.