It was announced that our gift for this year was to plant twenty three trees. One each for each child in the village. We were disappointed. I had been expecting some toys and so did the others. We were unhappy to receive the news and launched a strong protest to no avail. The annual gift day in our village had been a disaster for us.
Twenty three seedlings had been bought to the village. The soil had already been prepared for planting them. For days we had wondered why the digging was going on. Now we knew why. We were angry.
We had been coaxed into coming to the site where the trees would be planted. Each one of us was given one seedling and asked to plant it. We suddenly had a feeling of responsibility. The trees had been planted. Do we get any gifts now? someone asked half-heartedly. There was no reply.
It was our responsibility to make sure that our seedlings grew well. Every day we would visit the site and water the plants. We would check for pests and weeds. Each one was excited when there was even slightest of progress. We had all cried when one seedling had died. For the first time we were together and united in what we were doing. Toys had always divided us with each one craving for the others toy. But this time it was different. This was a collective effort. We had even forgotten which seedling belonged to whom.
Today the trees we had planted and cared for have grown big. The village gets immense benefits from them. To us it taught the meaning of collective effort and unity. I was reading an article in the news paper which talked about celebrities throwing extravagant parties when my thoughts went back in time.