“But if you try to prevent me from climbing, there is a danger: I may climb a wrong tree, and the responsibility will be yours. I am not going to stop climbing, I love it.” It is really one of the most beautiful experiences to be on the top of the tree in the sun with the high wind, and the whole tree is dancing – a very nourishing experience.
I said, “I am not going to stop it. Your work is to tell me exactly which trees I should not climb – because I can fall from them, can have fractures, can damage my body. But don’t give me a blank order: ‘Stop climbing.’ That I am not going to do.”
And he had to come with me and go around the town to show me which trees are dangerous. Then I asked him the second question, “Do you know any good climber in the city who can teach me even to climb the dangerous trees?”
He said, “You are too much! Now this is going too far. You had told me, I understood it….”
I said, “I will follow it, because I have myself proposed it. But the trees that you are saying are dangerous are irresistible, because jamun” – an Indian fruit – “grows on them. It is really delicious, and when it is ripe I may not be able to resist the temptation. You are my father, it is your duty…you must know somebody who can help me.”
He said, “If I had known that to be a father was going to be so difficult, I would have never been a father – at least of you! Yes, I know one man” – and he introduced me to an old man who was a rare climber, the best.
He was a woodcutter, and he was so old that you could not believe that he could do woodcutting. He did only rare jobs, which nobody else was ready to do…big trees which were spreading on the houses – he would cut off the branches. He was just an expert, and he did it without damaging the houses or their roofs. First he would tie these branches to other branches with ropes. Then he would cut these branches and then with the ropes pull the branches away from the house and let them fall on the ground.
And he was so old! But whenever there was some situation like that, when no other woodcutter was ready, he was ready. So my father told him, “Teach him something, particularly about trees which are dangerous, which can break.” Branches can break…and I had fallen already two, three times – I still carry the marks on my legs.
That old man looked at me and he said, “Nobody has ever come, particularly a father bringing a boy…! It is a dangerous thing, but if he loves it, I would love to teach him.” And he was teaching me how to manage to climb trees which were dangerous. He showed me all kinds of strategies of how to protect yourself: If you want to go high up the tree and you don’t want to fall onto the ground, then first tie yourself with a rope to a point where you feel the tree is strong enough, and then go up. If you fall, you will be hanging from the rope, but you will not fall to the ground. And that really helped me; since then I have not fallen!