The tree groom

Distraught after a marital tiff, an Oriya man took to a tree 15 years ago and remains there to this day:

That’ll show her

Kapila Pradhan, 45, a resident of Nagajhara village in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, left home after an apparent tiff with his wife… “However no amount of coaxing can make him leave his tree house…”

He recalls the terrifying moments when it rained persistently and the other trees in the forest fell one by one… However, more than the cyclone, it was the threat posed by wild elephants and monkeys that forced him to move to a tree closer to the edge of the forest, near a village…

His neighbours say Kapila’s wife, Tulasi, began having “illicit relations” with his younger brother Babuan. Soon after Kapila left home, Babuan moved in with Tulasi and they had a child a few years later. [Link]

The tree- or cave-dwelling renouncer of the world is, of course, a recurring theme in old-skool Hinduism. Here’s an excerpt from Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai. Life imitates art imitating life:

… in the old orchard outside Shahkot, someone had climbed a tree and had not yet come back down… The man, he said, would answer no questions… ‘Arrange a marriage for him… You will have no further problems…’

Sampath looked down at the veiled woman standing underneath his tree and felt hot and horrified… The devotees raised the girl’s rigid, unwilling form into the tree… She was encased in layers of shiny material, like a large, expensive toffee. The cloth billowed about her, making her look absurdly stout… Her sari was pulled over her head and she held the edge of it between her teeth so as to keep as much of her face modestly covered as possible…

… the girl let out a faint cry. Losing her balance and her gold slippers, she tumbled indecorously towards the ground… and landed with a dull thump…

The signs for marriage were not auspicious. [Link]

Related post: ‘The Inheritance of Loss’

14 thoughts on “The tree groom

  1. A tree doesn’t ask you to watch romantic films, ask you for compliments even when it looks fat in a dress, scold you for forgetting your anniversary, etc. More importantly, it doesn’t cheat on you with your younger brother.. at least trees in India apparently don’t…

  2. I thought in northern Indian village culture it’s tolerated for a ‘bhabhi’ (older brother’s wife) and ‘devar'(husband’s younger brother) to have an affair (so also ‘jija'(older sister’s husband) and ‘sali'(wife’s younger sister).

  3. His neighbours say Kapila’s wife, Tulasi, began having “illicit relations” with his younger brother Babuan. Soon after Kapila left home, Babuan moved in with Tulasi and they had a child a few years later.

    Holy shit this puts NBC’s Passions and Jackie Collins to shame!!

  4. Speaking of Passions, did anyone catch that whole Bollywood song/dance dream sequence they did on Friday? Here’s the video. I’m ashamed to admit how much I really enjoyed watching it. Theresa looks amazing in a sari, and the whole thing’s sort of cute.

    The reason I bring this up is because there’s this weird “Tree of Love” song in the middle where Ethan and Theresa are weirdly wrapping a ribbon around a tree, and my friend said now people were going to think brown people got married to trees or something. (Which, someone just told me, actually did happen once. In some village. Great.)

  5. ha… a real life Baron in the Trees :

    Cosimo, a young eighteenth-century Italian nobleman, rebels by climbing into the trees to remain there for the rest of his life. He adapts efficiently to an arboreal existence and even has love affairs.
  6. It does make you wonder how the guy does his “business”…. If he’s seen the movie “Without a Paddle”, he probably has a stash of brown bags filled with …..

  7. amitabh: WHAT???? That’s just a stupid joke that men like to tease their wives with! Devars are supposed to traditionally revere their bhabhis like an older sister/mother. While husbands just flirt with saalis. Married women are OFF BOUNDS. Rupa, watch Sati with Shabana Azmi. Movie’s made by Aparna Sen, in which she marries a tree.

  8. Any guy who lives in a tree due to a communication issue with his wife is an IDIOT, any guy who loses his wife to his brother is a complete LOSER. Either way this guy probably felt his best option was to climb a tree, eat bugs, and pick ticks off his arse till he dies. If he’s taking votes I think he should JUMP. On les idiot/loser in the world is a good thing.