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A tree among trees

This article was submitted to the M Krishnan Memorial Nature Writing Award 2017, organised by Madras Naturalists’ Society every year, and won a special mention. It is largely inspired by the writings of M Krishnan (1912-1996) who was an exceptional naturalist and a nature writer who could, with a spell of his words, cast a fresh perspective on what many of us perceive as the most mundane acts of nature, toppling over our outlook and revealing something of a miracle that nature is. I am borrowing an excerpt from a Wikipedia entry under M Krishnan which has a lot to do with this article.
In 1967 he asked several university graduates to name two red-flowered trees or an exclusively Indian animal. Nobody passed his test and he wrote:
is there something radically wrong with the education and culture of our young men and women that they should not know the answers to these reasonable questions, or is it that I have become a monomaniac and am therefore unable to perceive how unfair my questio…