The story revolves around the concepts of duty, responsibility, perseverance and pride. It has
narration in the third person.
Rakesh, the protagonist, digs the ground with a spade and plants a seed of a cherry tree his
grandfather’s garden in Mussoorie. The plant is in the corner of the garden protected from wind
and snow. However, soon Rakesh forgets about the seed and gets busy listening to his
grandfather’s stories and reading newspapers for him.
Meanwhile the seed continues to grow. Winter passes and spring arrives. One day, Rakesh is
observing the bird when he suddenly notices the plant which has grown into a twig with one or
two leaves. He realizes the cherry that he had planted a year ago. Rakesh shows his grandfather
the cherry twig.
Grandfather advises Rakesh to take care of the plant now and water it Rakesh also circles the
plant with some pebbles for protection. Now, Rakesh’s interest is stoked. Every morning he
observes the plant’s growth but is left disappointed with its slow rate.
Now the monsoon season approaches and the cherry plant grows faster and it makes Rakesh
excited. The following summer Rakesh goes home to his parents. He works on his farm and
helps his parents in sowing and planting crops.
By the end of the monsoon, he is back with his grandfather. He has grown up and so has his
cherry tree. It has come up to his chest. Rakesh is getting more attached to his tree now and
waters it every day.
Once Rakesh witnesses an insect on the tree but he doesn’t try and swat it away as he considered
it the tree’s first friend. Next he sees a hairy caterpillar feeding on the leaves of the tree. Rakesh
hauls it and places it on some dry leaves to protect the cherry leaves.
When winter arrives, the plant bulges under the weight of the falling snow. It snows so much that
the road from the valley gets covered with snow for several days.
Grandfather grows frustrated because he could not get his newspapers as the roads are blocked.
Consequently, his stories also have sad endings now.
Rakesh turns nine in February and the cherry tree turns four years. It almost reaches up to his
head now. One day, his grandfather sees some pink flowers on the cherry tree. For Rakesh it is
nothing short of a miracle.
The next spring there are more flowers. Birds and bees start drinking its nectar and the tree
grows taller than him. Soon, Rakesh turns 10 and the cherry tree turns 5. Rakesh starts enjoying
books along with his grandfather’s stories. There are more birds came and even more flowers.
Finally the next summer brings the first fruits. But when Rakesh eats them, they were sour
instead of sweet. Grandfather consoles Rakesh and tells him that the cherries would develop into
tastier fruit the following year.
One evening Rakesh asks his grandfather about the thing that made the tree. His grandfather
replied that the efforts they put in to nurture the plant made it special.
Rakesh admires the bark and leaves of his cherry tree, his own creation. Rakesh was so
mesmerized by it that he considers it to be a manifestation of God. He imagines that it was what
God must feel about his creations.
The Cherry tree is a symbol of survival and it escapes almost eaten by a goat and being cut with
the grass. Just as human beings struggle in life so too does the cherry tree. But the cherry tree
shows resilience and the ability to withstand adversities. The bond between Rakesh and the tree
is of care and nurture, just like a family who are care for each other. He never abandons his tree
even when the conditions become tough which highlights the dedication it takes to develop
strong and binding relationships of affection and compassion.
Rakesh is a guardian to the cherry tree. He fulfills his responsibility and in the end is rewarded
for his efforts. The cherry seed matures into a fruit bearing tree just like children grow into
adulthood and look after their parents in old age.
Furthermore, Rakesh’s grandfather fulfills his responsibility towards Rakesh in advising him
about living a healthy life. He is the light that Rakesh needs to walk on the right path in life. He
is nurturing Rakesh just like he is nurturing his cherry tree.
Another theme of the story is the ability to start something new and help it to reach its potential.
Through toil and determination, Rakesh helps the cherry tree to grow stronger. Rakesh feels
proud of the cherry tree just like a parent is proud of his/her ward.