Where people gather to talk trees

Trees facilitate wellness
Author: Charumathi Supraja

I am a writer. To find ease with churning words, I was forced to pay attention to my body. I had to move my body, shake out images and words from its dark crevices. Over the years of ignoring the stories stored in my body, I experienced a severe deficiency of wellness. I started healing only after trees started talking to me.

It happened very casually one morning. I wasn’t awake and I wasn’t really asleep. I saw myself half-kneeling, in the dim light of dawn, under a Neem I have not yet met. I was shedding tears of gratitude over a fistful of red earth. And then, one day,a certain Peepal chose me to live beside it. It appointed itself as Chief Mentor of my treevelling expeditions.

Treevelling (travelling to meet trees and revel in them) was born of a deep sense of celebration – a celebration of how trees own their bodies and revel in being. While humans are mastering the art of ignoring their bodies or in engaging with them selectively, trees fulfill their nature. They grow, mostly against ridiculous odds. They occupy as much space as they need to. They don’t stop short of being fat, short, squat, dark, slender, light, heavy, gnarled, stooped, curved, straight, tall – or whatever their bodies make them. They bear their truth with grace, beauty and dignity.


Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 10.04.09 PM
Rashmi, a participant at the Treevellers’ Katte

The sap of tree-stories runs deep inside all of us. It’s impossible that we’ve grown or are living without the support and intervention of trees. When did you last tap your body for its stories? When did you last check how you felt when your eyes fell upon the sun melting all over the tree outside your window? Yes, the same one you hardly ever look at because – what’s there to stop and stare at a grey, dusty tree caught in smog? What is the real story of this tree? Who’s going to die first in this race? Or will it end in a happy new beginning?


Co-treeveller, poet and photographer - Anannya

Trees, for me, facilitate wellness that is rooted in the earth of the body. After I met Anannya, a co-treeveller, photographer and poet, the Treevellers’ Katte was born as a platform to soak in the stories we carry in our bodies – stories about what matters to us deeply.

The Treevellers’ Katte is an invitation to open conversations with the earth in our bodies. Katte is Kannada for a place where people gather to chat, sit idle and stare, to listen to birdsong or laughter, to talk about their day. The Treevellers’ Katte is a space to hang out with tree-images, stories, poetree and other treevellers. It is an earthing point. Come to this Katte and share your tree-story as a song, dance, poem, clay mural or sketch. It’s not about gallery worthy art or stories that will make it to a writing prize. It’s about opening out the images one carries of the earth, inside one’s body.

A poem by a treeveller from the previous Katte
A poem by a treeveller from the previous Katte

Tree-stories can be safely exhaled in any form at the Treevellers’ Katte, for this space holds trees and stories sacred. This Katte is about making a large soup-pot of stories and then sitting down together around the fire to savour it. Treevelling is about finding wellness inside one’s own piece of earth, so the larger earth can be well too.

Treevellers Together
Treevellers Together

When people gather and talk about a tree that matters to them, a sacred grove of stories emerges. That is what happened at the previous Treevellers’ Katte. Click here for more details

The next Treevellers’ Katte is happening between 11 am and 2.30 pm at the Bhoomi Habba in Visthar on Saturday, June 10 th 2017. Bhoomi Habba is a daylong celebration of environmental campaigns and workshops, exhibitions, films, folk music, nature walks, photography and more. Read more about it here 

Bhoomi Habba 2017 will focus on soil, water, air, food, garbage and trees. There will be information stalls, art workshops, theatre performances, storytelling workshops and conversations around these themes. Bhoomi Habba also promotes exhibition and sale of eco-friendly crafts, organic farm produce, traditional and millet foods from all over the country. It also features extensive workshops on recycling, upcycling, cartoon, warli, pottery, dream-catcher making, theatre and storytelling for children. The film festival will screen documentaries and films focusing on ‘sustainable cities and communities’.

This is a special edition of the Bhoomi Habba as it is the 10 th year of the festival that was originally started as a celebration of the journey towards peace and justice. There will be more than 70 stalls selling eco-friendly and organic crafts and food products and materials on sustainable development practices.



Contact- Nazar P.S.( 7975135971) or Mercy Kappen ( 9945551310)                                       Entry fee is Rs 25. Follow the event on Facebook



Charumathi Supraja worked as a journalist, lecturer, NGO consultant, actor and writer before veering towards ‘treevelling’. Though based in Bangalore, she’s ‘home’ closest to a tree. She grew up in Bangalore of the late 1970s and 80s when Sampige, Maavu, Bevu and many other maraas held sway. As the city morphed from green to grey, she’s been happily caught in the cross-talk between Neems and Peepals. When she’s not hugging trees, photographing them or listening to their stories, she likes to make a song and dance of them with other ‘treevellers.’



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