Pichki is happy to push her way out of the ground into the fresh air only to find that as she grows into a neem tree she is rejected again and again, as smelly, bitten by flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars and even birds. Hurt, she however finds redemption when her healing powers are discovered unexpectedly by a little boy and his dog. His mother and then their entire community flock to Pichki, thrilled to have this wonderful tree in their midst. Now, Pichki is happy.
The story seems to have a message and a moral. The neem is useful to us in many wonderful ways. And that not everything is what it seems–you never know what good qualities something that is outwardly unattractive, even repulsive, may possess.
Despite having a moral, the story makes for an interesting read with its unexpected resolution of the neem tree’s misery. The translation into English is fair though it falls a bit short of the original in Hindi. The illustrations by Shashi Shetye lend themselves to the story.