It seems there lived a humongous tree in the heart of a village. The village folks remembered the tree from time immemorial. It has been pivotal of generations of storytelling. People gossiped, children played, farmers slept and elder men whiled away their uselessness, under its generous shade. They sang paeans of its strength, magnanimity and generosity. Days rolled and nights stretched, the tree survived floods and droughts time and again.Once there came a predicament when one of its oldest branches fell and maimed a village herdsman. In a few days, he succumbed to his injuries. Word spread that the tree was an ill omen and it had evil spirits lurking in its branches that are waiting to pounce on anybody in its vicinity. The story travelled faster than the winds and all the tree’s magnanimity and generosity were forgotten in the nick of time.The elderly men moved to a nearby Jamun tree to continue their business of biding time, children were instructed not to go in its vicinity and slowly and gradually the tree was abandoned by the same villagers that once revelled under its shade. The tree has weathered the vagaries of climate, took this turn of events also in its stride.As time passed all mishaps in the village seemed to have only one conjurer; the ginormous tree that once held the entire village folks in its charismatic embrace. The villagers decided to fell the tree and thereby get rid of its evil spell. They tried to burn its branches down one by one and smothered it with copious amounts of pesticides and other potions to kill its very source of life. When nothing seemed to bring the tree down, a hermit advised them a treatment that guaranteed a result.Every morning a group of villagers would gather around the tree and hurl insults and all sorts of ill words at the tree. This was continued for a few weeks and the magnanimous tree that stood the test of time, survived generations of flood and drought, that had roots so deep in the ground that it couldn’t be uprooted by the power grab of the surging water of the most vicious flood, finally fell by the bare use of a few slanderous words repeatedly.This story was a great eye-opener for me and I found it thought-provoking. They say actions are more powerful than words. But I beg to differ. Negative people and their negativity corrodes our inner self and eats away the very essence of our life. Let’s not let others garbage stain the canvas of our mind and life.This is an adapted version of a story I read in one of the books by my favourite author Paulo Coelho. If my memory serves me right the name of the book is like the flowing river. Do grab a copy if you can.