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The banyan tree

Friday, April 12, 2019

A cruel destiny

It is raining heavily followed by strong wind. Rivers are overflowing, water is flowing over the bridges making it impossible to distinguish where the bridge ends and water begins. He heard that some houses were taken away by the flood along with people in it. He can see the sea level is dangerously up, almost close to his home. Water is dripping from the thatched roof, floor is all wet. It is dangerous to stay inside, he thought. He went inside his home and wake up his mother. She is all he has.
Mahesh and his mother are fisherman folks. Now, the weather being stubborn like this he can't go out in the sea. No one dares to challenge the nature. This much he and his folks know. Because they know, as much caring and giving the nature can be, she could be awfully cruel and unforgiving. So they decided to leave the place along with others. The roads are all submerged, flooding rivers and canals carried back all sorts of wastes that we threw out earlier and dumped it back in to our homes. They boarded on a rescue boat which would take them into a refugee camp setup in a nearby school area. They heard even the refugee camp is flooded, at least his mother would be able to get food and medication there, he thought.
On their way, he saw lots of people waving to their boat. There are children and old people among them. He thought may be the boat driver hadn't noticed them. He called the driver to take them in,
"Hey, look there are people over there, we can accommodate at least some of them."
The driver shot back, "No way son, it's too dangerous. We are a bit overloaded. And there are more boats coming, don't worry they will be picked up."
Mahesh saw there are small kids and some very old people among them. He jumped into the water and swims to them.
He helped the old woman who is bedridden. She is being carried along with her bed. It was getting difficult for the family to keep the old woman above water level. He helped them carry her to the boat in his place.
He told his mom, he will see her in the camp.
He swims back to the shed near his home and saw his boat were luckily floating above water , a little late and his boat would have been under the water since it was tied to a pole. He jumped inside and started towing.
He had a strange feeling that this is his destiny, to help this stranded people. He helped them all get to a safe place. And he did that for others who were also stranded. He worked hand in hand with the rescue operators. Everyone in the refugee camp appreciated his efforts. He was looked upon as a hero.
Now the water receded. Debris of collapsed bridges and roads can be seen, as it was something out of a war movie. The scene was heartbreaking. But slowly people and the authorities worked together to rebuild their lives. Months passed, people are busy getting their shattered lives back up. The school which were turned into a refugee camp is a school again. And the road in front is busy once again. Suddenly there was a loud screech and everyone ran towards the spot. It was a hit and run. A young man was hit by a car. He was in a terrible state. He was loosing blood. But strangely none of the bystanders were ready to rescue the man and get him to hospital. They all stood there watching. Entire road was painted red by his blood. Someone called an ambulance and the it came after 10 minutes. But it was already too late. By the time they took him to hospital he was gone.

Next day the headliner in newspaper was some political party announcing their merger with another. In the third page in a small section at the end there was a piece of article which mentioned a young man who was died in an accident. It said his name is Mahesh and he was the same person who rescued many during flood. But it seemed nobody cared and no one remembered him.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Curse

He was waiting by the side walk. Both his legs are deformed. He cannot walk, he literally slithered using his hands. He is a polio patient, the virus had squeezed the strength out of his legs. Yet he stands tall, fighting against all the odds and all the roadblocks life throws at him.

To him crossing a road is like to be climbing a mountain. He carries his bag in his mouth, by using his teeth, while crossing the road. People used to give him something as a token of sympathy. He accepts it without any complaints. His expression in turns shows he feels pity for this people, who shows sympathy towards him. I don't know anything about his family or whether he has got any? One thing for sure he is different from the likes of me, who still complains after a decent job, decent home to rest your head at night and more importantly have a family. Still it's not enough, we still search for something more, always. We never learned to be grateful. That's our curse. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Rebirth

There were two banyan trees in a small jungle in the middle of a city. They were very big and provided a huge habitat for the birds and other small living creatures who were the natives of that garden. Each of them houses numerous species of sparrows, and parakeets. Owls are other sneaky and spooky mysterious creatures who made their abode there. Typical Morning in the garden starts with the cooing of koel and chattering mynahs. It was wonderful just to be there in the garden. It was a universe on its own.
The trees considered themselves as the guardians of the garden. Everyone respected them. Nobody knows how old they were. Some says they were here before the garden itself. Some says they were as old as the earth itself.
A family of squirell lived on one of the trees. A father, mother and their little baby boy. He won't go to sleep until he heard the stories of the guardian trees. All the stories never tell how old the guardian trees were.
One day the baby squirell decided to ask the elderly trees about their existence. He sneaked out of his nest in the night in the hope of striking up a conversation with the guardians.
Baby squirell : Hi.. , his eyes almost popped out because of excitement.
Tree no. 1: what are you doing up this late? Go back to your nest.
Baby squirell: please, I have so many questions for you. All those stories I heard, you guys are real guardians. Without you we would never be able to have a home. But.....
Tree no.1 : But , what ?
Baby squirell: But they never revealed your actual age. It made me all the more Curious.
Tree no. 2: it's just stories, kid. Don't take it seriously.
Baby squirell: I don't mind, I love those stories. Please tell me...
Tree no. 2: what do you want to know ?
Baby squirell: How old are you ?
Tree no.1 : why do you want to know, kid ?
Baby squirell : My father said you are older than the earth itself.
Tree no.2: That's nonsense, Earth is our mother. How can children predate their mother ?
Tree no.1 : Now, move along kid, we have work to do.
Baby squirell : But you are old, my mother said old people don't work.
Tree no.1: Nonsense, who do you think provides you and your family with food and home? And one more secret kid, we are not old as you think.
Baby squirell : (eyes widened with excitement).
Tree no. 1: In our world we are very young. We are kids in the world of trees, like you are now.
Baby squirell : wow, so u guys are of my age ? Then we can be friends, right ?
Tree no.1 : I wouldn't say exactly that, but , I am a young adult in my world as u r a kid in your world.
Baby squirell : how do you came here. Have you seen my great grandfather? . My mother told me he was the one who first made it his home here in the garden.
Tree no. 2 : yes , we knew him very well. It was a stormy night when he first came here. He was frightened to death. We let him took shelter in our branches. He was in fact the first among the first residents here. You very well reminds me of him.
Now go on , don't disturb us. Your mother would be worrying not seeing you.
(After Baby squirell went back to his hole in the branch, trees started to talk each other)
Retrospection
Tree no.1 : Do you remember the old fortune teller who took a shelter under our shadow in a summer ?
Tree no.2 : yes, why do you bring that up now ?
Tree no.1 : Do you believe him ?
Tree no.2 : he is an old man. He couldn't even see in the dark, then how could you believe his claim that he could see our past ?
Tree no. 1 : still, he had this aura around him, which made me believe in him.
What if he was true?
Tree no.2 : oh.. come on....., you really think this life as trees' is a blessing? that we had done something good in our past lives ? Moreover he told us we were humans in our past life. You think humans can do any good in their pathetic lives. They are greediest of all creatures.
I think if we were ever humans, then we had done something wretched in our previous lives. It is a curse to be a human. Once a human is forever a human.
Tree no. 1 : It's not always like that, there are some goodness in them. Like the fortune teller? What if this life is our road to salvation ? In this form we are selfless, look how many we are helping.
(It was already getting dark)
Tree no.2: I think it's going to rain tonight.
The cool wind breezes through the leaves of the big trees. Both of them were enjoying the moment. As it gets stronger,They started to sway along with the wind, Like they were dancing with the rhythm of wind. As the night put the cloak of shadows around them, They looked like two apsaras dancing passionately.
Next Day
The morning after the storm was peaceful and fresh. Water is still dripping from the branches. All the creatures seemed so happy. Sun is shining bright above. The wind still carry the smell of fresh rain.
They all felt the tremor. Like earth is shifting beneath their feet. Something or someone is causing this. All the animals grouped under the shadow of their guardians. Then they saw a huge iron hand tearing the earth. It has a slim body but a huge hand with claws. It is uprooting trees like it was nothing. The animals are all running for their lives. Their home is being destroyed. They are helplessly looking at the guardian trees.
They have no idea what to do ? They were equally perplexed as the animals and birds. Then suddenly an owl, who is trying to get away accidentally hit one of the branches of the guardian tree. The owl looked frightened. He tried to get up and takeoff but his fractured leg deceived him.
Tree no. 1: Don't try to put pressure on that leg, else it will break. Let us take care of it.
Owl: I don't mind if my one leg is gone, as long as I have life.
Tree no. 2: Please tell us what is going on. Don't you see we are all frightened here.
Owl : sorry, if was rude. I am also scared. You all need to go from here. They are destroying our home. They have uprooted many trees in the garden. I don't understand why can't let us be ?
Tree no. 1: who are you talking about ? Who are they ?
Owl : Humans. They are taking over this place. That one handed beast is their creation. It is unstoppable.
tree no.1: it is really happening, isn't it ?
Tree no. 2: so, what he said is going to be true ?
Tree no.1: sadly, I think so. I think our time has come.
Tree no. 2: But it isn't fair with us. I despise this humans. I hate them.
Tree no. 1: please everyone, you all have to leave us. We are no more any use to you.
Every animals grouped there looked at each other perplexed. They don't understood why their guardians are acting weird.
What are you going to do ?, they asked.
Tree no. 1: what we have been doing for years. we are going to protect you one last time.
All the animals looked each other sadly. The baby squirell started to weep.
Don't forget me, please. Baby squirell managed to say while crying.
You can beat the one handed beast. I believe in you. Please let us stay. I don't want to go. His eyes are all watery.
No one dared to say anything. They all stood there keeping their head down.
Tree No. 1: Our time has come, it is our destiny. This is what being a tree means, to sacrifice for others. You call us your guardians, then let us guard you. Go to some place safe. Every thing in this world comes to an end at one point. This is our chance to be good. If you are all safe, then we can die peacefully knowing we did what we were supposed to do.
Tree no. 2: we were once humans, in our previous life. We never did a single good thing in our life. We were ...........just humans, greedy and irresponsible to our fellow creatures. We had no respect for our Mother Nature. We just cocooned ourselves from outside world.
And now in this life she give us a chance of being on the other side of human perspective. We cherished every moment in our life as trees. She taught us how it feel to be useful and helpful.
This is our chance for salvation. Our karma get back to us. But this time we would be free from all the worldly chains of attachments. The cycle of karma has reached a full cycle for us. After this sacrifice, we can be free.
So please don't worry about us. Take good care of each other. Tree no.1 called the baby squirell to come near. He listened and run towards him . He whispered something in his ears. Baby squirell climbed into one the branch and disappeared in a hole in it. He came back smiling widely. And ran back to his mother.
The roar of one handed beast was approaching them. They can feel the ground shaking.
Guardian trees stood strong, like they always had, in thunderous storms , earthquakes or facing an all engulfing flood.

The animals left them reluctantly, the baby squirell was looking back. His eyes were all red. He fixed his eyes on them till they vanished from his view. He can hear the sound of saws grinding tree trunks. He freed himself from the hands of his mother and ran towards the place where trees stood. Suddenly he stopped as if something pulled him back. He opened his clenched fist. A bunch of seeds, waiting to explore the outside world. Wind brought leaves from the branches of the guardian trees as if they are lost kites wandering the sky. One of the leaves landed on his face, it still felt fresh and lively. He said looking at the skies, "I hope you two achieved peace, Thank you for being there for us."