Let The Dead Leaves Drop

by Varunika
0 comment 228 views

“Hi Shriya!,” the dust laden face flashes a broad smile as we cross paths. She is accompanied by her frail bodied sister, a bag of bones really!  My daughter Shriyadita reciprocates the gesture, with an equal amount (if not more) of warmth.

I can feel her tiny hand slipping away from my grip, as I continue my big strides forward. My mind is once again fogged with the same mundane and redundant thoughts, “It is getting late for lunch. It is 1.45 pm already and I have not one but two fussy mouths to feed. It will be a feat if I can finish lunch by 3pm! So much energy has already been spent running behind them, I just feel like hitting the bed. When will they start eating on their own? My life sucks big time.”

While my mind is engaged in this evolved and marvelous line of thought, my girl has freed herself from the shackles of my hand completely. I pause and look around.

There she is! Talking to the dusty face and bag of bones. The bag of bones has just plucked a flower from the marigold bush close by and presented it to Shriyadita. Shriyadita seems to be over the moon now. She takes it and holds a brief conversation with them. I signal her to come home now. She does not look happy with that.

“Can you please hurry up. We are already late for lunch.” I express my displeasure at this obvious display of resistance from my girl.

“Two minutes Mumma. I am talking to my BACK FRIENDS!” comes the reply.
BACK FRIENDS!! Whatever that means!

As she draws closer to me, I ask her what she meant by BACK FRIENDS?

BACK FRIENDS mean, the friends who stay at the back of my house Mumma! Simple!!” is her reply.

Simple!! No darling, it is not so simple. They are not your friends. How can they be? There is nothing that is common between them and you. They are just some children whose parents work in your grandparents’ land. They cannot be more than dusty faces and bag of bones to you! My mind wanted to tell her. Better sense prevailed. I kept mum.

But you know we are getting late for lunch. And what were you talking with them? What was so necessary a discussion that you made Mumma wait?”, I ask pretending to act like her chief confidante.

Nothing Mumma. I was talking to them as I do not get to play with them. And Mumma, Priya gave me a flower! Isn’t that wonderful. I think she likes me!!”, she said, her face all lit up with impish glee.

“Hmm. Nice. But how can you say, you do not get to play. After school, when have I stopped you from playing? Full day you are running around. I never stop you.” I said, in my defense.

“Mumma, you never stop me from playing with my cousins. But you also never tell me to play with my BACK FRIENDS!” she said, in an unyielding tone, so that I, her mother understands her perspective.

I feed her and set her free.

I watch her walk out of the gate. She halts for a while and chats with the workers on the field. I can see their faces bursting into grins from ear to ear, even as their hands are busy plucking the marigold flowers in full throttle. She starts moving again, now towards her cousin’s house. I see the bag of bones accompanying her in a cycle. They are talking something. Hopefully, she will tell me later in the night. It is time I stop watching her and retire to my room.

An hour later, I decide on going out for a stroll before it gets dark. My eyes inevitably, scan the farm, and search for the kids. I can hear them giggling, somewhere close by. I walk towards them fully aware I need to maintain a distance.

They are playing out in the greens. My kids, their cousins and Priya (now I know her name!) are all over the place, hopping around with 2 goat kids, with a bunch of leaves in their hands. They want to feed them. It is quite a sight I must tell you. I turn around and resume my stroll. After all, is there anything I should be telling them? I do not think so.

So, did I really hear what my daughter was trying to tell me? I did. I fully comprehend what my child has shared with me. My elder one’s questions and pristine soul has helped me meander through this adult ego maze. And now, I am standing at a point where I can clearly differentiate right from wrong, where I can choose to nurture my child’s free spirit over my adult ego. My child has offered me a window to look at the canvas of life with a mind, free from pride and prejudice. I have watched it too closely in my growing up years. I have maybe, abhorred this self-assumed shoddy status of belonging to a certain class, somewhere. But I have never resisted it. This is my chance to change all that and in the process be a better human. So, of all the wonderful myriad things that I have learnt from my child, this one, reigns supreme.

Contrary to what our adult ego does to us in terms of tearing our spiritual and moral fabric into bits and pieces, a child’s free spirit helps us bring these broken pieces together. It heals. It is a teacher and a healer like no other. I know we live in a divided world. I also know that it has been so since time immemorial and it shall continue to being so. And yet if we can for a moment, embrace this spirit of our children, we will also know how to embrace this divided world. That moment can bring about change in the way we see the world, and that changes everything.   Perhaps we can learn at least, to accept a flower from a Priya and not a bag of bones.

In the words of someone wise —-“Be like a tree. Let the dead leaves drop.”

PICTURE CREDITS : www.beaconsofchange.com

You may also like

Leave a Comment