Whispering of a Banyan Tree

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Last month, we went on a drive to Dodda Alada Mara, located 28 kilometers from Bengaluru. ‘Dodda Alada Mara’ literally means the Big Banyan Tree. During the drive, I told my daughter what a banyan tree is, how big a banyan tree can be, and about the aerial roots that start from their branches. I myself visualized a big banyan tree with its roots finding the way down into the soil.

There are mentions of banyan tree in religions, that originated in and around India. Earliest mention of it is in the Rig Veda, that originated around 5000 B.C. Lord Buddha was enlightened while meditation under a huge banyan tree, called Bodhi Tree. Great sages knew some secret that makes this tree something special.

As we entered the gate, my daughter shouted, “Jungle!”. It did look like a mini jungle with many happy monkeys screeching and jumping around. As soon as I entered the gate, my eyes fell on the information board just and started reading. My jaw dropped! What we assumed to be a ‘mini jungle’ was a single tree, spread around 3 acres. “This is huge!”, I exclaimed, and moved on to explore.¬†There is a tiny temple in the premises of Dodda Alada Mara, outside of which, many people were offering prayers. Monkeys were happily climbing up and down the roots. Somewhere in between those roots and those branches, I was lost. Lost in thoughts: A moment of introspection. As we grow old, like the roots of the banyan tree finding its way in to the soil, we too find ourselves going back to our roots. Like the banyan tree grows high up and spread its branches wide, we grow, spread our presence in the social circles we live in. After we mature, like the roots of the banyan tree, we start to find our way back to where we belong – a journey backward. We want to be close to our home land, where we were born and spent our childhood. Our people and our cultures, from where we started our life’s journey seem so dear. I was snapped out of it by the bells in the temple and I heard my daughter ask, “Why are you smiling mommy?”

 

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Good bye Mr. Cactus

IMG-20170530-WA0002Mr. Little Cactus sat in a small cup at my desk (the little cactus at the right side in the picture). I looked at him, his little new leaves for ideas to write. He was a source of inspiration for me. He listened to my grumbling and mumbling during quiet hours when no one is at home. Yesterday night when I was going to give him some water, I saw him broken away from the roots. It left me broken. A few moments of the shock-stare seemed like eternity. I was snapped out of it by the little someone who was pulling my T-shirt because I did not answer one of her questions, else it would have taken a little longer to digest the reality. I was sad. So sad.

 

IMG_20170617_095147I went ahead to my little garden to dispose it off. As I was about to do it, I saw something red in the soil in one of the pots. It was a small, tender branch of my Rose plant. I took it in my hands for an inspection. I found out the plant was preparing another flower. A small bud of rose was there safe in middle of those little leaves. That killed me a little more! I gently stroked it thinking about the many smiles it would have brought to me. My daughter would have had some more stories to tell, and a new set of questions to ask. All gone with it.

 

Now as I am writing, those little guys are there resting in one of the garden pots. They will become manure to other plants. The bud was just not meant to bloom, its time on earth has ended. Like a wave on the beach coming and touching my feet gently they came and left giving me some memories to cherish. Thank you Lil guys!