She arrives just in time to save me from a ferocious wild dog on my lone trek and seeing I am shaken, she offers me tea.
I accept and she leads me through a low labyrinth of trees, working their way to her house. She steps in and commands her husband seated quietly in a corner,
“Go Make her some tea!”
He looks reluctant and his reluctance arrives in heap fulls of sugar in my syrupy black tea.
I realise the only word we have in common is “chai” (tea) and we don’t speak the same language.
She asks about my life or I think this is what she asks me and I tell her for ten or fifteen long minutes.
She nods patiently, endearingly and at the end of it laughs uproariously and says she hasn’t understood a word.
I catch one word “thumbi” and say yes I have a brother. I point to the image of Mother Mary in her room and say that I love her too.
She understands this and squeezes my hand affectionately.
Then she gives me fruits from her garden for my walk ahead and a flower for my hair.
She has only one request in return, that I take a picture of her horse before I leave,
her most prized possession.
by Shenaz Wahid
The Rain walked upto me, marching with her wet, cold feet and asked if I want to know her secret.
“Yes”, I cried in surprise and lent my ear to her watery breath and eager moistened lips.
The wind leaned in for he was just as curious as I.
She said, ‘Listen, Rain and tears work the same way.
One clears the heaviness of the sky and the other clears the heaviness of the heart. Every once in a while, they must clear.
The sky isn’t ashamed of its yearly storm, its unrestrained lightening, thundering wails and I, pour and pour. You are also children of the Earth,
And have no reason to be ashamed for when your eyes fill with tears of sadness and pain, from the storms of your heart.
The rain walks the earth and perfumed wildflowers grow, waterfalls flow.
The sky cries and you quench your thirst.
Your heart too grows wildflowers of every colour and resplendent waterfalls flow from the cracks, if you allow tears to empty the sky of your heart.
There is no shame, only beauty.”
And then the Rain walked away and left me and the wind, with her secret and a curtsey to her friend, the rainbow.
A nice likeable fellow, with clothes made of light.
by Shenaz Wahid
Devika : ” An old adage goes, ‘The good little plant can be straigthened. It can change in its youth, to grow upright, but once it grows up to be a bent tree, it cannot change.’
It will always remain the same old, bent tree.
Once it has grown and been moulded, it’s impossible for it to ever change.”
Malleka : “It is true that the bent tree cannot be a little plant again, but with the seasons that always change, it too can change. It can shed its rotten branches, the ones that do it no good. It’s a choice the bent tree has to make.
It will be nourished by the same soil and the sun that will share its light, regardless of how bent and twisted the mighty tree has grown to be. Come rain and spring, it will grow new leaves. Spring will magically return the clothes autumn had taken.
It can still blossom, to give flowers and fruit. If nothing else, it will always be able to give its cool shade, to a tired traveller.
No the mighty bent tree, won’t straighten its trunk and twisted branches, but that’s how it paints the sky with its unique beauty. That’s what makes children climb and sit in its majestically twined branches. The perfectly straight coconut tree can only be climbed by the coconut vendor.
While the forest is full of straight and tall, upright pine trees, the forest is also full of bent trees.
And the imperfect, bent tree always has a choice.”
A true conversation that unfolded.
by SHENAZ WAHID