“If you are thirsty, there is only one thing to do, to drink water, this path is that water.”, said the man stubbornly.
“Surely you are right. If one is thirsty, one must drink water, but this water can be drunk in so many ways. Water can be sipped from a crystal jar, from an earthen mug, from a waterfall, a stream, a river. It can be transformed from the ocean, melted from ice and it can flow from the tap.
It matters not how we reach this water, in our own way.
We are sitting around a table.
A man is convinced he has found the philosophy which is the elixir to life.
He may be right, for the idea he speaks of is a beautiful one, but then he insists it isn’t just an idea, it is the idea.
The only one.
There is only one right philosophy and he knows it.
A palpable tension begins to travel around the table. A few people shift uncomfortably in their seats.
He asks, “What do you do when you are thirsty?”
Someone answers, “You drink water.”
“Yes there is only one thing to do when you are thirsty. This philosophy is that water,” he says.
I want to join the uneasy silence, but I can’t help but disrupt it with a thought that is burning within me, “Yes, when you are thirsty, you must drink water, but water can be drunk in many ways, from a waterfall, a river, a crystal jar, an earthen pot, a glass cup, water harvested from the rain, water transformed from the sea, water from melted snow, water from a tap, a stream and a well. It seems there are many ways to drink the same water and quench one’s thirst. Aren’t there?”
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