By Asra Husain
So this is the story of ‘Mr Leafy’. Infested by termites and not lucky enough to get pampered with fertilizers, manures and the like; it’s desire to live amazes me at times.
It may sound a little or a lot more vague but it does make life a little more magical for me. I wonder how effortlessly slant and shiny rays of sunlight manoeuvre their way through lazy leaves. The sight, often keeps me enchanted during winter afternoons.
What I don’t like is rowdy children hanging from its ever blooming branches. They would strike at odd hours bringing down our coveted bearings using strange tools and methods. I once ducked and saved my dear head from getting blown off by a withered and worn out joota (it wasn’t qualified for a much sophisticated term i.e shoe)
This whole insane exercise makes me want to come up with even more insane tactics to ward off the insane boys. Like a furious lovelorn lover, agitated at the sight of roadside Romeos messing with his beloved; I want to smash their teasing faces or better- chop the tree’s bulging head.
After all the teeth clenching and nerve tightening we would resort to lesser violent techniques.
Parents were summoned, kids were scolded and subjected to cold stares, branches were tied together and pulled inside, jaw – breaking half ripe guavas were picked greedily before anyone else could saviour their rawness.
But everything went in vain! None of the trouble shooting ever worked wonderfully enough to relieve our irritated selves from this everyday natak.
When all our tactics went phuss, the sardar would agitatedly order us ‘sipahees’ to deploy water cannons to make the culprits scurry away. Futile attempts! The water miraculously doubled and came back to us; this time with renewed fervour. Tired and dismayed we would seek refuge in the confines of the huge hall, running parallel to the open space where our treasured tree stood erected.
Before you returned, that piping hot tea had long before turned to sugary mud water and the most awaited television show had its casting list rolling with great pomp.
It was humorous, though in a strange way to find that a thick log, a bunch of leaves and their off springs can be the cause of our constant worries. An afternoon was considered auspicious when you could just laze around leisurely without having to unleash the devil inside and exhibit those long lost etiquettes.
The over-excited kids never lost any battle. They succeeded in ripping off the tree of all its fruits, leaves, branches and all other belongings. Like those heartless dacoits in Bollywood movies, who show up even before the villagers had the privilege to relish the fruit of their toil; these ‘usool-less’ kids would strip down the tree of it’s very first green buds.
Like a never dying ritual, it was customary for those intimidating little thieves to gather on deserted summer afternoons for some fun and careless banter.
Free country, you know. You are free to test people’s patience, invade their privacy, steal their belongings and go away swaying that oddly positioned rear.
Year after year the kids grow up, turn into adults and are replaced by more menacing kids but the subject of their atrocities remain unchangeable. As for us, our tolerance level has gone a few notches up.