On a Tuesday morning, I was on my way to the bus stand to go to office, when something strange happened.
A strong wind blew away the folder I was holding, and as I bent to pick it up, the fragrance of roses captivated me, causing me to turn my head towards the opposite direction, which was indeed the street leading towards the garden.
Daffodils swaying in the breeze, butterflies flitting from one flower to another, soared my spirits, and as the breeze brushed my cheeks, my joy knew no bounds.
I quickly changed my mind, and walked on the path leading to the garden.
Entering it, I turned right, and headed to my favourite spot, which was the bench underneath the mango tree.
As I walked towards the tree, I thought to myself, “Is this me?
I had never done something so irresponsible earlier, then what had gotten over me?
Was it the pressure of work or was it something else?
Pondering on this I reached the mango tree, only to find to my dismay, that it was occupied.
It was 8.30 am in the morning, and there on the bench sat a young man, in his 30’s. He looked forlorn and sad.
“What’s with him, doesn’t he have any work, or was he also someone like me, who preferred the mango tree to the hustle bustle of the office?” I thought.
However, I walked up to him and smiled.
As he returned my smile, I confidently intruded into his space, by plonking myself into the empty space beside him.
He looked quite perturbed, at seeing me do so, however I didn’t seem to care.
After all, hadn’t I missed office just to sit here, right under the mango tree?
The mango tree was not just a tree, it was my lifeline, a guide to the art of living.
Its strong roots, ground it, and as you sit underneath it, you feel grounded too.
It is indeed transitional, and helps you uproot that part which does not qualify as you.
I have always sought refuge under it and it has given me comfort and warmth, at a time when I have felt lost and forlorn.
It’s deep roots and content stillness always conveyed this message ” Embrace changes, and go along in life no matter what.”
However, today as I looked at it, it smilingly seemed to say, ” Ha ha you found a new work place, did you not?
Underneath me, did I hear it say,?
Oh, my what was it trying to convey?
Now as I sat down , I happened to look at my neighbour, who seemed serious and worried.
He did not notice me, as he was preoccupied.
His phone rang suddenly, and as he answered it, he looked hurt and dejected.
However what occurred afterwards, transformed everything around, for suddenly the whole vision of tranquillity vanished leaving an unpleasant trail of hurt and sorrow.
Looking at him just then, I guessed the caller was a woman, but then how would I know?
The chances of finding out seemed bleak.
However luck favoured me, as he suddenly looked at me and asked me if I would do him a favour.
He said, “Could you just listen to what I have to say?
I smiled and answered in the affirmative.
Then he began his story,
” I’m Dev, an only child to my parents, and have had my upbringing in a joint family , with my uncles, aunts and cousins.
I was the only one without a sibling, and my parents, never ever understood me or my emotional needs.
I was lonely, and looked out for a sense of belonging and love.
So I turned towards my cousins because I felt I needed to be one with them.
Most of the time, I did all sorts of odd jobs for them and went to any extent to save them from trouble.
There was a time I confronted goons, to save my cousin’s reputation, while her own brothers hid behind me, and also went on to proxy all their wrong acts , so as to walk the extra mile, to be in their good books.
I did everything with a smile, so that they treat me as their own, however it was all in vain.
All this made me miserable, and desolate.”
I wanted to blurt out “Wasn’t that their problem? Why make it yours?”
Well but I had promised to listen, so not saying a word, I listened to him.
He then said ” Just a few days ago, I met Janvi, a nice and charming young girl.
I felt I could spend my whole life with her, and felt so secure , and happy ,until now.”
“Then all of a sudden, a few days ago she ignored my calls.
I needed some tranquillity and quietude so I came here to reflect on this situation, when as you just saw, this call came in, and she ended our relationship .
How could she just end it, is beyond my understanding.
I don’t know what to do right now, but your mere listening, gives me comfort and acts like a soothing balm.”
Nature has its ways, it got me here on an office day just to be the soothing balm, and as I looked up I felt the mango tree smilingly wink at me.
I said to him, ” Please don’t be dejected , and for now underneath the mango tree let’s seal our deal, of true friendship, the true friend indeed who is a friend in deed.
We smiled at each other, and I assured him all would be fine.
Then he looked at me and thanked me for being there for him, and we parted ways, that day.
A few days later, I went for a walk, and as I passed the garden, I paused.
I had absolutely no intention of going in, when I heard myself say ” Just go to the mango tree”.
As I went in, and reached the mango tree, I was pleasantly surprised, at seeing Dev there.
We smiled at each other, and I gave him my friendly bear hug.
We sat down and Dev then said, “I intuitively knew you would be here, and this time I am here to listen to what you say”?
The other day I spoke and you listened, today I want to do the listening”
Astonished at this I asked him” What’s up?
He said” After we left the other day, I thought that life would be more at ease now, since I do have an earnest friend.”
He continued, “Everything was alright for sometime, but today I went back to feeling lonely.
Somehow I knew you’ll be here, and I could bank on you.
Suddenly I was gripped with a feeling of overwhelming responsibility, and I was silent for a minute.
Then I spoke.
” Dev, trusting in the universe, is like trusting yourself.
You knew instinctively that I would be here, as something within you trusted in our friendship.
You trusted me, and so here I am, and believe me, I had no intention of being here.
It was as if something pulled me here, and now I know what?
When you felt restless you came here, hoping to find me here too.
It was luck or should I say divine intervention, that we did find each other again at the bench underneath the mango tree.
Actually more than all of the above, a part of you believed in yourself and so you found me here.”
I added, “Dev you are a very nice person, please know it.
Often in our journeys we come across various situations, unpleasant, and sometimes miserable too.
Almost always these episodes in our life, are instrumental in shaping us into what we are, but it is not meant to be that way.
Engrossed as we are in the ways of the world, we fail to see its true perspective.
This is where the mango tree comes in. It has seen storms and calm, but it is rooted firmly to the ground.
It does what it is here for, provides food and shelter, to the weary traveller, and a soothing balm to the lonely wary seeker, like you and me.
This is nature and nature’s call to you and me, to take things in their stride.
Your unpleasant memories have created an image, as to how you see the world to what it actually is.
However the image wall is hard to break, unless a constant effort to change from your part.
We could be friends as you saw me with no image. Time didn’t let you do so, as we didn’t know each other.
You could not see me any other than I am, and that is the whole gist.
Shed that image of the deceitful world, which you had once experienced, and you will find the true world.
Its open and empty, don’t dare block up the space with your delusions and illusions, of your past.
Instead ride in the open spaces with love by your side..
A few days later, Dev with his lady love Janvi, by his side, sat underneath the mango tree, and as it smiled down at them , it seemed that the whole universe smiled too..