Tree Of Life

The Tree Of Life
For Trees Have Life Too

“Plants too have life ” Mrs. Anderson, the Biology teacher finished the lesson and smiled at all the children. The class were doing Plant And Animal Kingdom and the chapter was pretty interesting. The class in fact felt sad it got over.

“But what is the proof that plants have life?” Rihanna asked herself. She could understand all that about how plants prepare food, how they shrivel when we do not water them. She had even seen her granddad singing to plants and seeing them dance in joy. In fact whenever she used to see plants dancing, she used to feel they had come alive. There was something so intriguing about plants that she continued to think that they were man’s best friends.

Years passed and Rihanna reached India on an exchange programme. She was surprised to see everyone here so culture oriented and involved in a lot of social celebrations. One such celebration was a “pooja” people had held to invoke rain. Rihanna had found it very intriguing. Invoking rain? Whatever that meant. She got to know that Nature was worshipped in India as the Mother. She was mother for all living things, plants including.

But how would we know plants have feelings? How ? This is one question that never failed to intrigue Rihanna and she used to look longingly at the tree as if she would get a reply from the huge branches and leaves. Gradually she developed a fondness for the tree in her backyard. A huge mango tree at that. Mangoes, were special in India, but she had brought a sapling along and had grown one in her backyard. As she drove up the driveway, the tree was right in the centre and she had to turn around to park the car. Soon, this became a favourite of all those who passed through and very soon, children used to go through Rihanna’s backyard as she had also built a small sparrow’s house on top.

Every morning, she used to wake up and look at the children playing under the tree,  she used to wave goodbye to them and get back to her chores. One morning, similarly she stood in the balcony looking at the children and waved at them. Just sometime back some elder children had passed by. Then Mr. Smith’s car went by, then old Joe came to wash Jenny’s car. There was so much happening all around and the morning seemed perfect. And then she heard a crash. First a crackling sound…She felt why firecrackers in autumn? And then a crash and a boom!

She rushed to the balcony for she had just then bid goodbye to the children. And there right below, lay one huge branch of a tree sprawled its full glory all gone and dead. Jenny’s car had taken a bashing for the branch fell on the beautiful sedan damaging it beyond recognition. It had rained all night and the branch gave way. The children!

Damaged Car
The tree damaged a car but no occupants in it

Rihanna rushed down, only to see the children turning the corner much ahead of the tree. The tree had fallen, but it did not harm anyone, but the car. She shuddered to think what would have happened if the tree had fallen a second ago, when the children were playing or when the washermen were washing. But the tree did not do that.

The tree knew when to fall and how.  The tree had common sense. Rihanna slowly uttered the words ” The tree has feelings…The tree has life. ………………………….

All plants have life ….!!!!

Rihanna had got her answer to her 20 year question.

A Tale Of Silence

Pergamonnmuseum Berlin, Pergamonaltar, Giganto...
Pergamonnmuseum Berlin, Pergamonaltar, Gigantomachie, Rhea reitet auf einem Löwen, Rhea rides on a lion, Andrasteia (?) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Hello?” Rhea said on this end of the call….Silence….She was greeted with silence and then after a long drawn pause of five seconds, Richard’s voice came from the other end…”Hmm”

“So are you asleep>” asked Rhea with a lot of contemplation. Rhea was Richard’s best friend and pal and had the habit of speaking to Richard every morning and night. She was his soul mate, friend, mentor, guide and everything a good friend could be.

Silence…Rhea was greeted with silence. “Hullo…..were you sleeping>” Rhea repeated her question….

“Hmm”….Richard mumbled. Richard a painter by profession, loved to roam around the countryside and sketch whatever caught his imagination. A Liberal Arts Graduate, he knew to speak Spanish and Hindi. Yes, he knew to speak Hindi because of his Indian connection through his father who had relations there in India.

Rhea spoke nineteen to the dozen and never ceased to share every bit of information with Richard.  They were a good pair only they never had decided to go steady. They shared a camaraderie that was unmistakable but it is only Richard’s silence that came between them.

“What did André tell you?” asked Rhea…André was Richard’s childhood friend and she remembered that the previous night they did not speak because Richard was speaking to Andre..

“Oh we spoke about movies and books..” Richard said….Rhea was waiting ….a minute passed, two, three….Silence…

“Hullo?” Rhea whispered…..”hmm” Richard said…..

“So what did André tell you?” Rhea continued…..


“Hullo?” Rhea went on…..Silence….Rhea lost it and banged the phone down. She was fed up of this silence at the other end always. When Richard was in the mood, he used to speak about everything under the sun, when he was not, it was always Silence.

Rhea texted Richard asking him to stay away from her life. She had had enough and did not want to continue life in this manner  in silence. She picked up the phone called him, and gave him a big piece of her mind.

“Hullo? ” continued…..


She decided she would not call him the entire day. Richard was actually not at fault. It was not like he wanted to hurt her, and used to do it deliberately, but he was so used to Rhea speaking on and on, that he did not know what to pitch in.  He hated it when Rhea started the day with a fight but today Rhea had had it and she had lost it. Richard did not as much send her his usual apology which ired her more. Richard was fed up of the innumerable frustrations in his life, like a difficult boss, a boring office assignment, girls walking out of his life, and so on. On top of it, when Rhea busted his mood, he could never figure out how to come out of it.

In the evening, he came back after a frustrating day in the office and called Rhea up. She did not pick up. He called her again after an hour. She did not pick up. He called her residence. The voice mail was greeted with only one thing – Silence.

Richard rushed to Rhea’s house, as he had to patch up with her. As he entered the driveway, there was a crowd outside, and he went it and saw Rhea there lying on a bed of flowers and there was only one thing that greeted him


Life is too short to waste on silence. Words are the only ways of building bridges of relation. Speak to your near ones as much as you can, as if there is no morrow….For you never know when there really would be no tomorrow.

Point Of No Return

Rachel Hikes with the Shadows
Rachel Hikes with the Shadows (Photo credit: djking)

As their lips parted and he made his way towards the car, Rachel looked wistfully at the sky and sighed to herself. “Why do I have to bear partings always… Why does he have to go away?”

Richard looked behind, waved at Rachel and as the car went down the lane, Rachel took all her time to turn back, adjusted her jacket, and brought the hood closer to her ears as the sedan took a turn and disappeared into oblivion. The early morning mist around made it even more difficult to trace the car until the end of the road.

She looked at the beautiful orange leaves on the trees and made her way towards home, happy, but wistful that she had to spend yet another fortnight without him. Rachel and Richard had been together now for seven years and it had been a long glorious way down the memory lane. She was happy in his company the most and Richard had her as the “confession” box as he used to call her. Both of them from the same Universities and today settled in their respective lives as successful professionals. Work separated them as Richard had his assignment at a nearby rainforest region where he had to trace the movements of animals and research on them.

Rachel was happy with the biographies she used to write on people she met casually on the streets. Life was perfect and Rachel and Richard were engaged to get married soon, once their commitments at work were done with.

Nothing ever seemed to thrill Rachel more than being with Richard, tending him, spending hours talking to him about nothing, while he used to sit and “hmm’ while working at the laptop. Much as Richards’ “hmm” used to irritate Rachel, yet the incessant banter continued. Time was when Rachel had pounced on Richard once while they were studying together in her house, and had professed her love for him. The only complaint Rachel had was the manner in which Richard used to doze off during conversations. It had taken Richard a year to express his love for her and soon they were in a relation. Time flew after High School and Rachel found herself protecting Richard from every new girl in town. For the tall, handsome hunk that he was, he was always the target of all the girls. Of course, Richard liked all the girl attention and oft found himself in arguments with Rachel regarding the way he was with these girls.

First Sandra, then Maggie, then Shyla, then Pat, and a quick fortnight with Nysa, and then there was Katherine who was the most challenging. Katherine had even attempted to kill herself for his sake. Rhea was another feature who he also thought of marrying, much to Rachel’s disdain and soon he was off her. Yet there was so much chemistry between Rachel and Richard that they always got back together. They laughed together, spent time writing on stuff, which never mattered and had every thing under the sun to share. Richard liked to paint, he used to paint on any topic, soon Rachel egged him to create his own paint site, and there it was Colours Unlimited his website that never gained popularity initially. But Rachel egged him on, and soon it was well on the way to becoming popular. It was a happy pair they made, they were quite settled, and then Penelope came in. She was Richard’s cousin’s friend. Hours on end, they used to talk much to Rachel’s frustration. He used to tell her he was going to sleep (something, which was unusual, for he used to drop off to sleep) and then the next moment, Rachel called; she used to find the phone engaged. Bickering, fights, arguments started over Penelope and Rachel strictly told Richard not to meet Penelope when he came down the next time to meet her. As she held his hand and drew closer, they kissed but there was no warmth. They hugged but there was no comfort, they made love but it was only for the sake of it. There was something that had snapped and Rachel missed it.

Penelope? Rachel wondered. She asked Richard about it and he apologized and came back to his earlier ways and said he would make it up. Once on one of his trips he was going back, after making up with Rachel, when he was taking the bus back home. He saw Andy his friend in college also taking the same bus. Richard was happy he had company but was woe befallen when he saw the beautiful looking girl beside Andy, Patricia. After a few minutes, he spoke to Rachel and then suddenly told her “I am going to call Penelope.”

Rachel was shocked and dissuaded him but he asked her not to interfere and insisted he wanted to talk to her at the dead of night. Rachel gave it up quite knowing it was seeing Andy with a girl which had led him to do something like this. Richard always had the feeling that he had missed out on fun as he was steady with Rachel since High School.  From then on, anything regarding any girl in his life was taboo and she never discussed about it.

She waited this fortnight for him, but he said Natalie was coming with her friend and he had to take her around. Natalie was their friend in college who had once taken Richard out on a lovely and memorable evening out as a farewell treat. Natalie had already invited Richard once for a weekend out to nearby Lake Hashing on a campout and Richard was almost going for it but didn’t after Rachel and his friend Ted had stopped him from going, seeing through her intentions.

Now Natalie was back with her friend, as she wanted to see the place around. Richard was not coming for the weekend. Rachel let it pass when he told her he was out with Natalie for the evening. Around midnight, Rachel called to wish him a good night for she always did, but Richard did not pick up. She assumed he had gone to sleep.

The next morning, Richard called her and said he had slept over at Natalie’s and slept with Natalie.

Rachel felt the world crumbling down and her faith in shatters.

She had now reached the point of no return.


English: Natalie Español: Natalie
English: Natalie Español: Natalie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


As they waited for the last drop of rain to end, they held each other’s hands and walked down the lane under the umbrella.  Mrs and Mr. Patterson were on their way back home after getting a loaf of bread from the local grocer. Tipple town was a small town in this part of the world and the Patterson’s were more than content living here and looked forward every Saturday for the arrival of their son, Richard.


Richard a night’s journey away used to visit them, every second Saturday and used to fill their dreary life with lot of activity and busy routine. Today was one more such a Friday when they were looking forward to Richard the next morning.


“Will he come tomorrow?” asked Mrs. Patterson as they hobbled down the cobblestoned path up to their small rickety house.


“I know not, Annie,” said Mr. Patterson “maybe he will. And you do not have to worry if he does not come this week.  Do you have to make all those cookies and stuff that you make always. Let him come and you can prepare all that and more for him.”


Annie always used to make all that Richard liked whenever he came down. She used to stuff his bags with all the goodies she cooked and bid him a goodbye with a heavy heart each time he visited.


Richard was an engineer and lived in Yale town nearby around a night’s journey away. He was settled there with his roommate and was quite at peace with his life there. Young, handsome and a perfect gentleman, he had his own life and his own fantasies to run after.


Though he wished to get back home every weekend there were many things that used to press him down at Yale town. This weekend too as miles away his parents were waiting for him, Richard had a date with Natalie and he could not miss it.


Earlier down the years, Natalie had taken him out and expressed her desire to go steady with him, butt he had refused.  Today as she offered him yet another date, he could not refuse, but it was at the expense of not meeting his parents. He did feel guilty but youth took over parents this time.


Last weekend he had gone on a night trail with his friends. His parents had waited for him even then. Richard was a little guilty he was not able to call them regularly as he used to get busy with his own work. His friend Rihanna often used to chide him for missing to call his parents. She used to tell him that he had to call them everyday.


Today as he rushed to be on time for the date with Natalie, the phone rang. Richard was out of the house and he had his other phone with him. He did not bother to pick it up as he was getting late for his date.


Natalie had booked a nice cozy corner for them in the best hotel in town. Natalie loved to dress up for eating and she expected Richard to be well dressed too. She was quite particular about the way you dress and present yourself.


Richard made sure he was well groomed for he was a little conscious when it came to Natalie. Rihanna used to tell him not to give Natalie so much attention. But Richard was grownup now and he did not like Rihanna dictating terms to him.


The evening went off very well and Richard came back home after dropping Natalie in her house. As he entered home, he switched on the answering machine…and went to have a shower. AS he was getting into the shower, he heard his mother’s frail voice…Richard, we are waiting for you. Today as we were coming back from the grocer’s shop, he fell down and has sprained his back”


Richard felt a wave of guilt and he replayed the events of the evening and wished he had not been so selfish. He realized that this was the phone call he chose not to answer some time back in the evening.


He took the next flight home.



The Dance Of Death

Chandler sunset
Chandler sunset (Photo credit: kevin dooley)

“The doors are wide open, with their open arms. You may join them Rina. “Why didn’t you finish your assignment? hmm?? said Mrs Chandler with a tone of finality. A certain sternness about her was unmistakable. Something about Mrs. Chandler was awe inspiring and there was not a child in the school who was not scared of her. And rightly so. With the growing incidence of mischief in the school, one needed someone like her.

Rina quietly took her books and stood outside the class, while she completed the assignments as she rued the fact that she could have finished her work at home but for Laura who had come home the previous evening and they got to chatting about their friends. If only! Rina wished If only she had done her work on time.

As the bell rang, Rina came in and Mrs Chandler looked at her and said “Do things on time and you are sure to be on the path to success. Do not delay your work ever.

Time flew and Rina was subject to Mrs Chandler’s criticism repeatedly, and she was filled with a lot of respect for her yet had this urge to tell her mentor that she was not doing it intentionally. One day when Rina reached home, she was shocked to see Mrs. Chandler in her house. What in the world was this!

How could her teacher come to her house, As she stood there gape mouthed, jaw dropping in utter disbelief, Mrs Edmund ton , Rina’s mother came in. She gave a tray of cookies to Mrs. Chandler and tea.

“Don’t worry child. She has not come for any complaints or the sorts. She has come just for giving the money for Salvation. I am in charge of Salivation in the church.”Rina heaved a sight of relief, wished Mrs. Chandler a hurried good afternoon, and continued with her work.

Time passed and the aura of Mrs. Chandler never left her. Rina was soon a mother of two and a teacher in a local primary school. She realized that most of her methods and approach were very similar to Mrs. Chandler and said so to  her cousin, Laura too. Rina had settled in another city so there was no chance of her meeting her teacher frequently.

However, there were times when she visited her city to see her parents who were in Bloomingville, an area favourite to Rina’s dad. On one such occasion, she decided to meet Mrs. Chandler but Mrs. Chandler was not in town.

“Never mind” Rina had thought…”Better luck next time.” The next time, she visited the city, she could only speak to her teacher on the phone as she herself had no time.

years passed and Rina’s parents had shifted city so she n o longer went to Bloomingville, and Rina was caught in her own affairs. However, the urge to see Mrs. Chandler was always there yet things never worked her way.

Then came a time when finally Rina could speak to Mrs. Chandler again, and she fixed up a time and place to meet her. All set, she waited for the day to arrive. The morning dawned and she was so excited to meet her teacher yet again. She decided to have a cup of coffee, clean the house and makes him way to her favourite teacher’s house.

She took the coffee, and settled down with the newspaper.
“Mrs Chandler, a teacher in the town, got murdered last evening. Investigations on”.

Sandwiched Success

05072013(004)As he made his way to his workplace Raju, had only one thought in his mind…What new could he do today…? Yesterday was another day, tomorrow is far away, and Raju lived in the present, the time of action. A great entrepreneur, Raju had it all; you ask for it, he had it. A good business, a successful endeavor, a loving family and two children. Raju was a happy man. As he made his way into his office, he greeted whoever was on his way. A pleasant person, he always had a smile on his face. He had come a long way hadn’t he?

Some years back, he remembered how he was working in a hotel, and had had lot of experience in the service sector. His boss recognized his talents, and gave him the offer of starting a business together. And they did, but it did not work as well, as Raju was better at his work, than his boss and the entire thing came crashing down. Raju was out on the streets, not knowing what to do. He remembered how his friends reassured him that things would be fine. One evening, Raju chanced upon a college, which was quiet new to the area. He decided to start his business there. He started with the basic essentials and gradually his popularity increased. All that he had to do was to give the world what it wanted. And what did the world want? A two bit minute of peace and a quick delicious bite.

This brings us to the present that Raju made for himself. With a swift move of his hand, Raju pat the butter on the bread slice and whipped it up on the hand toaster. As the sandwich simmered within, Raju looked at the small girl who was smacking her lips in her delicious wait to see it in her snack box soon. The sandwich done, Raju catered to the next in line, and made sure that each of his customers was satisfied. Amazingly, he did not even have the infrastructure to stand where he is today.


Raju is a sandwich maker in the local areas of an Indian metropolis. He is the voice of countries like India, he is the power behind the well oiled mechanism of the country. He is truth incarnate. And the office that I mentioned is just a one feet by one feet bit of space outside a college. His desk is a cycle on which he keeps his stuff for the sandwiches. Is it not the best thing that could happen for progress in society? he serves sandwiches for hundreds and contributes to the revenue overall.


05072013(002)I met this guy just two days back, when I was on one of my regular personal endeavors. His frankness, genuineness, and honesty struck me, and I was amazed to see the manner in which he delivered sandwiches to his customers. There was a tenacity that was unmistakable and a sincerity that has been obtained after years of hard work. I asked him how he started the business and he poured out his entire story and topped it with an offer of a “Chilly Cheese Sandwich” for which he refused to take money. I told him, my mother has told me that there is never any concession for anything related to medicine, religion, and food. One should never take any of these free, for which he said his father has told him, that feeding two mouths would be recorded in the log book of God and that was more beneficial for him. Ultimately, we struck a deal and I paid half for the Chilly Cheese Sandwich.


I felt he was more than relieved to talk about himself and he is one of the many fasces we see in a crowd, but a face hard to forget just because of his genuine attitude and honest outlook. In a world of instant gratification driven endeavors here is one endeavor that is a matter of the heart. What say?


The Whiplash

Rina Tamaki Cospre
Rina Tamaki Cospre (Photo credit: toel-uru)


As Rina adjusted her satchel and climbed into the bus she whistled in her mind a tune she always loved…from one of the old classic movies…She settled in the seat of the bus heading for Trivandrum. Rina all of 18 yrs of bundled energy was travelling with her mother and paternal uncle to Kanyakumari….


She got her window seat which she was fond of and Rina looked out into the beautiful greenery that Kerala had to offer to the voyeur’s eyes…It was a feast for the eyes no doubt…The whiff of fresh air, the fragrant smell of sandalwood paste so uniquely a part of every Keralite and the very familiar occassional smell of banana chips being fried all added to Rina’s album of memories….


Engulfed thus in a wave of TLC from Mother Nature Rina drifted off to sleep….and dreamt that she was amongst the dolphins in the ocean jumping with them, she was flying with the eagles in the air, and she was perched on the treetops with the local birds….and that a bird was pawing her elbow…It slowly edged towards her arm and then Rina suddenly felt the bird reaching her bosom…”ouch” Rina felt in her dreams…and tried to shake the bird’s paw away…The bird stubbornly continued doing what it had set to do…and Rina in utter irritation almost chopped the birds’ paw off and in utter frustration held the paw and did not release it….The paw, the bird, the ire….suddenly Rina was brought back from her sleep and whoa….what did she find…she was holding on to someone’s hand…Rina suddenly realised it was no birds’ paw pawing her…It was a guy from the seat behind trying to play smart….


Rina recoiled from the initial shock and then realised that all the while this fellow behind had been trying to be a little extra smart and had tried to needle her. …She got up and ” WHACK….!” One smarting slap swished across the man’s face ….and Rina expressed her ire in full public and asked him to behave himself….The man eventually got down from the bus…

Such was Rina’s ire towards female harassment….That was 25 years back…MUch later, Rina got married and settled down to an Indian domestic life….After a lot of mental, emotional,physical and psychological upheavals….Rina came through after 20 years of marriage as a successful Indian mother of a teenaged daughter and son,a dedicated Indian daughter in law, a committed wife and a reliable friend….apart from being a good sister, daughter etc…At  this stage of life she had the capacity to manage home and the outside world. So Rina started taking up small time assignments and work to keep herself busy.

AT one such work place where Rina was required to administer regular schedule in a group of apartments,as usual, Rina settled to work with her boss one evening. Rina and her boss had a love hate relation. They loved to fight and hated to agree….!IN the midst of one such argument that evening, Rina suddenly noticed that one of the residents from one of the apartments was taking a photograph of her in the work place. Rina quietly mentioned this to her boss and after work hours met this person who took the photograph.


To give a brief overview this person X was in constant ego squabbles with Rina’s boss. So to make matters more complicated the photograph was another appendix to his list of “Why not’s”….When rina went and confronted X and asked the reason why her photograph was taken without her permission the man said he had no intention of doing anything with it but any kind of explanation could be settled at court…


Rina at 18 ..she is on her one to report one to cling to……stinging slap to a guy who harassed her …Rina at 30…she is a mother of two…is responsible for her kids,..mulling over to take a call on her marriage …… be or not to be…Rina at 40 plus…..resigned to accepting things meekly……as the kids have now grown into confident individuals….and she feels their future is more important than her working on a personal squib and wasting time and energy on it.


Rina requested her boss to take a soft call on this and retracted from the scene…Her mind longed to give X a piece of her mind, her psyche did not accept her timidness, her personality worked against her. Yet Rina retracted and tried to camouflage the entire incident as a laissez-faire…


Tired but raring, exhausted but wanting a change, responsible but insecure…..Rina continued her life…missing working with her boss, and proceeded towards the door….Yes she believed that when one door closes another opens…..




What Goes Around Comes Around

English: Ramat Rachel Hotel - statue by David ...
English: Ramat Rachel Hotel – statue by David Polus עברית: מלון רמת רחל – פסלו של דוד פולוס (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” Only remember that I do not want to hear about you from a third person” so saying Edgar walked out of the living room and made his way out into the driveway and drove  his small sedan out.

Rachel looked at herself in the mirror and imitated her father ” I do not want to hear about you from a third person. Do you understand that, Ms.Rachel Edgar Smith?”  With a tinkle of laughter, she left out and took her bicycle and the very next moment went to meet Renauld who was waiting for her at his gate. Together they cycled down the lane and reached school.

“Dad is quite freaked out at me, Renauld and has said so in so many words, that I should not be seeing you.” said Rachel

“However is that possible, Rachel,? ” Renauld asked in exasperation, all his books toppling down. Rachel and Renauld had grown up together and now were well on their teens. Everything was working perfect, except that the local community at the Parish was not allowing them to be seen together as it was against the law of the Parish, that a boy from the nearby town should not be going around with a girl from Bloomingdale where Rachel lived.

Rachel, a loving daughter, did not like to be separated from her childhood friend and still met him on the stealth, unknown to her parents. But one day, she decided to call it off, for she did not want to betray her parents. And sure enough, Renauld also agreed as, he too was a well brought up boy from a good family. Old times, and those days when children used to obey their parents.

Soon time passed and Rachel went on to becoming  a writer. She loved writing and soon her books on children became the hot topics and the favourites in town. Renauld was a successful businessman and after Rachel got married, their friendship was in the back burner.

Rachel now a happy woman, a loving wife and a disciplinarian at home. A mother,stern with rules and liberal with mistakes of here children, Rachel had three of them, Ryan the elder one, Kate the second, and Christopher the third. As the children grew, Rachel was more than happy they never troubled her for any major cause. Ryan graduated and went on to becoming a photographer, Kate was pursuing her Masters in Commercial Arts and Christopher was in High School.

One day, Pam, Rachel’s best friend called and told her that Christopher had sent a message to his friend, and Rachel’s friend’s daughter Samantha that his relation with Daphne was over. Samantha’s brother happened to see this message and queried with Christopher. Pam saw this and reported all to Rachel. Rachel sat down and thought for a long while, on how to tackle this situation. She did not want to hurt Christopher, lest he stopped telling her everything. She did not want to keep quiet lest the kids take her for granted.

When Christopher reached home, Rachel cleared her throat and waited for Christopher to finish what he was doing. Rachel had decided what she had to say.  She said ;

“Only remember that I do not want to hear about you from a third person” !!!

What goes around comes around !