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“I know they’re right and you, my friend, are right too, there’s magic, I just needed to believe and look for it. I’ll see you soon!”
Once there was a little girl who loved a Gulmohar tree
She marvelled at this wondrous creation that was growing wild and free
Her tiny neck straining as she would try to look up high
…the summer sun making her brown eyes blink.
She would enjoy the tree’s beautiful bounty,
As her friend and she collected and played with its bright orange flowers.
Seasons passed, years passed
Life passed by too, people, places, trees and all
…..like they do from a running train’s window
She found herself floating, some of her and some of life’s will
Until one day, life made her stop at the crossroads
She was tired and yet filled with energy, that had nowhere to go
Then she met a tree, met a tree one like she never had
Or perhaps she had
“I feel like I’ve known you forever”, she said
“You do. And I do you too”, the tree seemed to say
“And yet I feel there is so much I want to tell, so much I want to listen”
“Slow down, rest my dear, you are home…”
“I’m home,” she breathes
Where else can I get my lesson on slow?
You grow slow, slow, sure and simple
Quiet, yet strong
Tall, yet grounded
Changing, yet comfortingly constant
She heaves a sigh of relief with an answer she finds in worded silence,
…. as she begins listening
She meets the tree again
As she walks up to the tree in the pleasant morning sun this time,
She strains her neck to see how far the crown of the tree reaches
…her eyes twinkling remembering looking at her old friend, the Gulmohar tree
A deep sudden yearning fills her
“I am it, it is me. You are me. I am you”, the tree breaks her reverie, reading her mind
“Soak into the light, let the water seep in and flow, let the wind lead you”, the tree sings and sways
She begins to sing and sway too, it lingers with her far longer
“I’ll see you soon”
Life comes to her again, her heart feels a flutter, unknown to herself she’s strangely slow
She goes back to the tree again
“You waited for me”, she says
“You never left me, my dear”, says the tree
She bends down, picks them, the sweetly-scented yellow flowers and blows them into the misty air
Her hands feel the rugged trunk, as they move down to the roots,
The roots – half inside and half out
The roots entwined, traveling from far and wide, deep and tight
“Trust me, believe. Be you.
Reach out and lean on,
reach out, lean on and spread around…”, whispers the tree
She turns to sit and rest her back on the tree and goes into slumber
A restful slumber she had long forgotten
Her dreams bring her to realize that everyone and everything she passed by
….are with her, within her to reach out, lean on to
She wakes up crying and smiling
…and dreams some more with her eyes open
“I’ll see you soon,” she says as she hugs the tree
Since then, they say, she met life most moments, slow and simple
She had moments alone, she had moments together
She smiled and she cried,
She was whole and she was healed, wild and free
Her heart was full and filled with room
She soaked into the sun, drenched in the rain and embraced the wind
She was filled with wonder, she was willed by hope
She sang and swayed, dreamed and danced
She was her, spreading and radiating, deep and wide, high and low.
And then one other day, she went running to the tree with childlike prance
It was her turn to whisper, “I know they’re right and you, my friend, are right too, there’s magic, I just needed to believe and look for it. I’ll see you soon!”
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Dear Zindagi
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Ramya is exploring the strength of stories, with a belief that stories help us learn and grow and motivate us to live joyous and more fulfilled lives.
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Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).
Gender stereotypes, though a by-product of the patriarchal society that we have always lived in, are now so intricately woven into our conditioning that despite our progressive thinking, we are unable to break free from them.
Repeatedly crossing, while on my morning walk ̶ a sticky, vine-coloured patch on the walkway, painted by jamuns that have fallen from the jamun tree, crushed by the impact of their fall, and perhaps, inadvertently trampled upon by walkers, awakens memories of the mulberry tree that stood in my parents’ house when I was growing up. Right at the entrance of the house, the tree caused a similar red and violet chaos on the floor, which greeted us each time we entered the gate.
Today, as I walked by this red-violet patch, I was reminded of an incident that my mother had narrated to me several times. It had taken place shortly after her marriage and her arrival in this house from her hometown.