In a faraway land, on the banks of a river, there stood a mighty Peepal tree. The tree stood tall, fed by the river, and occasionally giving back to it as well. Aided by the perennial rains, some new shoots of leaves were forming on the branches of this tree that overlooked the river. Tender, sleek Peepal leaves. The weather however has been growing wilder. Rains and thunderstorms lashing and punishing anything in their wake. Fed by the torrential rains, the serpentine river had become a ferocious beast. The Peepal tree stood high even as gusts of wind mercilessly punished it. The new tender leaves also tried hard to stay put, but, their resolve was not enough to withstand the raw power of the downpour. One by one, the leaves succumbed to the wind and fell down.
One leaf, carried by the winds, swirled down and fell into the river. It could only longingly look at the Peepal tree as the river dragged it away from its home. Tossed and turned by the river, the leaf drifted along. It gradually got familiar with the flow. Nevertheless, it had some apprehensions, since the world ahead was unknown, and had to be faced alone. That was what it thought, until one day, the peepal leaf got a companion.
It came floating up from the other side of the river. As it came nearby, the peepal leaf saw that it was a rose bud. Small, petite, not yet blossomed, but beautiful nevertheless. It had a bright red colour, a kind which the peepal leaf had not seen before. The river kept flowing, unabated, oblivious to the changes it was causing to the destinies of whatever it was dragging along. The peepal leaf and the rose bud floated along, pushed on by the currents, like everything else. The river took them to places they had never seen. They heard sounds they had never heard before. The peepal leaf got used to the presence of the rose bud beside it. The insecurities about the strange world dissolved as familiar faces gave them courage – each day, each night. The flow became smooth.
Life was just perfect, thought the peepal leaf. Little did it know that life abhors perfection. Life likes to test your resolve. It tests you and allows you to pass the test, and instills a false sense of security in you. Then it tests again – tougher this time around. The peepal leaf was about to learn a hard lesson. The flow of the river had become turbulent. It started to rain again. The current picked up force and dragged the peepal leaf and the rose bud along. The going was getting tough as the leaf and the bud were being rammed into a flotilla of logs and rocks. The peepal leaf could feel the old apprehensions returning – as panic.
In a fatal twist, the river slammed the leaf and the bud in to a rock. The peepal leaf got disoriented and saw that the river was branching ahead. There was a sting and then a searing pain. The peepal leaf realised that the rose bud was being carried away in the other direction. And there was nothing that could be done about it. The river flows its course, no matter what. There was a weird sense of emptiness. Looking down, the leaf saw that its own body was torn. A piece of the leaf was dragged along with the rose bud, entangled in its thorns.
Just before the flow of the river took them their separate ways, the peepal leaf got a last glance of the rose bud. It was floating among a group of other shrubs. They looked like roses. The peepal leaf drifted along, alone once again. The river kept flowing the same; but it never felt the same. There was a void. Probably due to the missing piece. The peepal leaf wondered if the void would become a part of its life forever. It wondered where the rose bud would have reached. It wondered if the piece torn off from its side was still there with the bud, or if the flowing river had tussled it away too. It would never know. One thing it did know however; the flow of the river would never feel the same; for, the leaf was torn, and it would never be the tender, sleek Peepal leaf again.
[Image courtesy: Original image of the Peepal leaf courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]