Friday, October 1, 2010

The warrior in me

Yesterday, I received an email from my society about cutting down the tamarind tree in my compound. I've written about the tree in my earlier posts. I was shocked, distressed, touched to the quick. It was as if someone was telling me that they would be cutting off my arms. I was so pained and fearful that I would lose my morning mate, the lush green that greets my eyes, when they are still longing to sleep, the birds tweeting and the squirrels scurrying about, that I felt the warrior in me rise. Exactly like the tigress who goes to any lengths to protect her cubs.
I was in a high-octane emotional state—furious, afraid, helpless and worried. I dashed off an angry letter to the members of the society, words spilling out like lava. I didn't realise then that they would hurt them, as much as their decision to cut the tree devastated me. Then, I worried some more that instead of stopping them in my tracks, my words would probably get them to react adversely. So anxious was I about my green friend meeting such a cruel fate, that I dashed off yet another letter, this time informing them that I would do everything in my power to protect it. I had decided to approach the authorities and some environmentalists in case I needed to.
Yes, I received a reply in which I was categorically told that I had used very harsh language. Generally, I am a very peace-loving person, not given to hurting people's sentiments. I apologised. This was not the time for confrontation. It was a time to befriend people, to build bridges, to do everything to garner peace and get off the collision course. Anything to save the tamarind tree.
I had sent a silent reassurance to the tamarind tree in the morning and promised it that I wouldn't let anyone harm it. I was quite surprised to find that I loved the tree, as much as I love my human friends and relatives. I also found out how much. I had not realised the huge impact it had had on my life till the moment I thought that I would lose my wonderful companion. It is possible, I realised, to nurture intense affection for silent creatures of another kind, who live with us, witnessing and perhaps, even documenting, our checkered lives.
For now, my friend lives. When I return home in the evening, I plan to stop by and pat its trunk. To tell it to be by my side forever. To express my gratitude. I think it will understand. I owe it. It's the one bright green spot in my life every morning.