Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Wind, The Cloud and The Tree

I am the strongest, said the wind, bloating to the cloud, I can carry you anywhere I want, It doesn’t matter how much you want to rain in the dry places, I take you to places where I please and there you come down.
The cloud was silent because he knew it's the truth. But he hated the wind so much for his arrogance. So he thought of this. “I know you are strong but you are not strong enough to take on whom I nurture.” he said.
“Oh come now, there is none like that. I can create cyclones and storms, I can carry things to another side of the world, I can do whatever I wish.” the wind said. After a long pause, he added, “thank to God” which he felt will prove his humility which was not really the case.

The wind became suddenly hopeful when he realised that it will be difficult for the wind to challenge whom he is thinking of. He said, listen wind, I know what you can do but still you can't make this one, the one I am talking of, obey to you or listen to you.”

Wind was really irritated by now. “Lets go and see cloud, your admirer will be as weak as you and I will win over him in no time.”

They both agreed, and flew together, the wind carrying the cloud, to the forest where the wind takes the cloud every monsoon and the cloud stays there and for three months, watering the trees. The old trees find life, the new trees grow faster when the cloud is there and all these trees loved him.

There is one tree, however, which is the challenger the wind has thought of. This tree is a strong one and almost at the middle of the forest. He is the tallest of them all and looking at his trunk and the branches, he is the strongest of them all. He shelters numerous birds and insects on him. He guards those from the rain with his leaves. He tries to stay still when these tiny nests have eggs or new born so those don’t topple over. And when these newborns jump and try to fly for the first time, he smiles and watches. Then when they can fly, the parent birds teach the young ones to thank him and they all fly away together, after thanking him from the deepest corner of their heart. Everybody loved him. Even weaker trees look at him and relies on his strength to handle the strong storm.

This is the tree which the cloud had in his mind as the challenger to the wind. They flew and both reached him. From up above the sky, the cloud pointed the majestic tree to the wind. It is easy to recognise him from that far above as there is no other tree like him in the whole forest.

“That is the friend who I am talking about. He is the king of the trees. Listen wind, if you can make him obey you, the whole forest will listen to you” the cloud said.

The wind started to work immediately. He went down to the tree and said, “hello sir, I am wind and I am having an argument with the cloud, your friend. He says if you obey me as superior, he will accept me as superior. As you know I am the strongest force in the world, please accept my powers and I shall reward you”

The tree was surprised. He said, “cloud is my friend and he helps me maintain this forest and all its inhabitants. When my leaves are dirty, he washes it, when my roots are dry he waters it so I can live and bear fruit. He waters my whole kingdom. How can I leave him and join your side?”

The other trees were listening to this conversation. The wind felt insulted. He said” if you don’t listen to me, I will ruin you. First I will break your branches and then uproot you. Then, while dying, you will see me running havoc and destroying everything you love. Do you want that?”
The tree said, “the cloud has done many things for us. What have you done? Go back to where you came from.”

The wind was really angry. He went up in the sky, took a deep breath and started to blow at the tree.

The tree was a strong tree. He started shielding nests with his leaves. At least 2 nests have eggs in them and 1 has 3 new babies. They must not fall. His powerful branches covered the initial attack.

The wind blew hard

The wind didn’t give up. This one is stronger than I thought. He started blowing harder. The branches started shivering. The tree put its root firmly in the earth and started protecting. But even with all his strength, he was shivering slightly, from this very strong wind. He started losing the leaves which were covering the nests.

You are so stubborn, shouted the wind from the up above, give up else I will blow stronger. The tree didn’t reply, his whole body ready for next attack.

The next attack was vicious, the wind didn’t blow directly this time but came down in a circular way right on top of that tree. The roots were holding to the ground as fast as they could and the solid thick branches were really trembling from this incredible attack from the wind.

Finally, the wind could twist one arm and break it. The thick branch fell on the ground with a thud. Noooo, the tree screamed, less from his pain than from realising that one nest with eggs and another with new borns were on that branch. They all crashed on the ground. The forest watched in horror, nobody saying a word, in fear of the great wind coming against them.

The wind, from far above, said, “say I am the strongest and the greatest and save whatever dear is remaining. “

“You might be the most powerful but you are never the strongest and you will never understand the difference between them.” the great tree, wreathing in pain, replied.

“Fine then”, the wind went for a stronger circular wave and hit the tree. This time, three major branches, all weak from previous attacks, fell down. The tree screamed in pain every time one branch fell off. He cried, loud enough for the whole forest to hear clearly, for his physical loss and loss of every nest, insect, bird, eggs, newborns and orchids which was living depending on him.

The large tree swayed as the cloud watched helplessly.

Now he stood, naked, only the main trunk remaining along with some smaller branches.

The wind might be the most powerful force in the world but he is surely not infinitely strong. Nobody, except God is infinitely strong. When the wind summoned his final strengths and prepared for the final assault because even now the tree denied considering him the strongest, the tree prayed to the God.

“God, dear God, don’t make me fail. If I fail, all the trees will fail. I am their king, their courage and their hope. Their sovereign and their strength. Let me stand and face this final assault.”

The wind launched his last assault. The weaker surviving branches gave away easily as this was the fiercest of all the attacks. The roots almost gave up as the wind put each drop of his power behind this attack. The tall naked, bruised body of the tree swayed helplessly, bending and the tip almost touching the ground. Then it broke from midway. The wind also stopped because he was totally spent.

“I have done it, I have ruined him” the wind panted to the wind.
“but you said, you can make him agree that you are the strongest. He didn’t confess that. He broke staying true to his principles.” the cloud replied. The wind was silent.
New sprout came where the great tree broke

The God, to whom the tree prayed, was not idle either. He saw everything and saw how the tree stayed true for what is true and just. He sent his angels to the tree who healed the wounds and the cloud rained him his sweetest water and next day, there was a sprout, just where the body of the tree was broken.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Dogs And The Moon

The ugly dog called for a meeting. Not that the other dogs were very fond of him. But they agreed to meet in the park, after all human have gone to bed. They met there, all 17 of them. These are the dogs of that village, who eat whatever are leftovers and stay awake all night protecting the people of the area, even when people didn’t ever care about them. If they ever breached the trust, especially when hungry and trying to take a little more food from someone's house, they never said “oh you poor thing, you must be so hungry, eat as much as you can, for without you we couldn’t have slept peacefully at night.”. This sulk was evident.

The ugly dog suffered the most. Once while being chased away, he ran in front of a passing cart and was severely wounded. Nobody really cared, except for a few other dogs. This ugly dog was a young and strong dog that time. He survived, but his wound, which later grew into ulcers, was never cured completely. With one eye almost gone, a great big raw patch of meat without the cover of the rotting skin, he was really ugly. This is why he doesn’t even take part in the night patrol either.

The village looked like the heaven on full moon nights

People, all the dogs believed, are only crazy for the moon. However, what good has it done to them? Nothing, just nothing. It doesn’t even glow brightly enough to make the jobs easy for the dogs or for the widow of the tailor who needs to sew all night to raise two young children. It doesn’t glow brightly enough to put the scare of the dark away from the children. It doesn’t help grow the corps. It doesn’t let you stay warm during those freezing cold nights. What good is it then? Why do people keep on talking about the moon. Why they mention the moon when mentioning the night and not the dogs who really own the night ? 

The ugly dog, who had nothing to do, except to curse the people and the destiny which put him in this condition and wait for a miracle to get cured, fuelled these ideas. This is why the meeting is there. One must protest about this injustice.

They all gathered in the park. The ugly dog, who never failed to take the centre stage, even when nobody wanted, took the centre stage. In a deep, hatred-filled voice, he started, “friends, its we who always work. Its we who serve the community. We sacrifice our night sleep to keep them safe. Yet, have you heard them ever talking about us? It's always that moon, which serves them no purpose. I say, we must protest against this. The human are too powerful to protest against. Moreover, they can't control the moon. We will demonstrate our agitation directly against the moon.”

All the dogs listened to the ugly dog.

Aye, aye, a few dogs agreed half-heartedly. Others remained silent,wondering what is it all about or how it can be successful.

“We will put the moon to shame” the ugly dog continued, “and we will shout slogans till it withdraws and never shows up its face again. Its we, who must be praised, adored and talked about. Let dogs replace the moon and reclaim the place we rightly deserve”

Hear hear, said a few dogs, more in number this time, and the voices finding strength as well.

“We will go every night to the big vacant field outside the village boundary, which is barren nowadays as the farmers have taken the crops home. There we shall achieve our goal, in the name of whatever is holy”

A loud and exuberant approval came from all the dogs.

Then they followed the ugly dog to the big barren field outside the village. Determined to bring this to an end, for once and all.

The moon, unaware of these happening, realised, it's his time to show up. The nightingale must be waiting to sing. The kids must be waiting to watch the old woman who stays on the moon. The loving couples must be waiting for him to make their heart feel the purest love for their partners. The night queen is waiting for him to blossom. The mothers must be waiting for him so they could sing and call him to their aid and help them put the baby to sleep. The poet is waiting to find new inspiration for his new poems which he must read in the court of the king tomorrow, he needs the moon. Removing the cover of the cloud, the moon, the bright moon of the 12th night, showed up smilingly.

Everything happened as he expected, the nightingale welcomed him crooning her sweetest songs. The night queen blossomed, just beside the tiny dilapidated house of the poet. The poet looked at the moon and smiled and took out his paper and ink. The kids excitedly tried to guess what the old woman must be doing and the babies started falling asleep looking at the smiling and beautiful face of the moon.

The dogs were ready, there there, screamed the ugly dog, with his broken voice. “Let's make this happen brothers”, he demanded. The dogs started to bark, loud and hoarse at the moon.

The moon is too far up high to for their voices to reach him. The moon, neither expecting nor hearing anything didn’t pay any attention to them. Instead, he moved even high up the sky and started to smile even brighter. The world, the village, washed by the soft white moonlight, looked like a poet's dream of the early hours of the night, or like the the heaven.

“Its not working, its not working my brothers” the ugly dog urged as loudly as his weak lungs allowed him, “lets go even higher”. “Get lost you shameless moon. What good have you done to anyone? You can't even makes the work of the dead tailor's wife easy.”

The ugly dog barked loudly against the moon

Picking up from him, another dog shouted, “we serve many more purpose than you can with all your might. If you have little of shame, get behind the clouds and never come out”

They started to bark with zeal and louder. So louder that even the villagers could hear it. Something must have gone wrong. They decided to check out.

They followed the sound and reached the barren field and realised that the dogs were shouting at nothing. Irritated, they chased the dogs away but didn’t say anything. They went home. Some of them went to sleep. Others sat near their wives and said, isn’t the moon so beautiful my love?

The dogs ran for their lives and escaped the villagers. “But we must not give up” said the ugly dog and others agreed.

The next night was 13th nights. The anticipation was there, moon came, the usual appreciation followed. The dogs, ready this time, with more members, barked as hard as they could to the moon. “Oh, only if you were really beautiful. Only if you didn’t have those ugly marks right on your face. You can't even talk, you are dumb” they screamed.  Nobody was there to tell the moon what’s happening and he continued to smile all night.

The villagers, followed the noise this time again and was again disappointed. They chased the dogs away harder and further this time. They must have gone crazy, the villagers thought.

It was the next night, the night of the 15th. The ugly dog has preached his doctrine to other groups and found members. That night saw the biggest assembly of dogs and they started to scream at the biggest, brightest full moon of the 15th. The moon was unaware and busy in noticing the nightingale pleading her love to him, the poet finding new rhymes and words to read for his lover, the lover couple embracing and kissing right under his light.

“Tonight is our make or break night my brothers,” the ugly dog injected enthusiasm, “lets make this happen.” The dogs, irritated at how the villagers didn’t care about their side of the story, started barking. They barked the loudest and with zest. The large group which assembled at the ground made so much noise that the faint sound reached even the moon. The moon was puzzled, have I done something wrong, why so many dogs are barking at me?

The noise was not so faint in the village. “We must teach these dogs a lesson else we will never sleep peacefully at night: the villagers said to each other. They went to the field, armed with sticks and started chasing the dogs who started to run. But the ugly dog, physically incapable and weak from so much barking, couldn’t run fast enough. One strong blow hit him and his painful existence on this world ended.

The moon noticed the agitation has ended and started to smile brightly once more.

There was one, in fact, two, who noticed the whole episode over three nights, the mother owl and her young son. They also stay awake the whole night as their nature. Every night the mother owl brought the young baby to the barren field to teach him how to find food. The death of the ugly dog shocked the young owl. Looking at him, the mother owl smiled.

Mother owl and her son watched it all from treetop

“When you reach heights my son, when you become glorified and bright, when you are admired and adored by one and all, you will always find a small group who will find flaws in you. They will try to pull you down with all their might. They will argue against you with reasons which will seem just. Pay no attention to them my son, ever, and just keep on doing whatever you do. Neither stoop down to answer them nor let them influence you. Stay proud and high as the moon did and carry on your work. Soon, they will cease to exist.”

They both looked up at the moon which was glowing brightly and watched its beauty for a minute before they flew away together.