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conscious, unconscious


There was a tree, a lonely one, neglected by her kinds, abandoned even by birds. For she was a sinner.
She didn’t sin on her own, but she aided others in sinning, that was her fault, they say. She tried to tell others she was no sinner… it was a pure accident that she was born in this spot, but others won’t listen to her.
When the spring comes, and all of them blossom in myriad of colours, her mind also leaps in joy, she blossoms too. She offers her red flowers to the existence, spread her red arms for the bees to carry her essence to someone, someone who she can claim to be her lover. But the bees ignore her. The cuckoo won’t coo in her branches, the little birdies won’t tweet.
And the time passes by silently. She sheds her offering, wrinkles on her body, she shrivels and closes her eyes in pain. Her ornaments discarded away, she tears her clothes too … the leaves fall, she stands sad, stark naked, a skeleton.
Yet, she forgets her disappointment and blossoms again in the next spring.  She dresses up in green, adorns herself with her ornaments once again and hopes that finally she will be mated with someone, someone who she can call her lover.
Yet again bees ignore her, birds don’t tweet, the cuckoo won’t coo. Not only they are unwilling in helping her find her mate, they don’t want to mate too in these accursed branches of hers. For she is a sinner.
She casts a glance at her trunks. Tears wells up in her eyes watching the new set of goats tied to her trunk. The creatures stand there – stunned. They stare in utter horror at the body of one of their friends hanging from the hook while the man who slit its throat a while back chops pieces of flesh from it.
They know the same fate awaits them. The youngest of them, just six months old and still immature, bleats out in fear. It searches for the mother … and some comfort from the absurd realities of this cruel world.
It tries to break free of the rope tied in its neck, but the rope is too strong and its neck too weak and the accursed tree won’t fall.
With every pull felt on her trunk, the tree cries out. She wants to fall at every pull, she wants to let the baby go, let wings be on his side, let him fly away. But she can’t do anything, her feet are tied to the earth, she can’t move an inch from her base. Trees don’t know how to commit suicide, but in moments like this she wants to die.
The butcher, she knows her for the last thirty years, ever since she was just a sapling, is efficient in his job. He moves his knife with an expressionless face. Every time he drags a poor animal and the creature cries out loud knowing the inevitability of its fate and the hopelessness of the situation, the tree’s heart starts pumping loudly. The environment gets filled with anguish; the sleeping ones walking on the road could hear the goat’s bleating while the awakened ones, the spirits, could hear the tree crying out too. She had given shelter to the unfortunate animal she had offered her barks for him to chew on. There was a brief connection between the souls. She had the illusion of a family.
She weeps silently, that’s her only protest. She wants to die at those moments.
Yet, when the butcher trains his knife on the throat and she sees the four legs kicking the air, she goes numb. A terrible fear, like a devil sitting on her chest, freezes her. “I want to live, I want to live! Don’t kill me like this, I don’t want to die,” she pleads to the butcher, to everyone around – to the existence.


One day she saw Rehman, the butcher, quarrelling with some people in front of his shop. They had strange instruments and lots of papers.
The next day she noticed Rehman among other shop owners sitting on the middle of the road. They won’t let any vehicle pass. They were protesting something. All the shops in the area were closed. There were no goats tied to her trunk. She could breathe easy.
She saw some uniformed people with sticks and guns dispersing Rehman’s crowd. Rehman was hit on the head, he was bleeding profusely. She felt herself melting at the sight of Rehman crying. He was her old friend. They know each other for thirty years. Rehman was a boy then when he opened the shop. He is now a tired man approaching old age. Rehman is her family, her only permanent family, her brother. She wept too.
Some strange machines came and flattened the shops after some day. Rehman’s was a weak establishment, just a small blow was enough to wipe it off from the face of this world. Rehman saw it with sunken eyes, bandage in his head.
He sat there till evening, caressing the broken bricks of his shop. With darkness settled he prepared to leave. He came silently to the tree and hugged her. He caressed her trunk. Both souls communicated with each other, they will never meet again. Rehman left. The ghosts of the goats left with him.
They were widening the road. Now they were felling trees, the humble ones, the arrogant ones, ones that would look at her in disgust even moments before their death.
Now the woodcutter came to her. It’s her turn now to die.
It reminded her of the goats, she stopped breathing at the sight of the shining axe. No! I don’t want to die! No, no, no… !
She hollered. The spirits moved around disturbed, they were in anguish too. The sleeping ones didn’t pay any heed. Life went on.
She tried to run past, but the rope that tied her to the earth was too strong, she was too weak and the there was no earthquake. The earth was aiding them in her murder.



It had rained the previous night. The first rain of the season. A strange motherly smell engulfed the whole world. But it was getting hotter now in the day. And the woodcutter is not in a hurry to kill her. They were stuck in some paperwork.
But then all was sorted out. The killer swung his axe … she closed her eyes.
She felt the sharpness of the iron in her trunk. She grimaced in pain. She looked down at her murderer with blank eyes. The man had halted for some reason. She came back in her senses. That's it? This is what death is? Just this? It's so easy! All then is just the fear of it. Bring it on!
She wanted to see her death with eyes wide open. It was a new game, a new revelation. Death was standing naked in front of her, finally stripped of its dignity and ashamed at her smirk.

The old man was tired, he had chopped a big mahogany tree in the morning and was now sweating after two blows on her. His face was like her trunks, shriveled, wrinkled, tired. His lips were dry.
There was still some water left in her leaves. She had preserved them, hidden the drops from sun inside her carefully folded leaves, inside the buds and the small cracks in her branches. She always liked water.
The third blow exhausted the old man. Looking at the dark spindly body, spines jutting out beneath sun-tanned skin, she was filled with a motherly love.
She shook herself and let the cold droplets fall on the old man, “be well!” she whispered.
The man looked up, pleased.
Two souls met, he thanked her. She smiled kindly, the spirits round danced.
A cuckoo sat on her trees and cooed … and the little birds followed and filled the air with their tweets. 

Comments

susan said…
An interesting thing about miracles is that often they are too subtle to catch the attention. Your beautiful and inspiring stories have a quiet power that inspires me.
ghetufool said…
Hello Susan,

Thank you for dropping by. Welcome!
The compliment, coming from an artist like you, means a lot to me, to say the least. Thank you!

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