Tuesday, August 31, 2010
uff... looking at the kitchen gave me another set of anxiety.
i have to move shortly into another town where my husband has just joined on a new post on promotion transfer and the thought of all that packing gives me the jitters.Yeah there are movers and packers to do the jobs for you but come to think of how deeply i am rooted to this place i felt like crying out aloud and wanting some miracle to happen.
Something like another order coming from the higher authorities giving him an option in this city itself.
And wrapping the kitchen is going to be very difficult i guess.What should i do with all the oil in the oil can...all those porcelain jars with pickles... and all that non perishable food items...if they have to be packed...or just given away.
i move like a ghost into the dark rooms, all the four rooms and take in every single item that has got to be packed and i think maybe i should give everything away.
The problem is that i have no experience whatsoever of any shifting of any sort.My husband came to Chennai which was his first posting and we have stayed put ever since just as some would say with a stroke of good luck.Of course his is a transferable post where one is required to move every 3-5 years but we were just plain lucky.All the movements that took place was within the city in the various departments.Now i feel i am rooted here.This is going to be my very first shifting and a real tough one i guess not only for my lack of experience but also for my sense of belonging here in this city.
Lucky! my foot!
Don't know why or what is the connection here that it's something past midnight and i am reminded of that poem by Gieve Patel, 'On Killing A Tree'
It takes much time to kill a tree,
Not a simple jab of knife
Will do it.
It has grown
Slowly consuming the earth,
Rising out of it, feeding
Upon it's crust, absorbing
Years of sunlight, air,water,
And out of it's leprous hide
So hack and chop
But this alone won't do it
Not so much pain will do it.
The bleeding bark will heal
And from close to the ground
Will rise curled green twigs,
Which if unchecked will expand again
To former size.
The root is to be pulled out
Out of the anchoring earth;
It is to be roped, tied,
And pulled out-snapped out
Or pulled out entirely,
Out from the earth-cave,
And the strenghth of the tree exposed,
The source, white and wet,
The most sensitive, hidden
For years inside the earth.
Then the matter
Of scorching and choking
In sun and air,
And then it is done.
Or maybe the poem was so fresh because quite recently i had revised the poem with my niece who had this poem in her ICSE syllabus and together we dug out various connotations of this poem.But i alone know that that is not it.i am thinking about the tree because...
i just feel like a tree rooted to this place. Have sprouted, absorbed and was well fed rather nourished for years.My family found all that is best here and they in turn got rooted here.i feel like an old tree with it's family all growing side by side and now this transfer feels like a hack of knife.People around me congratulate me for the much delayed promotion but i feel depressed. i feel guilty for feeling depressed cause as a wife i should be jubiliant and very happy for his promotion the aftermath of which should be this change. Change which has come after 21 years.
Was i lucky or rather unlucky for not knowing what change is like.What all goes into moving from one place into another.People tell me that change is for the good.You grow in many more ways.New surroundings, new people, their cultures and traditions not only amaze and entertain but also educate in so many ways.
So i am told but still i am unmoved.Rather i don't feel like knowing anymore.
i feel like a tree which is being shaken rudely from it's comfortable ground.The transfer feels like a rope tied which is snapping my roots one by one.
Still sitting in the balcony in the dark and watching the dark silhouettes of the huge trees in front and i get another recall... that story i saw long ago on TV.The programme on TV ' Ek Kahani ' was anchored by Manju Singh (of Bharat Ek Khoj fame and who also acted as a sister to Amol Palekar in the original Golmaal) and it featured great stories by great Indian writers but stories which were never read before or heard before.Every week there used to be this new story and this one was a translated version of a Dogri tale perhaps, i forget exactly but it was a tale of the hills.
There was a young beautiful girl who was loved and cared for by her family and when she came of age the family got her happily married to a young man who was into business but in another town.The new bride was welcomed into her new home and as was the custom she was given a gold nose ring to wear by her mother-in -law.The daughter in law should wear the nose ring given by the husband's family.This was something akin to the Mangalsutra that married women in many parts of India wear as per custom and tradition.Now the family was a happy family as the new bride soon took over her responsibilities and everything went smoothly.Within a year the bride also delivered a bonny son and since it was customary her nose ring was replaced by a slightly heavier one.She was an auspicious bride and her husband flourished in his business.As he progressed into his wealthy pursuits the poor bride had to bear the discomfort of wearing a still heavier nose ring.When it started to get painful she started fearing her husband's progress.She withered as the husband grew wealthy as he was successful in all his pursuits. He diversified his business and got success in his new venture too.But when he came home with news of his new accomplishment the poor wife with one baby tucked under her arm and another pulling at her saree started weeping silently.A face covered with a saree pallu with tears falling down mercilessly and she finding it difficult to even wipe her runny nose because by now the nose ring was a large one and just too painful for her to bear.
The story ended with Manju Singh giving her commentary on rudimentary and painful customs and the discomforts of a girl which went unheeded even by her husband from whom she has borne two beautiful boys.
My guilt at not being happy about my husband's promotion feels something similar.It feels painful.At least for now.
Lying on my bed and still thinking about how difficult and painful it would be for a tree i ask myself if i am blessed to be a human and that i am not a tree.
For one thing transfer is more like a transplantation of sorts.Maybe if i were a tree the transplantation might have stunted me if not killed me because it is the matter of soil and climatic conditions.Now in that new place i might sprout new leaves and grow miniature boughs which perhaps will expand if left unchecked so i guess i am better placed. i guess then i should stop feeling apprehensive about this change and stop fearing what new adjustments have to be made because i am not a tree but the most resilient of all beings.
And i must count my blessings that unlike the poor girl of the hills i do not have to wear a painful and uncomfortable ornament that should proclaim my husband's fortune and success.
Before i close my eyes for a sound sleep to sneak it's way maybe i should say a prayer.
Not for myself but for the trees that are being uprooted to make way for human settlements.
Posted by shivani singh at 1:44 PM