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Thread: The Tamarind Tree (Sridevi)

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    Administrator Diamond Hubber RR's Avatar
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    The Tamarind Tree (Sridevi)

    The Tamarind Tree

    - Sridevi


    My legs are aching. I have been standing for the past twenty years in front of Manickams house. He is now a young man. When I first came here to stand, he was just learning to run faster. He would come to me and give one shake and run away. At least for another half an hour, my body would ache. I wouldnt even be able to cry as God had sealed my mouth long ago. You dont know that story isnt it, how my mouth was sealed? I will tell you.

    I am a Gandharvan. My original name is Kandeepan. I live in the lokas of the Devas. Once I was walking happily along the clouds, singing my favourite song softly, thinking of my beloved girl. Have you ever walked on the top of the clouds? It is simply great. You have to balance your foot on each cloud and carefully adjust your weight. You will not get it in a day. One needs years of practice. I was taught how to walk on the clouds by my father and not by my mother. Women are not allowed to walk on clouds in our world as they may talk too much and take away the silence of the skies. I have heard elders discussing this.

    Gaily singing along on the clouds, my lovers face came to my mind. Slowly, her entire form came to my imagination. I visualized her very clearly and wished she were with me. If only she had been with me, then I could have danced with small steps down there on those hills, I was thinking and dreaming. And then I saw her coming towards me. May be she managed to escape her mother's eye.

    She was radiant, looking every inch a great beauty she was. Her head was thick green, and her limbs were amber, pure gold. Her finger nails looked elegant and light green. She looked exquisite and gorgeous. There was a song on her lips too. I heard it. It was a love song. I was thrilled. I ran and held on to her tightly that she began objecting.

    Her voice was slightly different than usual but I had no time to think. I began kissing her. And then suddenly I was pushed so hard with the brutal strength of a man, and I fell down losing my balance, right down on the rocks. I opened my eyes and saw the great God himself standing on the clouds with lightening in his eyes and thunder in his voice.

    Have you gone mad Kandeepan? Why did you hold me like that, without any respect, whatsoever? How dare you kiss me?", he said, wiping his face with his hands in disgust.

    Now, you would have understood what had happened. The form that came near me was not my girlfriend, but God himself. What a fool I must have been! You know, Gods, when they get angry, they become very severe. The God cursed me.

    You were like a piece of wood without any feeling, and did not realize that it was me. Therefore you will lose your capacity to talk and move, and have lovers. You will go to earth and stand in front of Manickams house for twenty years as a tamarind tree.

    I got terrified and fell down at his feet, asking for forgiveness. He melted of course seeing my tears, but the gods themselves cannot undo whatever has been said.

    So, He said, "Don't worry. This is your fate. In your destiny, it is pre-written that you should live in the earth for twenty human years. Even I cannot break it. Your behaviour today is also pre-destined. Who can escape the law of fate? I will see to it that you come back to the heavens after your exile for twenty years".

    God put my soul inside a tamarind seed and threw it in front of Manickams house and brought a mild shower immediately. He only took away my ability to walk or move around. He did not take away my ability to see, feel or think. I stand here like a statue. Do you know how difficult it is to do so?

    The next day the sun looked at me, understood my situation and gave me some special light and I started growing the third day. The family saw me growing steadily and Manickam's mother began pouring a special water everyday. She would sprinkle water mixed with cow dung on the little space of ground in front of the house, and then the rest of the same would be thrown on me every morning even before the sun rose.

    The first day, I was very upset about the treatment. Later from learned men like Narathar who came enquiring about my health, I came to know about the sacredness of the cow dung, and started feeling honoured.

    Do you know a man who even tastes the cow dung can live for immortal number of years in the heaven? The cow dung did a lot of good to my body too. My leaves came out fresh and green. My stem put on weight like a woman after delivering a child, when given good food and rest. The breeze became cooler when he touched me as I have the special touch of gentleness to make any thing cool.

    Time really moved fast. Standing in the same place for years together, my feet are now rooted to the ground. I have become familiar with the local customs and traditions. When Manickams second sister attained puberty, I saw her being given a bath with neem leaves and turmeric powder. I saw a newborn child being given some special juice of crystallized palm jaggery and dry grapes. The child gurgled and drank it slowly as it got used to the new taste.

    I know many secrets too. Manickam's eldest sister Kamakshi was always looking at her cousin Mohan of the same age. She was ready for marriage and looked grown up enough to become a mother. But her parents were bent upon sending her to a school to study. Her mind wandered into something else. Her eyes followed Mohan everywhere, whenever he came home. Unfortunately he never noticed.

    But I noticed innumerable new things like smiles at doorsteps with expectation in eyes, long sighs, dreams for future, floatings in air and tears in the night. She never discussed these matters of the heart to any one. Only she and other species around her like the squirrel next door, the myna that came for food, the crow that had its lunch in their house everyday and the hens that were moving around constantly unable to rest, heard Kamakshi's soul and body longing for a companion.

    Time kept its schedule on the moving path. When that boy Mohan left for the city, Kamakshi forgot him quite fast and started looking at another boy, slightly older than her. This boy responded equally quite fast and her smiles were responded immediately. It soon followed with slight touches and brushings here and there. I don't know if the boy was serious about this as I saw him doing the same things to another giggling girl in the house next door.

    Later I understood something bad must have happened. One day Kamakshi's body was found inside the local well.

    Any way life continued with full speed around me. When will my time come to leave this earth where nothing seems to be certain? The twentieth year will be over tomorrow. My time has come to leave. My penance will be over. How do I get back to heaven? I dont know. I have been praying to God for these twenty years to relieve me from my sins.

    Wait. Someone is talking about me to Manickams father. Let me listen.

    You should cut this tree down. It brings misfortune. Thats why you have been having a series of problems in your house. No body told you before Why, I myself deal with the sale of firewood. . No. No. This tree will not fetch a good price. I am ready to cut this for you because you are known to me. No one else will buy it from you. You know, last month I saw a similar tree in front of another friends house and I told him to bring it down. He listened to me, smart man he is and immediately, I think within a week his daughters marriage got fixed. Now whenever he sees me he thanks me profusely. Even you will realize after cutting this tree your troubles will be over.

    - * - * -

    From the clouds when I look down I see the house of Manickam standing alone without my presence. The squirrel has found other friends. The hens really missed me, as they had no tree around with branches comfortably stooping down so that they could climb the branches to rest in night.

    Manickams mother has found out a new place to throw the balance cow dung water - a neem sapling.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Platinum Hubber pavalamani pragasam's Avatar
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    An interesting & imaginative story with lots of worldly wisdom sprinkled throughout!
    Eager to watch the trends of the world & to nurture in the youth who carry the future world on their shoulders a right sense of values.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Diamond Hubber
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    very well written...

    whats, whos gandharvan?
    Anbe Sivam

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