August 23, 2009


The autorickshaw driver might dream about buying a Nano. The slum dweller might dream about a small house made of bricks where he and his family would not get wet when it rains. The rich person living in a posh house with a garden might dream about growing that exotic plant, or owning a BMW. Just as there are as many realities as there are people, there must be as many kinds of dreams as there are realities.

I dream of justice. Many years ago, my family of gentle, genteel people were cheated out of a beautiful old house by a cunning builder. We faced tragedy and disappointment, we were denied what was rightfully ours. We have been living in a flat on that very land, trying to forget what happened, and getting on with our lives, putting the past behind us. Our children, who never saw the old house say once in a while, "Oh, we could have had beautiful birthday parties in the old house...why did all this happen?"

Many trees were cut down when the old house was replaced with this complex. With heavy hearts we allowed it to happen. But to the left of the building, there were still some trees remaining when we moved here...huge, old trees, one Alphonso and three sapota trees, all bearing the tastiest fruit one would ever find...and tender memories going back a few generations, associated with them. We could still see the birds and the bats from our balcony, and hear the insects at night. Then one day, a few years back, the axe got them too, and soon they were gone, leaving behind stumps, and some more memories.

The pain will never go away. The agony of what could have been gnaws me time and again. Others in the family are luckily more philosophical and spiritual, and believe that perhaps it was meant to be this way. But I am still angry and restless on and off.

Now suddenly an opportunity to do something in the place where the mango and sapota trees had been (last year this time, this had seemed impossible). I waited and watched, hesitated a great deal, and today, I put forward one little step. I got some saplings to plant there, of my choice---tree jasmine, cordia, tulip tree, tabebuia, sampange (the old house had one). Maybe I'll get a bakula too.

To me the planting of a tree represents hope.

A minute part of a dusty old dream is returning, and I tread very cautiously towards making it happen.

But I am afraid of this dream.


Vasudeva Siruguri said...

Nice post. Wistful memories.

Sadhana Ramchander said...

Thanks. I am happy I lived in Big House with you all.

Anonymous said...

Very touchy and artistically presented. You still have a dream house with bamboo and teak growth among other.

Blogavatar said...

Big House lives on cos it's as big as the hearts that lived in it! Great essay, Sadhana. May your trees grow and outlast axe and man.

Sadhana Ramchander said...

Thanks, Vamsee, for your touching comment.

Sadhana Ramchander said...

Mom: Yes, of course...thank God for Ratnakara.

farida said...

Sadhana,your memories are so touching. am sure the trees yu have planted will florish and add to newer happier memories.

Sadhana Ramchander said...

Thank you, Sneha.