Some things are just so constant in life, you think it will always be there.
Like your parent’s love, like your child’s touch, like the beauty around you… always there!
There was a mini forest that grew right next to my house. The one that my grandfather had planted with so much love and patience. All I had to do was look out the window, and I could see that forest.
On a whim I could walk through those trees.
In fact, I HAD to walk through them every day – to go to our ancestral home where my aunt lived.
My Appachan, as I called my grandfather, was a quiet man.
He had a face that was filled with love and grace…and an ever-present smile…One of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen.
He would pick fruits and peppercorns while walking through those trees, and come home brandishing them - as if they were some priceless gifts!
Every so often he would take me and my brother along and point out and name each tree, each fruit, and the birds there.
But I never bothered to learn the names of those trees. I never gave more than a perfunctory look when he showed all those sights to me.
For me they were JUST THERE. All the time! So why would I bother to learn more about that when I had newer and more exciting things to look at?
As I grew older and my aunt moved away, I didn’t have many reasons to walk through that grove as there was no one waiting on the other side.
Then my Appachan passed away.
I missed him a lot, but even then, I didn’t really think about those trees.
Then I got married and relocated to Bangalore…where even newer and exciting things waited for me.
On my trips back home, I would spend hours watching the rain fall on those trees. My eyes would follow those water drops as they flowed along the leaves, and then finally drop to the ground with a very faint thud. It was my meditation.
Suddenly, one day while I was in Bangalore, I came to know that the piece of land on which those trees stood had been sold. And the trees had been cut down.
And just like that, those trees ceased to be the constant in my life!
I felt bad when I heard the news. But as the day passed, the depth of my sadness just kept on increasing.
The helplessness I felt, the realization that I wouldn’t even get to say goodbye. That I wouldn’t ever be able to walk through those trees, hearing Appachan’s voice in my head.
For me, those trees symbolize my grandfather’s love.
All these years the trees might have missed me. They might have been waiting for me. My Appachan and his love might have been waiting for me…
But I never went. I just admired from afar.
I could never articulate to anyone exactly what I was feeling. The regrets I had, the things I missed.
I had never taken my little daughter for a walk through those trees. I never introduced her to my Appachan and his forest. I don’t know what I was waiting for.
I can still see him standing there and waving at me with that beautiful smile of his. To this day, I can’t go past a tree laden with peppercorns and not think of him. I wish I had one more chance…I wish…
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Make sure you pass on your parent’s and grandparent’s legacy to your children. It is such a rich legacy! And no one in this world can do it better than you!
Don’t wait anymore. Your Appachan must be waiting for you too…