Rolled Monk

Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Under the shade

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

The wind blowing slowly awoke the leaves out of their slumber. They rustled gently. It was not a great disturbance mind you, but the noise was enough to shake Raman out of his reverie. He got up from his rest beneath the tree and after a few minutes of thought went out into the sun.

There’s always something beautiful about going into the sun after resting under the shade of a tree. When the mind is idle, the thoughts flow in and out, creating various confusing puddles, distorting the senses, deluding  one on what course of action to take. But once you stop being idle, once you get up and start walking and once you feel those rays of the sun hitting you on your forehead, all confusion vanishes. You have some purpose. The soothing effect you get for the first two or three minutes after the transition has no equal. It is when your mind is at its clearest. It is when your potential for epiphanies reaches its maximum.

Raman had a vision. It was not a solution to any of his problems. In fact, it seemed more like a new problem. The difference was that it seemed he might actually enjoy solving this one. Under the shade of the tree, he had been thinking of saving up enough money for his daughter’s marriage. This current job of a cowherd wasn’t going to be enough to see through her life.

One could argue that she was only four years old and he was planning way ahead. But that is how some people were. They wanted to chalk out a course of action right at the beginning and account for any possible bumps along the ride. ‘I will ask the headman for a loan of ten thousand’ he thought. ‘I will get the money, go to the city and set up a small shop and see how that works out for me.’

The cool shade and a complete silence due to the lack of even the slightest trace of wind had started to take their effects on Raman. He was feeling drowsier by the minute and the more he thought about this idea, in his sleepy state, the better it seemed. It was one of those cinematic moments. He saw his shop growing into a chain of shops, each expanding and himself becoming a very rich and wealthy person. He drove around the city in huge cars and his family was amongst the most respected in town.

It was a good thing Raman was illiterate because even the slightest amount of education will discourage a man from pursuing such a wild dream. With education comes insecurity. At some point in our lives, we all just settle down. We become more scared of change and we stop questioning things telling ourselves that everything is alright. Not an uneducated man. He takes risks. He doesn’t have discipline beaten down into him. He isn’t ridden with constant thoughts of failure. He pursues his dreams for he is free from the bonds of education and even freer from the constant need to compare himself with his fellow man. He doesn’t care about what is possible or impossible because he doesn’t really know. And knowing something is impossible or far-fetched makes it more impossible and far-fetched than it actually is. Therefore, when he wakes up from this dream of his at a later part in this tale, he would have made up his mind to become rich. The one-song-rags-to-riches-dream had conquered him.

It was then that his daughter fell in love. Some part of him knew it was a dream but even then his parental instinct was against the idea of love. The dream lover of his daughter, literally in this case, was a handsome fellow. Not rich enough though. ‘He doesn’t have the status to become my son-in-law’, Raman bellowed to his daughter. But he was powerless against love. It prevailed and the daughter got her way.

It was exactly then that the rustle we had discussed during the beginning rustled Raman up.

‘Ungrateful hag’, he thought to himself still not completely recovered from the dream. For a few moments, he sat there pondering. ‘It is for her that I am planning to undertake this arduous journey of mine. It is for her life that I want to earn money. If she was going to have her own way in the end, why not let her be? Why should I struggle? ’ were a few of his first thoughts.

He then chided himself for taking the dream so seriously. ‘It is not like I am rich or I will even become rich. But it is a nice possibility and if she were to run away anyway, I shall not give her a single rupee of my wealth.’ he told himself. He then got up and decided to go to the headman and ask him for a loan. He walked out into the sun.

It was now that he had the vision. It was a girl going to school. It was his daughter clad in a fresh white-and-white uniform running away from her mother happily with a bag slung on her shoulders into the school. It looked beautiful. For the next one minute, he thought about how great it would be if used the money to send her to the school in the nearest town instead of going to the city and embarking on a completely new life.

After giving it some thought, he realized that this was the best course of action to take. He went to his headman got the money, haggled on the interest for a bit, and went home. He told his wife what he planned to do and she did not seem happy in the least bit. ‘A young girl needs to learn how to do the chores. Why should she study? So that she can look down upon us and run away?’

He tried to convince his wife but it was futile.

One week later, Raman arrived at the Chennai central station, one of the million souls who come here everyday to make their dreams a reality, sometimes leaving behind greener pastures in the process.