The leafless branches of two tall and erect trees remind me of 1990 Satyajit Ray’s Bengali film Sankha Proshakha (Branches of a Tree). The film poignantly pairs the selfless love of a worthless son for his dying father with the three other corrupt and apparently successful sons of an ageing patriarch. The honest father is grieved to learn about the corrupt ways of his sons who have drifted apart for brighter prospects. The film’s portrayal of this slice of life is touching and sticks true to man’s perpetual struggle of trying to become a human.
The birds will leave the nest but for human beings the value of relationships is strong and highly revered. Although the trees are bare, their roots are firmly in the ground. It is the parents who instil the right values in their children. As they grow the dependency on parents lessen. They don’t ask for a glass of water as they can themselves have one. Most often for higher studies and better prospects they move away from their cosy nest. Going out of the home town to other states or other countries have become a common phenomenon. As they settle in their respective places very few of them return. The lucrative lifestyle and monetary benefits cannot be evaded. The parents, if feasible, often visit their children. However, they are happy to be within their circles. The frequent journey for both the parents and the children soon become burdensome owing to age and health and responsibilities respectively.
Anita Desai’s A Devoted Son can be called to the mind. From my personal experience I can say such ‘devoted sons’ are unworthy and suffocating for the parents. The love and duties of the children are just eyewash. Their megalomaniac nature does not allow them to notice the helplessness and the silent tears of their parents. They openly blame, abuse and refuse their own parents. Despite suffering they only want them to be good and happy. The parents leave in their due time. Sometimes their forever departure opens their eyes. There is a popular Bengali song ‘old age home’ I cannot but miss bringing it here. How the parents still wish their children a ceiling fan in their old age homes in the future!
Since the roots of the trees are still deep inside the ground there is a promise for the trees to go lush green. The winter or the fall-autumn is a part of the natural cycle. Sometimes the wait is rewarding. The fresh new leaves appear in the form of grandchildren. However, most often the wait is futile, similar to Waiting for Godot. Need a proof? The old age homes are lavishly carrying out their business.
Another angle just like the film is the children diverting from the morally right values to gainfully wrong ones. Often an honest person gets trapped in the Ways of the World and gets labelled as dysfunctional. Some push aside their upbringings and resort to unfair means to play safe and bring happiness to their families. This brings to my mind Sanjay Dutt starring Vaastav. Goons are not born but created by power hungry people. Often the exemplary honest parents fail but sometimes the falling of the leaves is the only acceptable reality.
The background of the twilight sky is reminiscent of Saki’s short story Dusk, revolving around deception and man’s inability to know what is there in the hearts of people. This is very much true to our times as well. I often wish I could read minds so as to prevent many disasters and keeping me sane. I fail to use sweetened and pleasing words. Either I say less or I speak what is what.
The disillusionment of man has been further triggered by social media. The need for an impressive show before others has made man more prone to material luxuries. Today Mother’s Day or Women’s Day is so much hyped and glorified, almost to a stifling one. Instead of celebrating one single day – mainly for likes and flattering comments, the true spirit of celebration lies in accepting a woman as a human being, and that can happen any day and even throughout the year. Also, it has become almost mandatory to pose for photos meant to be uploaded on the social platform – be it couple, tours and what not. I would be eagerly waiting for photos related to bad phase of our lives – like death, a bad divorce, harassment. The more this tendency the more the frustration and the stress.
Going by the rise of the paedophiles nobody can be easily trusted. Once you trust he will be sure to break it as the time comes. The schools, usually referred to as the second homes are increasingly becoming unsafe. Even the familiar faces are monsters in disguise. The children are duped into unfair trades, crimes and tortures.
SO now, I feel there is therefore a huge connection between parenthood and this picture. We try to provide the best to our children – be it clothes, food or values. There are women who digest verbal and physical abuse just for the sake of their children. Yet we cannot carpet the entire world; we can only fetch them right pair of shoes. It therefore becomes important for the parents to teach them the reality. Every human being is a shade of grey; we have faults. However, we must accept each other with open arms. The fight should be with the hidden villain in a human being. It is only when things go extreme that we should be attacking and revolting. Hence, before jumping to a conclusion we must understand the other perspective – the 9-6 one. Life is usually simple; it is we who make it complex. There would be filters and the 24*7 invisible scanners assaying our every move, every breath. The most challenging task is to patiently and calmly brushing them off and living our lives peacefully.
In this age rearing children amidst abiogenic delinquency is an operose task. The story of The Child and the Apple Tree and Happy Prince are so vivid when it comes to parenting. The parents will continue to offer their last help to save and help their children. This is draining yet it reflects purest form of love.
Hence, the conclusion is this: the barren trees or the dusk, ‘the hour of the defeated’ do not depict the dead end. A prayerful soul looking only at the sunlight can definitely sail through the defeating hours with hope. Parenting is a difficult journey but it is surely exciting and adventurous and becomes more comfortable when we cut down the weight of expectations from our successive generations. Expectations block happiness and self-respect without which no human being can thrive.
This post is a part of Blog Birthday Celebrations contest hosted by Zainab and Geethica.