It was just another day. As a matter of habit, I paused at the window. A strange pull beckoned me with open arms. I pushed open the window to let the fresh whiff of air in. I wanted to breathe in and take in the view of what lay ahead. I stuck my head out a teeny bit to check if my nose could find what I was looking for or if any of my senses could capture something in that nothingness of air. I stood there, waiting for the magic to unfold. I looked around, twiddled with my fingers and scanned the space. I wanted something very badly. I needed it. I craved for it. My heart could have crashed any time leaving me feeling the ache of the fine debris inside.
My lips trembled and my eyes were on my feet. I had hoped for something. I had been certain that along with the stream of the fresh golden rays, I would see a pleasant sight of dew drops on leaves and the flower heads would smile as they tossed their heads. I had imagined the familiar chirp of sparrows and bulbuls. Most of all, I longed for the whiff of fresh air that would sweep my face and wipe out every crease of worry from my brow. How I had wished!
The past few weeks have been trying to say the least. I was feeling hopeless and my heart was miserable. I was looking for answers in many places — Watching the ants crawl into holes, hoping for the bees to build a home, willing and rooting for the seeds to find a way to sprout — I worked diligently. Most of the bees buzzed away, the carpenter bees hovered over the tree saps and then made their homes someplace else and the seeds sat resolutely without a stir. “You too?”, I sighed at the seeds one evening. I had visualised a green life with leaves that smiled gloriously against the sunlight. “You found a way even through a plastic sandal”, I choked. My thoughts lingered on the flash of memory from a few years ago.
It was during one of our trips to Southern India. I remember that day like a picture postcard. We were walking along the beach watching our footsteps wash away. The air was fresh and the sunset was glorious. It was at the moment that we had found the footwear. It was old and ragged and stuck inside the sand. But what was surprising was the little plant that had sprouted from the side.
“This can’t be”, my son had said. “But it is”, I had chuckled. “How is that even possible?”, we all had wondered. But, life had found a way in that abandoned slipper. As the memory flooded in, my heart lost the vigour at the sight of those unmoved bunch of seeds.
My heart full of hope was dwindling at rapid speed and I knew I needed a refill. Naturally, that morning, when my heart whispered I could find hope in the freshness of air and in the sights that could appear, I had believed in those signals. My eyes gazed at my toes as they curled and made funny patterns on the floor. I shook my head and looked up to close the window back. I was almost angry. My fingers fumbled on the handle and I bit my lips when my eyes caught the first glimpse of the white dot on the crown of the tree. “Is it true?”, I mumbled. I quickly opened the window further and stood on my toes. There it was — the first blooms of the Indian Cork Tree speckled over the top and sitting smugly in a neat cluster. My heart pounded with delight. Yes. Here, they are — the first blooms of the season. I took a deep breath in and a whiff of fresh air filled my soul with all the beauty and hope I needed. Sometimes, we cannot just look for hope, we have to search for it — even if they hide on top of the tree! —
Sudha Subramanian is an author and writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman