Thursday, December 8, 2016

The guardian

View from outside the door

 As I step out of the house after running all over the place to gather things, breakfast in one hand, a bag in another, and fretting about the morning status call that I am getting late to, I see it. Calm and composed. Steady and firm. It instantly eases me down. I feel the warmth of its embrace and almost hear its encouraging whispers. Its there, watching us live our lives. Silently. Unconditionally.

There is something about the unwavering presence of a large bounteous tree that re-instills faith in me, in the people and in this world. When I pass under its shade when coming back home, or when I am lazily strolling nearby, watching the geese family quacking merrily under its cover, I am reminded of my blessings and of the people who make it happen. Maybe because its just like those people. Not much ado. No bold promises. No loud declarations. Just silent assurances. They exist around you, like the air, like this tree, helping you breathe. Helping you live. For some it is God. For me its the two men in my life. I think this tree is a reminder of them. And an inspiration to be that tree for someone.

To be a Guardian.

Talking of guardians reminds me of Ajji and the culture of elderly presence in Indian households. Grandmas and Grandpas. Their wisdom, knowledge and old-fashioned charisma is in a way essential to keep the family values from dying. My family was once brimming with septuagenarians. Any wedding, and the first row was dotted with silver-haired heads. My cousin often joked that that was a danger zone. That if you happened to walk past them, there was always somebody who needed water, some-busy-body with an unapologetic curiosity asking penetrating questions, and if you hadn't already done, you would be obliged to touch their feet out of respect and melt in a volley of rough, awkward hugs. These were just the harmless side effects of having a generation amongst us that are a living reminder of our roots. They are the last straw that binds us as one huge family. Thanks to them, we know who our dad's uncles are, what kind of relationship they shared and what it took to keep them all together.

The number of silver-haired heads are getting fewer and fewer with passing years. And it scares me that one day, the remainder of us will just disintegrate and fade without our kids ever knowing who we grew up with and what our families looked like.

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