By Sushant Thapa
The guava tree always stood in seclusion. The lemon tree also grew beside it. The potential of the lemon tree was curbed by the sharpness of its thorns. Jubilant children did not care about thorns on the lemon tree and swung beside it on the guava tree where their swing was attached. The potential of children was one thing and that of a tree with respect to its thorn was another. Ah! The sharpening of the senses and the sharpening of thorns, two things related in Nature, but created differently by Nature for two different subjects. Still, children cherished the playful act of swinging from a tree.
The tree that stood in seclusion was not at all alone because children visited it regularly. Had the children not cared to visit the tree, it would have remained alone. The thorny tree was also not lonely because it stood beside the guava tree and children visited the guava tree as their swing was attached to it. Every day they visited the guava tree after school. It was their place of recreation. They embraced the joy present in the air around the tree. The tree welcomed them with its spaciousness. The lemon tree was the only thing that occupied space and interfered with the space for children to play. The children were not able to climb or swing on it because of its thorns.
The children visited the guava tree every day after four in the afternoon. Manu was among those youngsters. He was a shy lad. He didn’t talk much in school. He occupied small space in the library while he visited, and sat with his books. Ideas and words went above his head. He sat with his vacant mind in the vastness of the library. His mind dwelt around the guava tree and its spaciousness which was very lively for him in comparison to the sedate, quiet library. He liked the vastness and liveliness around the guava tree.
Manu dwelt happily on the secluded space of the orchard where those trees stood. Sometimes, he used to swing alone at the fall of dusk. He found himself even in the aloofness. The tree caught and captured his scattered self and he always felt himself to be slightly amassed when he was near it. Loneliness did not occupy any space near those trees, especially near the guava tree. Manu did not feel vacant at all; such was the ambience and the feeling, the feeling of personal space, in the vastness of nature. His heart and mind were occupied in that playful act of swinging on a tree. The freshness of the air and invigorating atmosphere made him feel lively. He did not feel alone. He was present in the wholeness of the space. He kept swinging on the guava tree beside the lemon tree, without caring about thorns of the lemon tree.
Eventually, he was able to make few friends. His shyness gave way while he played. After all, life in the orchard was not bad at all. Even beside the thorny lemon tree, goodness prevailed. Yes, the guava tree always stood there in its seclusion like in the beginning of the story.
Sushant Thapa is a recent post-graduate in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. His short story “The Glass Slate” has been published in Kitaab.org from Singapore. His poems and essays have been published in Republica daily from Kathmandu. His short stories and poems have also been published by The Writers’ Club, New Jersey, United States. He revels in rock music, poetry, books and movies from his home in Biratnagar, Nepal.