Dried Leaves

Sam was sitting on the bench in a nearby park to his house, engrossed and pensive, recollecting something from the past. He knows exactly that dwelling in the past and be contemplative on circumstances do not necessarily change ones emotional status. If the tendency of a person is not to see rationally and objectively about the past incidences but to go rather deeper into the sad and depressed cycle of emotional crunches, could make ones state of mind worst. He realises that soon and tries to close his thoughts about the past and pulls himself back into present moment. It was a nice evening, around one hour before the sunset.  The breeze was gentle. Sam observed that the breeze is taking away melancholic effects, with the continuous flow, which stayed back on his face for being ruminative and pensive for a long time. He was getting more aware of his surroundings. Some dried leaves were playing with his feet: going from the sides, from the top of his shoes, sometimes moving slowly and sometimes fast. These happenings raised some unknown interest in him. Now, for Sam, it seems as if the leaves were dancing, laughing, cuddling, racing, running, talking to each other and furthermore to him. Such thoughts made Sam suddenly happy. He did not try to look for the reasons of his unexpected happiness. He was enjoying the moment, nothing more. He notices that no leaves were staying near to his feet for long. They were playing with his feet for a short time and then would move ahead with, what came earlier into his mind, dancing, laughing, cuddling, racing, running, talking while going away from him. Suddenly a thought struck him, the past incidences he was dwelling into, had their moments and now he should let them dry and let go, such as these leaves. Drying the incidences, he means moving on from the emotions connected and associated with the incidences. A wise person should not provide any encouragement for emotional attachment to past incidences to keep them fresh and alive. Otherwise the incidences will keep inflicting the same effects of pain and suffering as they did for the first time. A person should learn how to live those incidences completely, learn from the emotions engendered by the incidences, appreciate those emotions, then let go generously and easily and move on.


The sun was about to set now. Amber in the sky was nicely spread giving a soothing view and relaxed ambience. With this milieu, Sam suddenly gets a flash of his last meeting with Lina. The first thought that came to his mind was that Lina stood up from the chair and walks away, in irritation and frustration, out of the door of the cafe they both were sitting in. Sam goes back and recollects the whole conversation they had before Lina left the table.  It was a long two hours of discussion. Lina said in frustration, “I don’t understand why people behave strange. They are extremely friendly sometimes and become strange at others. You know Sam, I was on my way to my office this morning and I saw David in the lobby, going to his office with someone while talking. He glanced at me and quickly turned his face towards the person he was with and continued his talk”. She continued in surprise and frustration, “He didn’t even wish me. How can someone behave so rude? I make sure if I know someone and come across while walking, I make the point to wish the person, If not by words, for sure by gesture”.

Sam said, “Ah! David is a typical person. You should not think too much about that incident. He is characteristically a person who seeks attention, though he might not be aware of that, and always tries to be on top. This makes such person apathetic and rude in certain situations”. Lina said, this time with a slight trace of anger and aggression, “It is not the first time that this has happened. OK, allow me tell you this: once we were in a bar drinking and talking with our colleagues. As usual, he was the one talking most of the time. Perhaps, I should say that he was the only one speaking, instead of talking. We were talking about a book where a protagonist suffers with an unreciprocated love. Christine was also with us. She said, oh! I feel so sorry about this guy. I said, oh dear! Such a poor guy; the girl should have loved him. The character of the girl in the book is so complex. I could not figure why she did not appreciate the emotional inclination of this guy towards her. I will read it again to comprehend the story further. Suddenly, David said, in such books, this kind of love stories are the general style. Two crappy people would meet and then would cry on their own bullshits. I don’t understand how you guys can be fond of such books. For me, I pity people who read such books.  Then he said, in excitement and supremacy, hey! Have anyone read this book ‘Revenge of the tribes’. I have never read such a nice book before. The protagonist of the book tries to take revenge from the aliens who destroyed the whole village of his tribe. These tribes invented highly sophisticated and advanced weapons from the materials and bio-chemicals available in the forest itself. When the aliens attack the village, they were not prepared and aliens destroyed the whole village. But this guy in the book who was an underdog, you can’t imagine, found a chemical, if mixed with few explosive ingredients of their weapons, can destroy any anything completely in a fraction of seconds. He tied a small pouch of this mixture with the arrow and shoots with his mighty bow towards the alien ship. The ship shattered into pieces with huge explosion as soon as the arrow touched the surface of the ship. The excitement, thrill and action in such books are so good”. Lina continued and said, “David said everyone that we should all read this book. You see Sam; he is imposing his choices on others”.

After listening Lina, Sam said, “Lina, be more mindful and try to understand that David represents a typical category of people. Several people have same experience, as you do, interacting with him. He is strange and rude with most of the people. You should not be much disturbed about that bar incident. If you can understand that, then all his actions with strange and rude behaviour will make you laugh”. On that, Lina sniggered; “oh, yes, Mark said once that David has a peculiar notion of socialising”. “No Lina, don’t go by the specifics”, Sam said.  “Try to see and understand the broader perspective, instead”. By saying that Sam realised that, what he said might again back fire at him. Ignoring that thought, Sam continued, “If David is rude, egoist, and always tries to project himself.  You should understand the way he behaves is driven by his ingrained nature. You cannot change him because he never realises that he is being rude. I believe that after such incidences, he never gives any second thoughts about such conversations. You should know that you are the only one getting affecting, not him, by reacting to his behaviour. Actually, by reacting at his behaviour you are giving him unsolicited importance. Do you actually want to give him such importance? You will meet several people, such as David, in your life many times and you cannot afford to give your mental piece to all of them. If one could understand how a certain reaction, in the form of emotion for example anger and irritation, triggered, then the person, if wise, would know that those emotions are mostly generated by external incidences. But the reaction of the person to the incidences is in ones control. One always has a choice how to react to a particular incident or situation”.

On that Lina said, “One cannot completely avoid such incidences and if the incidences are created by the persons, such as David, then they should understand the way they are reflecting themselves on others will be the basis of others to treat them”. Sam interrupts Lina, “But I am not talking about the person or the incidences in particular, the overall picture instead”. Lina said, “I understand, but my point is that how do you separate those incidences per se which are contributing to the overall picture”. Sam could sense that the back fire he anticipated and feared about has started. Lina continued, “Many incidences together form the ‘overall picture’. Similarly various emotions, experiences, exposures, cultures and many more factors together forms behaviour of a person”. Sam said, “Yes, I agree, but the point I want to make here is that don’t focus on specifics rather see the wider angle and even more important observe your own emotions and reactions generated by the incidences. How do you behave in those incidences, will matter in the end. If you can see the comprehensive point of view, you learn to ignore many specifics which are not relevant on a broader spectrum”.

Sam knew that Lina will try to defend her point with examples of particular peoples involved in that. After few sips of coffee and silence of about a minute; on Sam’s expectation, Lina started, hiding her disagreement and slight aggression to prove her point, “Hey! Did you hear about Marjory? She was called by her boss in his office yesterday. Her boss is not happy with her performance. He said that her performance has declined in the past two months. She told me, her boss thinks that she is involved in several activities that distract her. She was awfully upset yesterday so I asked her to go out for dinner after work. You know what she told me during the dinner”. Sam thought, not again. Lina, in continuation, “she told me that her boss has a bossy nature. I was not surprised to hear that. A friend of mine, who works in the same company, had already told me the about that. I have been asking Marjory about how she is doing lately. For the past few months she usually says, ‘not bad, as usual’. But she would eagerly tell me everything earlier. How people change that easily? Can you believe that”? Sam was quiet. He nodded his head. Lina comes up a little ahead on the coffee table and says, “Marjory can be an example to explain what I wanted to say on your views. She is a nice person but she changed owing to the circumstances developed in her office by her boss. Now she is less talkative or I should say, selectively talkative. She shares fewer stories now. I think those everyday’s small incidences, in your definition specifics, in her office made her a changed person”.

Sam hides his thought; well, that is not well connected to my explanation but anyway. Sam started again, “I do not agree that she is a changed person only because of the incidences in her office. Maybe she is changed because she wanted to change, in efforts to reduce the distractions, give herself more time instead talking to others, focus more on her work and family and ignoring unnecessary stories and happenings”. Sam wanted to say that,she has stopped sharing her daily happenings with you anymore the way she would do in the past might be because she would have realised that whatever she will tell, you will say that all to others. Maybe she is tired of listening stories of others from you and she does not trust you anymore that you can keep her personal stories with yourself only”. But Sam manages to keep that thought out from the discussion. After listening to Sam, Lina asked with little anger and frustration in her tone, “do you mean to say that she is ignoring me”?  On this Sam said, with in the same tone, “this is what happens if you concentrate on the specifics and ignore the bigger picture. First of all, you always, talk about others: their life, emotions, actions, behavior. You always ignore the ‘why’? Why they behave, say or act in a particular way.  Let me tell you that I never appreciated that, you know about that because I have told you directly and indirectly both ways, several times. But you always come back with same type of talk, talks of others. I am more interested in talking about the reasoning of life happenings itself, without giving much focus on the life of others in particular. Whenever we talk or discuss about anything, you always bring someone else’s example into the conversation. Because of that I have to listen about others life. For me, it’s irritating and frustrating. Whenever you start talking about others, I always say in my mind; no, not again, please Lina don’t talk about others. But today I feel saturated and have reached plateau. Now I have to say this: In every conversation, when you have something to say about someone your mind blurts that out and fitting the specifics into the conversation. I don’t know if you realize that or not, when you are done saying stories about someone and his or her life, you feel contended. Sometimes, it seems that you are defaming them which make you contended and happy. For me this is absolutely immoral”. This was the sentence after listening to that, Lina suddenly got off the chair and left the table with half filled coffee mug on that. It has been two months to that incident, since then Lina did not try to make any contact with Sam.

The sun was completely hidden now behind the trees on the opposite shore of the lake across the park where Sam was sitting. The sky was gradually growing darker. While sitting on the bench, Sam gazes down at his feet again and saw that the dried leaves were still busy in dancing, laughing, cuddling, racing, running, talking to each other and to him as well. This made Sam again a little lighter in his heart and mind. Sam thinks, “These leaves once had moisture and green content which made them appear lustrous and lively. When the leaves detached from the trees they needed to spend energy to hold the moisture and green content but could not hold for long due to lack of fresh resource or energy supplies and had to comply with the passing time. After detaching from the trees, loosing moisture and green content, these leaves have become lighter, free to move anywhere, anytime without any attachment to the tree. And now it appears as if they do not regret losing their moisture and green content”. Now Sam remembers again that it has been two months without any contact with Lina. Suddenly he had a smile on his lips, he couldn’t understand completely why. But he felt that his thoughts and emotions associated with the last meeting with Lina, which were constantly floating around him were sinking deeper and getting dissolved. He was losing association of those thoughts and emotions with pain and suffering. He felt lighter with every passing moment. The thoughts of losing them were not causing any discomfort rather, filling him with positive energy. With this positive energy, his mind turns towards exploring possible reasons of the way Lina behaved on the other day in the cafe.

In Sam’s opinion, Lina is broad minded and acceptable compared to many people. That was the first impression of Lina on Sam during the initial few meetings with her. Sam remembers, “when they started meeting and discussing on random matters and issues more openly and frequently, he noticed that Lina knows that people consider her as an open minded and acceptable person and she can testify that easily by her formal talks and discussions with others while maintaining the technicalities of being into the equations of open minded and acceptable. But deep inside she is judgemental, aggressive, condescending, a little egoist, perplex matters and argumentative”. He recollects, “He discussed about those negative bearings few times and told her that after some meetings people could notice the inner side of hers. She would node in consent few times, that yes, she has those issues. This made him believe that if she realises about those issues then there are possibilities that she will work on those issues and will be a better person. With passing days, he notices opposite inclination; Lina, instead of rising above from those issues, was increasingly indulged in the talking about others with more pleasure and satiating her inner disposition. She keeps saying that she has least interest in others life, behaviour, thinking, or action”.

“Sam noticed several times while discussing matters and issues with Lina that she was correct in many ways on certain issues and topics but she was not able to see the bigger picture. He tried to discuss and explain to help her understand the bigger picture but most of the time he did not has the type of explanation, specific examples of people and incidences, which could help Lina to understand that. This actually made him, many times, believe that she has her own way of perceiving issues and she believes in that strongly which consequently make her to argue and try to prove her points. He even felt several times that they both were arguing to prove the same point but in their own respective ways. They both were correct but they could not figure out who was more correct. And on rare times they both were wrong about certain points but again, could not figure out who was more wrong”. Sams thinks, “we were both busy making other to understand the same point”.

Sam, somehow, figured out that the conflict was happening because they both have different ways of perceiving and processing an idea. They have their own way of conveying an idea and if they have same idea and same way of conveying then the perception and processing were different. Sam churned his mind more and thinks, “It happens because of basic nature and personal inclination of the person”. He continued his thoughts, “the basic nature of the person majorly develops by the society a person grows up in or has been majorly exposed to. This indicates the possibilities that a person can change the ideas, ideologies and thought process when he or she is exposed to various ideas, people, culture and societies. Because of that, an idea or thought a person believes in can be correct during a time period might turn out to be incorrect during other time periods with changed perception and processing. The basic nature and personal inclination of a person are not completely driven by the society but also by the psyche of the thought process. Two people in a same society can have different thought process, behave differently. A person could be more influenced by a particular matter, idea, or topic but not by others while other person could be less influenced by the matter, idea, or topic but more influenced by others based on the psyche. And this influence hardens the ideas, thoughts, processing of thoughts, behaviour, personal inclination and thus, basic nature. Because of this way of thinking it is difficult for a person to change the basic nature, however, he or she could learn to talk, behave and present his or her ideas in a more acceptable manner based on the sensitivity in their surroundings”.

When Sams’ thinking reaches there, he got up off the bench and stared again at the dried leaves. He felt light, cheerful, contented and a sense of enlightenment. He starts walking towards his home while absorbing the serene evening, the breeze and hues in the sky.