Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mother's Bedtime Story

Last night, after a hard day’s work, I went back home to Mother.
Laying my head in her lap I said, 
“Mother, tell me one of your bedtime stories.”

Stroking my hair gently, she said,
“Hush now. Go to sleep. It’s late already.”
But the child that I was, I insisted.
So she began.

“My child,
This is a story about you.
And you’ve heard it before.
But I’m sure you’ll enjoy listening again.”

I nodded quietly, already hushed into silence.
I was in awe of her, every time she began talking.

“This is the story of a Forest far, far away.
Now, this Forest was a perfect land.
Mind you, there is nothing absolutely perfect in this world.
But that Forest was…”

I listened, and my eyes opened wide with wonder.
I tried hard to imagine what a perfect land would be like.
Mother paused for a moment, and then continued,

“The morning sun rose to the far-away chirping of little birds,
High in the tall trees, snuggled together in their nests.
The rays were a soft golden-yellow,
And sparkled when they touched the dew drops
Hanging at the edge of the pointed leaves.

Sometime later, a cool wind started blowing slowly,
Shaking the green trees from their night-long slumber
And they stretched themselves awake,
As if waiting for this very moment

Down on the ground, far below the sky
Was the moist, brown earth held together by trees
Standing tall for centuries

The foliage of stems and leaves was so thick
That sunlight barely ever touched the ground

A gentle stream gurgled by,
Making perhaps the only sound in the Forest at this hour,
As clear water splashed into a pond,
And animals, small and large,
Came by for a drink early in the morn…”

I stopped breathing,
Lost in the poetry of this land

Indeed, this was a perfect Forest.
What could possibly go wrong?

What was this Story about?
And how was it My Story?

“But then something happened that day.
Something that changed that perfect Forest for ever…” continued Mother.

“You came there.
You came there with your large, noise-making machines and tree-cutting vehicles.
You mowed down the trees as if they were but clumps of grass.
You burned down the homes of these creatures as if they were but bundles of hay.”

“In moments, their perfect world shattered.” said Mother,
Her voice trembling slightly,
And eyes beginning to mist with heavy tears,

“Eggs dropped down to the ground in hundreds,
And little unborn birds were killed before they could see the light of day.
Little monkeys scurried about, scratching their heads,
Wondering where the branches had all gone.
Two young deer that had been gamboling about,
Were suddenly appalled to see an army of Men at their doorstep

The little stream dried up in days,
Leaves turned cracked and yellow and fell to the ground,
The brown, muddy earth was covered with the bones of large animals,
And flies, ants and vultures finished off the remains

“This is the story of a Forest far, far away.
Now, this Forest was a perfect land.
Mind you, there is nothing absolutely perfect in this world.
But that Forest was…”

“But today,
It is just a clearing at the edge of a city,
Growing larger and larger by the day

The only sign of a Forest that once was,
As perfect as it was,
Is a lone bird that flies to the edge of the clearing,
Every two or three days,
Wondering whether all this really happened,
 Or it was just a terrible dream.”

“But, my son, to tell you the truth,
This really happened.

This is happening right now, as I speak.
And this will continue to happen,
If you go to sleep now,
And don’t wake up.

This is a real story.
What are you going to do about it?”

Mother covered me in a blanket and was gone,
Leaving the last question hanging in the air

I lay awake all night,
Watching silver clouds drift across the moon,
And white stars playing hide and seek.

This is a story about Me.
This is a story about Us.

I’m sure we’ve heard it before,
Our Mother’s Bedtime Story...


 - Avinash Agarwal

1 comment:

  1. great ya!!!well drafted to make each one of us realise the harsh reality