By Anupam Patra
Not very long ago, I agreed to accompany my brother to our village, to attend a family ceremony. I had been evading visiting my village since a very long time. So my decision came as a matter of delight for my parents, particularly for my father who often encouraged me to stay connected with the place my ancestors had built and lived at for decades. ‘Our stories live there’ he’d often remind me. But the real reason why I decided to go was to give myself a much needed distraction from the grief of a recent personal crisis, whose details, I was in no position to share with anyone. It was a warm welcome I received that evening, on the steps of our hundred year old bungalow. At dawn, the next day, I was abruptly woken up by my cousin, who then persuaded me to go with him to the fields. My eyes were refusing to open, my body unaccustomed to waking up this early. It was a five minutes’ walk from our ancestral home, which I sluggishly undertook because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. But once I stepped onto our fields, something amazing caught hold of my will. It was in the lap of nature that I experienced this remarkably life saving feeling. I slipped out of my sandals and strolled around. When the mild, cool dew on the lively grass touched my skin, it felt as if some connection got built between my heart and the earth under my feet. It felt as if I’d woken up to a near divine sensation, I didn’t think existed before. The mist soaked sun filled my spirit with such memorable tenderness and the breeze of Brahmani pampered me like I was her child who had returned to her after ages. I plucked a wild marigold and held it close to my face, absorbing its colours, its scent and wisdom. I gathered leaves and rubbed them, turning my palm green, bathed in the smell of greenery. The birds showed an unusually high state of courage for they alighted so near to me that I felt like I had always been a part of their world. I was moved by their instant approval of my presence. I belonged to that moment, to that place and it was in that dawn I realized it for the first time. The haunting sense of emptiness, I often confronted in mornings at home, felt like a trivial memory in the midst of thousands of leaves, their slow rustle, the flight of hundreds of butterflies and songs of birds and tiny innocent insects which nibbled at the soft dirt for food. Something revived in me in that instant - a throbbing sense of faith and contentment. Even when I closed my eyes I could sense brightness all around. Maybe I could sense that brightness because of what had so surely illuminated inside me. I felt better for the first time, after the personal calamity had unfolded.
Nature has this talent. It can heal us and while doing so, it can cleverly plant a sense of resilience inside us. It can prepare us to face the most trying crisis. Its honesty can instil in us the character we tend to slip out of when tested by life’s challenges. The problem is we often forget to seek nature. Maybe, because we have forgotten where we really come from. In our passion to reach places, reaching where may not necessarily matter in the end, we lose sight of our actual destination, the place with which we share our origins and climax. Nature reminds us how undeniably amazing that destination can be. We can do ourselves the greatest favour by staying in touch with nature to offset the sapping effect of myriad troubles that may ail us. Maybe, then we can see the light within us, the light that would pave the path for reaching a better end, through a better road. Try this. Surrender to nature and breathe life, regardless of all that may be going wrong around you. Find these green moments for yourself whenever chaos finds its way into your life. These moments can turn things around in ways you cannot imagine. Take my word for it.