Monday, July 10, 2023

The Lost Love

I heard a story the other day of a tribe that lived deep in the deserts of Western India. The chieftain of the tribe was a charismatic man, strong and proud. He had a son, who everyone loved. 

One day, the son, a young man, decided that he wanted to see the world, beyond the endless deserts of his home. The villagers were shocked, the father angry. He was after all the heir, the future! How could he leave? So, the wish was denied vehemently. 

But the son had wanderlust. He left one night in the dark, telling no one, taking nothing with him but the clothes on his back. The morning brought great sorrow to the entire tribe, especially to the father. He was broken, but maintained a stoic front. 

Days passed, then weeks, months and years. Everyday, someone or the other would come by and ask the chieftain if there was any news of his son. Each question brought fresh sorrow to the father. So one day, he announced that no one was allowed to talk about the son. His name was not to be mentioned. The tribe went quiet. Questions remained in everyone's mind but were unspoken, unasked. 

The chieftain had a young daughter. She was just five when her brother had left their home. Initially, she missed her brother, but as years passed, her memories of him began to fade. It didn't help that no one in the village spoke about him. 

One day, while she was out grazing her favorite sheep, she stroked its soft fur and remembered that her brother wore a coat made of sheep's fur. That started a flood of memories. She spoke to the sheep about him, tears streaming down her eyes. The more she talked, the more memories were stirred, the more tears she shed. 

Upon her return to the village, she began talking to everyone she met about her lost brother. The villagers responded to her innocent chatter and soon everyone was once again talking about the chieftain's son. 

The chieftain heard about it and was angry with the villagers and his daughter. Seeing the anger in her father's eyes, the little girl hugged him tightly and said "You knew my brother before I was even born. I want to know about the games he used to play with you, his favorite animals, his hobbies, what made him happy, and what made him sad. I want to know everything about him, father!" 

Faced with the innocent girl's questions,  the father's anger melted. His harsh eyes softened, his stoney face crumbled, and he began talking. He answered all her questions and some more. He spoke about his son till the one who was supposed to listen was fast asleep. 

The next day, a new rule was announced in the tribe - You cannot wipe out the memories that you cherish. You cannot deny the beauties of times that have passed. 

Just because things didn't go the way you wanted, you cannot lose the love that you have in your heart.