During one of our treks in Nagarahole jungle, I came across a sight I had not seen earlier in my life. A tree that was twisted line a vine! The first thought that came to my mind was – here’s a tree that seems to be wanting to be a vine. Then I noticed a cluster of trees around it that were similarly twisted. I noticed such clusters throughout the trek, and I kept wondering why? The image and the thought stayed with me. The answer, or rather answers, unfolded to me slowly over some time.
It may have been that the parents of these trees compared and ‘encouraged’ them to be like the vines. Or, maybe, one of the trees got ‘inspired’ by the life of vines and decided to be like them, while the siblings grew that way in mimicry. It may also have been that the forest ranger gave them a ‘performance review’ and highlighted the lack of flexibility as one of the weakness or development areas. Could it also have been that the jungle society and media established the vines to be an example and ‘role models’ of success for the rest of the plants to aspire to be?
The desire to subvert an individual to fit into the established social norms and the counter-struggle to try and be what one should be creates such sad sights around us. Unfortunately, the mutated souls are not visible, and we’ll never know the damage this struggle causes inside of us.
As the new year dawns on us, let’s all be the tree we are, not the vine we were never meant to be. Happy New Year!