As the first light of dawn is just shy of a few seconds, the shades of my kitchen window open to my backyard. The view is holistic – a statue of Buddha meditating under a tree (which by the way, is also christened as Buddha by me). The twigs, the dirt, the ants and a few, minute creatures of the ecosystem run across his serene face; sometimes finding refuge in his lap, across his thigh or at the top of his braided hair – sharing a shred of enlightenment and calmness. For a few minutes, I watch the gray, dull colored sculpture of compassion. It is sacred – the blending periphery, the pose, the earthy messiness around him and a tall tree hovering over from everything around, yet keeping it exposed for the light to wash and polish it. While the day walks with the clock, the light changes the mood that reflects what I am feeling for the day. The spectrum widens and contracts with every season and the statue reciprocates with its mysterious, Mona Lisa smile. It stays and prays – letting the tree merge with its shadow while losing and growing its leaves; while lying out to dry in the unbearable summer or holding a wiped out,wooden skeleton in winter. Or just swaying around in the cool breeze of spring and autumn.
Even before the statue came and took its rightful place – the tree had established its significance in my life. The roots had touched and crawled beneath the foundation of our home and crept up the walls of my heart. I fell in love with its stray branches, its delicate leaves and its ability to stand still, and calm my mind when things were too turbulent for both of us. In the beginning, it was as young as the bricks and wood used in building our house and I watched it leaping towards the sky – everyday from my kitchen window – growing into something that reflected my progress too. When the statue arrived, it had to rest underneath the bigger, greener Buddha – not to steal away the magic that my heart held out for the luscious, vibrant green but to supplement it with an aura of transcendence.
Sometimes, up and close, while dusting the statue – it makes me wonder about Buddha’s journey – the stories I have heard about his early life; his ascetic endeavor and his search for truth about living. In the proximity of its serene fragrance, I synchronize with the documented history of his quest, his sufferings and finally his salvation. Though not as extreme, we all have contemplated in our heads one time or another, the purpose of our lives – at times confused and others with neck-deep in responsibilities and challenges of an everyday. It has all taken us a step further into knowing ourselves and no matter what we found, we settled with that thought and started life from that point onwards. There is something equally sad about the way of the world and life as there is joy about its short-lived existence and that is the mixed face of the statue – amidst all turbulence that lies in my backyard of fine mulch, rooted trees and shrubs, leaping bunnies and sprouting weeds and tulips fighting for the same nourishment – there is a drop of redemption impersonated as him and his shade above.
While I can name many places and events that have been iconic and defining for me; this continues to be the home. Everything that happens during the day in my mind or outside culminates into a correspondence between me and Buddha – as rightly said – the state of mind. In reality it is only a statue sitting under an ordinary tree but it remains the first thing that my eyes fill into every morning and the last, when they close to dream.