MIDWAY: Up on a tree

Buddhi Gautam

Sway! Perhaps in Nepali, soisoila is a distortion of Sway! in English. Kids in the countryside often climb up the trees and sway on the long, leafy and supple branches, singing simultaneously: soisoila ho hurra ha ha! Dashain and Tihar are round the corner;

linge pings will soon decorate the Nepali landscapes: people of all ages will swing high yet nobody tends to sing soisoila ho hurra ha ha on linge pings! Hence, soisoila ho hurra ha ha agrees primarily with supple, swaying and leafy branches of trees!

Climbing up a tree is a sheer joy — each tree, like human beings, is utterly different from another. Each tree can be a discovery, a study. The joy of finding strong and comfortable holds for feet and hands, coming across a leafy branch, running into a bird’s nest with shining white eggs or fragile nestlings, a hidden flower or a fruit among branches, or a bit less enviable, even a hornet’s nest!

Under the pretext of collecting leaves for animals or breaking dead branches, even grown-ups sometimes feel like climbing up trees. Some climb like monkeys, with an amazingly agile upward movement! Perhaps, that’s a subconscious effort to delve into their childhood recollections, an urge to swing back to the melody of soisoila ho hurra ha ha! Curiously, when one knows he or she is heading towards certain ‘childhood happiness’, he or she speeds up almost instinctively — even while climbing up a tree!

Osho, in his book Walk without feet, Fly without wings and Think without mind goes to the extent of giving a dressing-down to parents who prevent their children from climbing up a tree. “That’s a hindrance to a child’s growth”, he maintains, “parents should teach children how not to fall off a tree, but they should not prevent them from experiencing the joy of climbing a tree”. Osho on a tree! On a leafy, supple and flowery branch! Swaying! Dancing! Singing! Smiling!

In cities, children are taught to climb up cold, steely and lifeless ladders and steps. Litter wonder, when a city-dweller I know was with me in a village and saw a guava tree full of ripe, yellow guavas, he said, “Wow! Those lemons look great!” “Please, don’t bark up the wrong tree! Climb up the tree and you will know”