Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Leaves of Life

When I was a small kid, my grandpa used to tell me a short story. And I liked it very much. As much, as he liked repeating it to me over and over again. The story goes like- there was this man, old and depressed. Saddened by his dull life and the reducing strength of his body, he grew more and more weak. He got ill and had to be hospitalised. No medicine would make him better. There was no one to talk to him but his doctor. His wife had already died and his children had left him estranged. Lying on his hospital bed, he developed a kind of attachment towards this plant kept on the window. He would keep gazing at it all day and it seemed to provide some solace to the old fellow.

One day, he woke up and found that the plant had shed a leaf onto the ground. This made him sad as if he had lost a dear one. Next day, one more leaf fell. Everyday, the leaves kept falling. The old man grew more and more ill. He would not talk to anyone, would not even smile. He won't get out of his bed. Even breathing was difficult for him. His doctor abandoned all hope. One night, he called for his doctor and pointing towards the withered plant, whispered in his ear, "I will not survive tomorrow. I shall depart with this last leaf. I wanted to thank you for all that you have done for me". The doctor went out, his face beaming with new found hope. He knew exactly what he had to do.

The next day, old man woke up. As he slowly opened his eyes, he looked at the window as he used to do everyday. Much to his amazement, the plant had grew one leaf. He couldn't believe his eyes. It was like a miracle to him. He "survived" that day. He even smiled.

As days went by, he would wake up every morning to find new leaves on the plant. The old man improved with the plant. He now started taking a good diet and was breathing normally. One morning, he got off his bed and walked towards the window with his trembling but much stronger legs. He gazed at his beloved plant. The man's eyes split apart in astonishment. The leaves were artificial and were attached to the branches with some tape.

Not knowing how to react, he kept staring. The doctor came from behind, put an arm across the old man's shoulder gently and with a grin on his face, said, "Sir, isn't it amusing how much we are dependent on others for our hopes, happiness and life?". "It's even more amusing how some living people leave you to die and something as irrelevant as dead leaves gives you a new life", replied the old man.

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