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Here we go round the Mulberry Bush

Here we go round the Mulberry Bush
As the Mulberry trees start fruiting deliciously, children and birds chirp endlessly. Spring has truly arrived. For me the treat is to watch these customers wait patiently (or is it impatiently) for the fruit to ripen. Every once in a while, someone tastes the fare to check – not everyone likes sweet, some like it sour after all.
As a primary school teacher still at heart, nothing gives me more pleasure than watching children at their different activities and their different reactions. It is heartening to see that children are the same everywhere.
One evening as we passed by a house, I could see a group of children who I assumed were playing ‘Truth or Dare’. As we approached, the giggling and nudging increased manifold. One sweet little girl came forth and said ‘Hello’ to us. The others collapsed into a heap of laughter. I could not help laughing myself as I had already anticipated this sequence of events. I hope this reminds you of your childhood trivialities and brings a smile to your face.
A few days later, we met the same group of children coming back from school. I needed no ‘Dare’ to greet my daring friend with a reciprocal ‘Hello’. She smiled shyly.
On our walks, we often meet children playing with a football with complex rules to accommodate their surroundings. As we approach, they stop the game to let us pass. Even in their energy, they are always impatiently polite. I await the day when I get hit by a football! Their childhood innocence has no coaches, no fancy uniforms, very regular shoes – the focus is on the joy of the game. I wonder, can my journey at Selim Hill be only for the joy of it?
I once saw a father and son going somewhere. The adult was busy talking on the phone and the child was tagging along. What he was doing reminded me of a favourite childhood activity. He was kicking a small pebble and carrying it forward with him on his path. Sometimes the pebble just hopped, sometimes it skid a short way, sometimes it leap frogged a slight distance away, the little boy pursued it diligently. There was no question of boredom. He needed no toys, no gadgets, he was completely occupied with his thoughts and the pebble. I wonder, is this what meditation is about? Is it the pursuit of our thoughts to see where they take us? Can we control our thoughts like the pebble?
At Selim Hill Tea Estate, we have an entire row of Mulberry Trees which we have named the Mulberry Avenue. Known as the “tree of life” and “herb of immortality”, it is considered by some to be the oldest plant used by humans. It is also known as the tree of gold because of its usefulness for food, medicine and toolmaking.
The children, the trees, the birds, all seem to urge me to play the game and enjoy myself, or should I say brew my cup of Dorje Teas and enjoy the cup that I am currently drinking.
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