Act of random kindness: A tale of a tiny leaf


This is a story of a leaf named as Itty Bitty that lives on a revered Sal tree in Mawlymnong village. Every leaf of the tree feels that Sal tree is their Godfather and they call him as King Sal. They think that it is their duty to serve Sal's purpose to help the world. Every other leaf seeks the traditional way to perform service expect Itty Bitty. He tries to find a new way and the whole story depicts his endeavor to do that.

The village, Mawlymnong, was busy with the daily schedule of its villagers. Some people were engaged in the farms, some were by the lake and some kids were playing in the middle of the village. On this busy day, the two leaves of an old Sal tree were conversing with each other.


"The autumn is approaching nearer day by day, you know?" said one leaf, named as Tito.


"Yes, of course, I know that and I am more than ready to be a part of the greater good. We will be chosen by the villagers for making up cups, plates, for festival decorations and that's just because of our big size we would be selected by them with pride" replied the second leaf named as Bruno.


"And that's the way we could pay the homage to our protector, King Sal," said Tito denoting the Sal tree.


Bruno rocked his head slightly in the approval of the idea of homage under his cheerful expression of being proud of what he was doing.


"But you know what? King Sal has been in deep meditation for years and I wish I could see him talk. That would be really great if he could talk to us," said Bruno. Tito nodded.


They were busy conversing with each other when they felt that they were being overheard by someone else. They turned and found that a small leaf, whose name was Itty-Bitty, was paying attention to their conversation. His name was basically a nickname owing to his tiny structure.


"What are you doing, Itty-Bitty? Are you spying on us?" asked Bruno in a friendly interrogation.


"Spying is done while remaining hidden, I was just hearing you talking," said Itty- Bitty " You both seem to be excited, don't you?" he added. Both of them nodded in mature enthusiasm.


"So what's your plan for the farewell? Bruno asked. "I mean, autumn is coming and we have got to do our part. So do you know how you would serve the King Sal's tradition?" he added.


"Well, I don't have any idea right now. I don't know it yet and I am trying to find the answers" replied Itty-Bitty in a casual yet thoughtful manner.


"What do you mean you don't know? You have got to know that and it's important. There is nothing more important than fulfilling the King Sal's purpose. He is God for us and he wished everyone to do duty on his part by helping organisms of the mother earth" said Bruno in one stroke of breadth with his open hand gestures with a touch of slight grandiloquence.
And that's why King Sal got birth out of mother earth's womb" added Bruno while taking his gaze close to Itty-Bitty to embark an extra effect to his words.


Itty-Bitty was keeping his silence thinking that Bruno had got more to say but when he saw he had completed his words Itty-Bitty spoke in his humble tone. "I know and that's what I have been told the whole life but I feel somewhere that I am not meant for what you do or what others are willing to be a part of. And I respect that but I guess it's not for me" said Itty Bitty.


The sarcastic eyes of Bruno got narrowed with slight anger over what he heard. He again started his sentence directing a question for Itty-Bitty. "What do you mean this is not for you? Don't you live under the tutelage of King Sal?" asked Bruno without an intention to get an answer but rather to make a statement. "We have to be of some use. Either we should be the protector of seasonal flowers by providing them nutrition and safety or be food for organisms. Or we should be used by humans for making cups, plates or auspicious items for festivals. These are the ways we are supposed to follow to serve. It is our tradition and it is glory to serve and you should be proud of being a part of King Sal's purpose" ended Bruno with more vigor in the tone than before.


"What if it is not a tradition and we made it so?" Itty Bitty mentioned, with firmness in his voice. "If it's a service then why to confine it to some pre-defined things and named them as a part of tradition? One should feel happy to do something good for others, why to glorify it so much?"


The questions directed, made Bruno's veins thumping with anger but unexpectedly he kept his composure for creating a lethal personal attack. "I know now, why are you saying so?" he paused. "Right from the beginning, you have survived in the innermost part of the tree. Devoid of sunlight you couldn't get much growth and while being innermost you were not noticed by other creatures up here. You were not strong enough to protect fruit or flower and as being small you were neglected as a feast of animal or for any use for the humans. You were rejected and hence dejected. That's why, you out of grudge perhaps, you are trying to force your ideology against our revered tradition. In reality, you are trying to escape your nothingness and hence you mock at our tradition. You always have been a worthless piece of leaf" said Bruno as he clenched his jaw.


Though mocking remarks to his structure had become the part of Itty Bitty's life, the words still pinched him much as Bruno's words felt much brutal." Well, you want to get personal then go for it, I can't discuss with you anymore. I have got same respect for King Sal, just my path is different and I don't expect you to buy that" said Itty Bitty and tried to fold himself to end the discussion.


,

"There is nothing to understand mate. If you have got any way of yours then find it out before autumn comes otherwise you would be carried away by the wind to someone worthless trash" Bruno ended with a smile and folded to left.


The autumn approached near and Itty Bitty was still struggling to find a way and then the situation got worse. He had to struggle against two things. One was himself and the other was the unceremonious wind. On the non-windy days, he would get in the abyss of depression for finding nothing and sometimes he would doubt himself if he had taken the right way. But anyhow he hung on the flickering light of hope and endured.


One night when he was asleep he felt if his body was moving in sleep. His eyes opened with a jerk and he found himself wobbling furiously under the blow of the wind that took him by surprise. He couldn't maneuver his body to stability and the wind was continuously slapping his body with a determination of detaching him apart. With all desperation, he gripped his petiole tightly and was hoping that the petiole didn't break. All of a sudden a powerful gust of wind blasted and made his whole body circumvolve furiously around his petiole. He tried to hold out the wind but the regular pangs of air exhausted his senses to deal with the situation and the next big stroke drew him to the dark chambers of silence.


He heard a sweet voice of a bird in the dark chamber which made him gather his senses to come out of the dark chamber. His eyes opened and he could see a sparrow chirping at some distance. His wits got sharper and he tried to analyze his condition. He found himself still hanging on the tree and seeing that all his frustrations let themselves loose and started running out as endless tears. He didn't have any energy left to contemplate or to criticize. He was just letting his face soaked in the tears of agony and hopelessness.


"Why are you crying, Itty Bitty" came a voice that shook Itty Bitty a bit with its unexpected baritone.


He tried to look out for a voice but he couldn't find the source.


"What are you looking for? I am just your part and you are mine. I am just under you, mate" echoed the voice.


Itty Bitty's mind was stuck in the zone between the knowingness and the no-idea zone. He knew but he couldn't tell was the condition but his mind struck hard and he knew the voice. It was King Sal's.


"King Sal, is that you? asked he." You are speaking to, me?"


"Don't say the king, I am your friend. Call me Sal" uttered King Sal.


Itty Bitty told King Sal that he couldn't be disrespectful by calling King Sal by his name and on which King Sal stressed him to do so and warned Itty Bitty that he would leave if he did otherwise. Itty-Bitty accepted.


"I can hear your voice but I can't see you" inquired Itty-Bitty.


"It's because I can only communicate my thoughts through branches which are extended to you" responded King Sal.
King Sal asked the reason for him being upset.


"I think you know that Sal. If you can communicate your thoughts without talking then you can also know my thoughts" replied Itty Bitty in a witty manner. King Sal smiled.


"It's great that you are creating your own path, devising your own way. But why do you think that doing something different is always a tough task? It could be an easier one." communicated King Sal.


Itty Bitty was hearing him with confusion and feeling his puzzlement King Sal asked him to look down. Itty bitty looked down and he saw a bunch of kids playing hide and seek.


"See mate, there is one kid who is trying to hide himself in the haystack placed below but he is not fully covered as you can see. A strand of his hairs could be seen out of the haystack. He is the youngest kid in the group and he seemed pretty happy with an idea of not getting caught. You can be part of his game and his happiness as you are of the apt size to cover his strand so he couldn't be seen" said King Sal.


"But how could it be a part of service, for the greater good?'' asked Itty-Bitty.


"Mate, I feel that you are implying the quantity of service but doing something good isn't always a charity alone. Sometimes it's about sharing. Listening to somebody's sorrows and consoling them, greeting somebody with a smile, laughing with someone and share some lighter moments, waving somebody goodbye or wishing somebody all the luck or doing a little good thing for somebody without them knowing are all small random things that matter the most to the world, to us. Though they don't seem appealing yet they are pleasing where you can form yourself a part of somebody's world, somebody's happiness with small moments and that's what we call as acts of random kindness" regaled King Sal with a peaceful expression.


King Sal told Itty-Bitty that the moment he helped the kid with his game the moment he would share the part of his happiness and added that there was a certain joy to sharing because there was true happiness to be happy with ourselves.


The friendly wisdom of King Sal was the most satisfying thing he could hear in the days. His gut feeling rejuvenated under the light shown by Sal.


Then came by a blow of friendly wind that glided Itty Bitty away under the breeze and placed it gently over the head of the kid. He got him all covered and could hear the chuckles of the excited kid. Itty Bitty meditated his thankfulness to King Sal and conveyed his emotions for King Sal's act of random kindness.


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