A leaf was flying in the air.
I was there standing beside the field, the evening closing in slowly all around the campus. The last red streaks on the western sky were shading into violet. Birds who had returned to the big bokul tree in front of the junior hostel filled the air with their homely clamour. I was there on the field, standing in the breeze that blew gently. Then, I saw the leaf.
It was sailing aimlessly, – rising, falling, tossed by the wind that carried it farther away. Gliding freestyle, rolling, dodging, it was oblivious of its path, – vanishing into the grey horizon. I had seen that leaf many times before, on many evenings, flying away like that, dropping away from its tree. I had gone on walks among the fields next dawn, – I had seen the leaf lying on the dewy grass, – wet, brown, still looking fresh. It was like a rule. It would do this again, growing brown and dropping away from the tree that bore it, sailing out on the homing winds another dusky evening. It was its game.
It would start its journey from a little green speck on the tip of a young twig on the tree. It would grow fast, – turning into a lush, new leaf, vibrant with glowing life. It would grow a full size lamina, playing with sunlight all day, playing its lively part as a part of the bigger story that was behind it. It would lead a happy life, – cheerfully. Then, it would grow old.
It would hue off into brown, day by day, spending its hours in patient leisure. Its role would be taken over by more green specks, more young leaves that had begun their journey on the end of the growing twig. It would brown out all over, it would become heavier with the ergastic matter the tree would have been loading it with, preparing it for its departure. Its stalk would begin to loosen from its brittle base. Then, one evening, a passing wind would break it off from its home and carry it off. It would lose itself into somewhere, – riding on airback till it dropped to the ground.
I was watching. We had finished our days in our school, our life in our campus was over. Nine years of myriad stories and lovely times were complete. Our batch was passing out. That was the last evening we had on our campus. Next day we would be parting away, off into different places, into uncertainty. Those were the last few hours we were together. Our story was done. I was in melancholy, thinking of our bygone days in our campus, and looking at the flying dry leaf.
And it didn’t even care.