I was sitting on the cemented steps as I watched the kids play. The cement had come off at some places, leaving the structure dimensionless. The surface was uneven and rough to sit on but I didn’t mind. The wall behind me had no trace of grey on it because it had covered itself with a blanket of a dense green climber. Above that wall was a tightly wound steel fence, sporting yet another climber. This time, I recognized the climber. It was a Betel.
The flat heart shaped leaves joined hands with the steel wires of the fence to form an interwoven pattern of silver and green. The big mature leaves were thick green and glossy, reflecting the sun’s rays that fell on them. The other smaller leaves were light green and so tender-looking that I was scared that it would fall apart if I touched them. I wondered how perfect the leaves looked, with their neatly cut out shape and their intricate veins on them.
After admiring the green hearts on the fence for a few minutes, my gaze fell upon the brown mud, the birth place of the green beauty. A few twigs and stiff tendrils were added to the mixture of soil but one particular leaf caught my attention. I picked it up and held it carefully. It was a Betel leaf, dried up and withered.
The green colour had been sucked out of the leaf, giving it a dull brown colour. I held it under the sunlight and noticed flecks of orange and grey here and there. The glossy soft surface had been replaced by a wrinkled, paper-like stiffness that screamed out that it had no life. I twirled the weak leaf around thinking about its time as a bright green leaf, enjoying its life as it danced around in the wind and relished the sunshine. The life that had long gone.
I sighed, realizing that the life of this simple leaf was exactly what ours was like. Young and carefree to old and useless. I left the place silently but not before I saw the leaf tossed down and stamped down.