An Unspoken Verse


Signal and Tree

The light of the overhead signal turned red  as I was about to speed past it –  just like all the other times. The brakes screeched hard and the vibrations of the old car sent my whole body reeling. Not that I needed my body to tremble any more, which was already doing so, out of anger and desperation.

“Countless days, countless!”, I said to myself as I stood looking over the red light and was lost into the labyrinth of branches that lay beyond it. My anger was boiling rapidly, fast approaching tipping point. I could however, not get my eyes to focus away from the bare tree and its branches. I realized, subconsciously I had begun counting the number of offshoots this tree had begotten. The intrigue caused by this naked, yet in some inexplicable way magnificent tree, always had a similar calming effect. The clouds seems to be tediously caressing these disfigured branches, in a way maybe, consoling them for being sterile and unlike the rest of the peers; green and lively. They seemed to unanimously probe into my consciousness, seeking an answer for their depravity. As to why the branches of the other trees made merry – riding the winds and dancing in the rains, while they stood alone, with all progress halted. They had in these unspoken verses, calmed my senses and I found myself thinking straight again.

Just like all the other times, I’d leave Payal’s house in a fit of rage, the red light would stop me and this strangely benevolent tree would comfort me – tutor me. And in due time I’d be lost, inconspicuous to the cars around and their incessant honking. I would forget Payal’s continuous transgressions of my faith; forget the fact that I caught her red-handed with Rohit; and forget the grief and emotional breakdowns I had suffered the previous day. And once the trance would break, I would quietly drive away. Drive away from her house, and her memory; only to return wailing back to her in a day’s time.

When I looked back up, past the steering wheel and onto the road the signal had not yet turned. Glancing across into the cars lined up alongside me, I could see happy content faces; gazing at the rains and talking to their loved ones, maybe making elaborate plans for dinner. Almost all bore the look of a pleasant, cheerful disposition.

I immediately gave a sign for a U-turn and drove back to Payal’s. I had finally got the subtle hints the Red Light and the Naked tree had had been trying to give me all this while. I went to her and told her things I should have told her months back. When I drove back out towards the avenue, there was no more Payal in my life. She could live on in her promiscuous ways and I wouldn’t be bothered at all. I was finally free, and a great sense of closure seemed to manifest somewhere deep within. The relief on my face was palpable.

I drove past a green signal at the overhead crossing this time, and for a split second, I could swear seeing a leaf in singularity on the naked tree –  waving to me as I sped by.

6 thoughts on “An Unspoken Verse

  1. Ah! Kya story hai Bhai! Really loved the way it ends. Although the end is a bit hasty, it wraps up neatly with the green light and the life signalling a new beginning.

    I would’ve loved if you had dwelled a little bit more on why adultery leaves people feeling so bad. You whetted my intellectual appetite but didn’t completely satisfy my hunger. Hopefully next time! All the best!

  2. Well to dwell a little more on that part was my initial plan but I wanted the crux of the story to be the parallel he draws with the tree. How he sees in nature a guide, which helps him shape his decision.

    Thanks for the feedback though. Shall try to quell your hunger further next time! 🙂

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