We live with the idea of each being one of a kind in this world and respecting it. Every single individual holds its own uniqueness. Howsoever much society may try to stereotype or club us into a pack of wolves, we find our freedom in being the tigers that we are, all with a different pattern of stripes. A child may look like their parents or siblings, but the individuality that young fellow holds is nothing less than a galaxy of unique stars. This individuality is our long kept precious secret, a secret that no one other than our own self knows about. But sometime, out of the blue, someone as close as our partners or as distant as an artist in another part of the world, may compose something so relatable that we wonder “Is my precious secret out?”
A feeling almost similar to “being caught”, emerged only today in me while I was watching the Japanese anime “Only Yesterday”. As I kept going forward with the movie, I could appreciate the resemblance in thought process of the lead character and mine. The girl Taeko Okajima, a 27 year old woman, a working professional in Tokyo is always fascinated by the simple lifestyle of the countryside. Every year she takes a break from office and does voluntary service of picking up safflowers to make rouge at a village. She comes across the realities of rural lifestyle and loves every moment that she can spend there. Carrying hardly any fancy luggage, Taeko keeps remembering her young self of 5th grade and reasons many of her past beliefs and virtues. During this entire stay she also acknowledges her confused heart and convoluted mind. Even though she loves the simple lifestyle of villages, there are times when she realises that her love for the countryside is probably shallow. She understands that even though she respects and adores the arduous nature of the villagers, she herself has never faced the harsh winters or plight or any reality of farming. These are moments when she feels foolish and thinks that had she always lived a life like this, the Earth itself may have swallowed her.
Thoughts like that of Taeko keep appearing in my mind too. It was the first week of 2021 that I went to attend the Buxa Bird Festival. Walking in the woods, watching the animals from elephant to deer to marten to all kind of birds, made me feel more at home than the sparkling and comfortable lives of cities. I could soak in the forest from dusk to dawn and still not get over with it. The meditative silence, the beautiful music of the birds and the overnight bonfire. It was as though getting everything that I ever asked for. But it cannot be negated that howsoever thrilling and rejuvenating was the experience of the jungles, a comfortable long sleep in my warm bed at home after the camp was what my mind desired for. Looking at this movie I too could acknowledge my confused heart and convoluted mind. Is my love for the countryside also shallow? Or is it that because I have a genuine love towards this area that it draws me to itself every year?
There are many questions. I don’t know if this affair is deep or shallow. All I know is every time the Mother will call, I will run into her arms.