Logic demanded that I get any plant by a peepul, but since when have I been accused of being logical? One of my other pots had a peepul – a peepul that had sprung up from nowhere (as peepuls always do), and which, in the absence of my tender loving care, had reached proportions not exactly befitting a bonsai pot. But transplant it into a bonsai pot, I insisted on doing. And if that was not punishment enough for the poor plant, I proceeded to hack off branches to bring the plant down to scale.
Why I was taking revenge on the poor plant, I do not know, but maybe I just needed to purge the distress I felt at arbitrarily losing the plant that had been a memorial to my father, and the only way I could was by inflicting my wrath on the defenseless plant.
For two months, the peepul remained bereft of leaves. I was sure the plant would not survive, but since the stem remained bendy, I let it stay in the pot. Then, one day, when I casually glanced in the general direction of the peepul, I caught a glimpse of green. Despite the trauma inflicted on it, despite being deprived of its food source for so many weeks, despite the neglect in watering, despite everything, the plant had proved to be a Survivor.
The peepul is far removed from what its predecessor was. I doubt if I can ever feel for it the kind of love I felt for the plant I had nurtured in memory of my father. But what I may never be able to give in affection, I will always make up for in admiration. The peepul symbolizes resilience - no matter how badly off you think you are, you can always spring back if you choose to. Just the sight of those tender green leaves against the starkness of the stem holds out the promise of hope.