Yawn..! Oh dear! What a silly, dull day…!
Hey you..! Listen, I feel like talking today. I don’t need you to talk, just listen. If you can, try to look intelligent as if you understand. It isn’t mandatory, however.
I wish he’d go, this poor excuse of a human being groveling at my feet. How boring it is to sit listening to their endless appeals! Do you have any idea of the depth of the ire people like you arouse in me?
Give, give, GIVE is all you humans know. I want this and I want that…! And the cheek of you offering me bribes…! If you give me THIS, I get a new platform made around your trunk. If you grant me that wish, I would put up benches under your shade..! If you let me have THAT, I would have a well dug under your spreading branches. Yes, make a bloody circus out of me, you beggars..!
Do you really think I give a damn about your platforms and benches? Do you think me so stupid as not to know that all these things would only bring more of your ilk to me… to demand more and more wishes off me..? Damn your blithering stupidity and pompous hypocrisy..! Damn oh damn…!
To turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the spectacle of your abasement is almost the only pleasure left to me nowadays. Don’t think I am at all pleased at having to talk to you, it is the ultimate indignity..!
It has been long since someone worthy came to me with an appeal. When one of those comes, I listen to them carefully. I notice the way they walk and stand, the way they hold their head and shoulders. I try to fathom the depth of their eyes. I watch for the line of their jaw and the unsmiling set of their lips. I pay particular attention to see if their hands tremble when they tie the customary thread around my trunk. When they look up at me with a muteness too deep to measure with words, I peer from my heights to see if I can find mists gathered in the corner of their eyes. When I see one of those, I know I’ve found a worthy.
The intensity of their hunger, which drives them to me, is like a hook embedded in their soul. It makes them vulnerable for they have something to lose. There is the abandon of mad passion in their eyes. This is the kind of love that demands of them even the irrationality of surrendering their dream to the untamable and unpredictable forces of an entity they call A Wishing Tree. I simply adore them, these worthies. They are capable of feeling pain with an intensity that would dwarf the horror of a battlefield full of corpses.
The right ones always inspire me to set unlikely wheels in motion; wheels necessary to make their wishes come true.
You get a worthy rarely, like once a decade- if you are lucky. You can imagine, therefore, the avidity with which I wait for one.
I remember all the worthy ones I have dealt with in the past. Their hunger has a palpable flavor of a compulsive urgency, as if the world blow up into bits if they were not granted their wish.
There was this middle-aged widowed woman. She lost her husband when she was twenty-five and had a son. The boy was spectacularly brilliant.
He went through his childhood academic challenges like a meteor…. swift, fiery and unstoppable. The hurdles he needed to vault over in his quest to become an aeronautical engineer, he took in his stride. Isn’t it amazing the way even the most abject lack of resources cannot stop some people? Don’t you feel they do you a favor by giving you a chance to admire them… in a world where there is so little cause to feel admiration?
She came to me to wish that he would get a job at the biggest aeronautical research lab in the country… something he had set his eyes on. Naturally, I had to do something about it, didn’t I?
I also remember that boy who came a few decades ago. He came from a family that can only be described as the plodding middle class. Traditional in their thought process, pedestrian in their aspirations and utterly unimaginative in their visions, the essence of them was average. The boy was like a sparkling gem in a sea of mediocrity. He wanted to be a sportsman. His God was badminton. When he came to me, he had the stamp of the worthy stamped indelibly on his broad forehead.
There was that man… just past his prime. He was conscientious, hard-working and responsible to a fault. Such men are always taken for granted in your world, aren’t they? Their effort to take up an unending burden of responsibilities is a foregone assumption—one that deserves no thanks. They are expected to wipe themselves out of existence for the slightest wish of their families… and more… they are supposed to find joy in this self-immolation. No other happiness is deemed necessary or permissible for them. He came to me to wish that he find the means to break out of the rut his life had become, make a clean break from his family whose responsibilities he had already fulfilled and to find a quiet corner far away from the cities to put up his feet and live out the rest of his days in peace. He too, was one of my worthies.
There was another one, a brooding, shifty eyed man. There were demons raging within his soul. I could see them peering malevolently out of his eyes. He was in love with a girl, who wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. I don’t blame her. If I were a lovely girl, I’d have shot the man down like a rabid dog. He had the kind of look about him that would justify the shooting. But the mark of an unreasonable passion was shone out of his vague eyes bleakly- the mark of the worthy. I particularly liked to help him. Got two for the price of one you see.
No, I don’t give a damn about the validity or righteousness of the wisher’s plea. My sole yardstick is the extent and magnitude of the fire within them. It has to be an all consuming fire that permits nothing left behind to burn. A fire which does not leave even a mound of ash to show for its passage.
They last for long, those who have a fire in their belly. You grant them one wish and you’ve got them. Its like they poured their soul at your feet in homage. Once you have the soul of a human being… you have a puppet to play with until it breathes its last.
They leave themselves wide open for you to permeate every corner of their being. They let you inject yourself like thick liquid into every cell of their consciousness. You feed on them at leisure because you know they aren’t going anywhere. Slowly you dissolve into their blood stream. Through their every moment, every choice and every desire, you corrupt them from within. They never realize the devastation they perpetrate upon themselves. They never notice their dreams choking and dying one by one. They walk on, unheedingly, leaving gasping moments of their life in their wake. They walk to their own destruction. Every one of them, whose wishes I granted, walked this path to self-destruction, as they deserved.
Yes, if you must hear me say it: It is a game for me. It is my only means of enjoyment and I love it. Are you shrinking from me in horror? Do you think your censure matters to me?
When you step into the realm of the unreasonable and irrational- by begging a wishing tree to grant you a wish- you deliver yourself- bound hand and foot- to the forces of injustice. You abdicate your right to complain. When you grovel at the mercy of a tree, you demonstrate that you no longer have trust your own abilities. You show that you have abandoned the patience you should have had, to let the universe to make things fall in place for you. After surrendering to an irrational desire to jump the queue, do you still think you have the right to claim that the universe deal with you rationally? When it is you who volunteered to change the rules of the game, what right have you to scream in denial when the time comes to pay the price for it?
Deal with it now, this irrational world you invoked by walking into my parlor..!
Word count: 1472