The Colonel's Tree
Most people understand peace as a state of mind where a person feels satisfied with everything, leaders think of peace as the sign of harmony amongst different nations. But whenever I’ve pushed the joints of my opinions and thoughts I’ve always drawn somewhat strange conclusions. For instance peace for a farmer can be a good night sleep, peace for a commuter can be a window seat on a bus, peace for a business man can be the presence of those sold out tags on his artifacts, for a busy woman peace lies in grabbing a good book with a large cup of coffee at the end of the day. People have different mediums to achieve their peace of mind. But still a blank sheet when we try to define it.
I however am a law aspirant and it’s in my nerves to reason with stuff so after a little close observance I would say that “Peace can be defined as the most accessible form of product for human necessity but most of us lack the means to buy this product and the knowledge to utilize it , these means are not a recognized currency or gold coins the only relevant mean to attain peace can time itself. But this is not a philosophy lecture it’s a story.
Many may find it funny but a retired Colonel who was a gunmetal maniac at the war taught me the true meaning of peace. There I was a young social worker conducting a survey on regional differences and suddenly we were in a premiere on Colonel’s Life. It may seem boring but actually wasn’t boring.
Colonel told me about how his forefathers, who were originally from Tibet shifted to India in the early 1930s and resorted to cotton farming. Being refugees in our country their community always was portrayed as the only dull ship on a bright dockyard but soon they adapted to our country’s culture and language. It indeed was a hard decision, to restrict their historical culture to their private lives. But there was one practice that Colonel’s family never abandoned. Whenever a child was born in their family, they planted a little plant as a respect to the God, seeking blessings for the child.
Colonel with a bright smile proclaimed that his mother planted a ‘fragrant olive’ when he was born; each member had a tree of their own to look up to. Colonel’s mother had a peach tree which still bore fruits in the spring season. Colonel’s cousin brothers who were older than him joined the army at a very young age. At the age of 24, Colonel also joined the army as this now became somewhat like a tradition in their family. At the age of 38 he was recruited in the territorial task forces and after years of hard work in the field he finally became Colonel at the age of 47 and within 4 years of serving as Colonel he retired. Living a peaceful life was the only thought that was worth his attention now. But in the starting months of his retirement attainment of peace of mind became a huge boulder in his way. Havinng seen a horrible amount of bloodshed and hatred, peace for him now was a luxury. At the end of March, Colonel thought of visiting his old house, back in his village. While roaming in the house he smelled something pleasant and started following the pleasant aroma, which led him to the backyard. He saw something that deeply reminded him about his past; his childhood. He saw this amazingly tall fragrant olive which stood right before his eyes, the tree that his mother had planted on his birthday. Seeing the tree after so long made him wonder about how this tree would have also faced hardships in its life span; life heavy rainfall or burning temperatures or fear of lighting and what not just like the Colonel. The tree also had many precious leaves and branches taken away from it but there it stood strong and firm just like Colonel who had lost his friends on battlefield but is still alive and blooming. At that very fleeting moment Colonel found his peace and was finally at ease with the world.
Peace my friends, can never truly be, if you are not true to your morals and ideals. Peace isn’t ignoring and walking parallel to the world but to move with it.
Kanwar Anshuman Singh
2 E, BA LLB