The Withering Bamboo Grove
Be Like the Bamboo
The Higher You Grow
The Deeper You Bow
– Chinese Proverb
Bangalore’s sprawling Cubbon Park was teeming with people as usual. Quintessential young couples lost in their world. Fitness enthusiasts sprinting while chatting breathlessly. Nature enthusiasts Instagramming away. Photographers doing portfolio shoots of one too many expecting moms (a new trend). I spotted one lady lying down on her back, toys placed all around and on her, an assistant blew soap bubbles while the photographer tried various angles, while the husband and the mother in law displayed a sea of emotions.
A furlong ahead a family played throw ball. A group of theatre actors was practicing a play nearby. I walked on towards my favorite spot, the dense Bamboo cluster. Over 200 Bamboo trees were planted here, 40 years ago.
Today the grove looked different. The green plants had all browned and many had fallen down. Recently they had blossomed into delicate white flowers and now seemed to be at the end of their life. I was reminded of the mythical Thorn Birds, who are said to sing the sweetest song while dying.
The trees were still alive with the whisper of the wind and melodious birdsong. I stood there in silence. Sunlight filtered through the remaining delicate leaves and shoots creating a symphony of shadows on the ground. The Bamboo stalks swayed gracefully – a strange dance of strength and flexibility. This delicate, artistic plant has a greater weight-to-strength ratio than steel. It bends with the wind but refuses to break. It broke my heart to see them withering.