There is a piece of barren land in the neighbourhood park that I go to. In the early days when my family had shifted to this neighbourhood, this piece of land would still boast grass and other weeds. My sister and I would play badminton in the late evenings, watching the stars burst out in the sky. We were very young then.
In the last few years though, this piece of land has lost its green cover. I presume it to be intentional lack of care as this land was intended to serve as a playing ground for the young and middle-aged people alike. Today, the young play a game of cricket in the evenings while the other group plays badminton in the mornings. Such even distribution of this land has been its legacy.
As the summer break proceeds, the park is populated with more people in the morning. There are the walkers – the senior citizens, the working men and women, the housewives of the upper class, and a few faltering socially immobile individuals like me. Of course, the park is also visited by the friends of the animal species. You would always find pigeons pecking at the grains that have been gracefully thrown, other birds that I don’t know the English names of, the neighbourhood watch dogs, a mother cat and her last surviving kitten, squirrels, ants, and many others, not seen by the ignorant human eye.
But, there are also children visit the park. These children are usually teens who intend to play a game of cricket in the morning hour. So, suiting up they enter the park towards the piece of land that they have a claim to in the evenings. And, they play until the designated hour when the men playing badminton come to take claim on this land.
So, the piece of land that I am writing about is a land in contention – under multiple claims and not really anyone’s in reality. Words are exchanged, at times in decent social protocol, at times in reprobation of how the present generation has lost its values and mannerisms. More often than not, the boys have to withdraw from the land, wait a while before they could make use of it to play again. No one wants to give up before their designated time and no one wants to think that this is absurd.
The walkers witness this every day – this ensuing exchange of unsaid claims and open discontentment. And, I would not hesitate to curse the next person, who occupies the piece of land where I usually sit and meditate. Why? Because, it is my land. Because, I sit there.
In our transient life, we believe that we need to hold on to the things which appear permanent. Land appears permanent – stable and valuable even as generations come and go, the land stays. Fools, we are, but we go ahead to try every means to hold at least a small piece of land that will hold us in return. And, what comes instead, is the insatiable desire that knows no bounds and is ever open to more.
All this for what? Mud. Yes, the answer is funny.