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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Teenaged love on Tree trunks: A Thing of Past

Defacing monuments with love messages is a bad habit but wherever you go in India, you will find such scribblings on the walls of ancient structures.

It's a sort of habit for many. Some write their name just for fun. Others do it to see if the name survives for long even if the next visit is several years later. Others do it out of an itch to scribble.

In most parks, you will see names of couples written on the trunks of trees. Rahul-Ragini, written in circle or Salim-Saima in the midst of a heart made out of a tree branch or any other pointed metal object.

I have seen couples writing their names. Teenagers avoiding the gaze of the guards to etch their names. Youth often write the name of their beloved along with their name even if there is no hope of union.

Perhaps they get satisfaction with such a declaration at a public place. Telling the nature and the world. There is probably a feeling that the lovers may not get united in real life but at least, on the tree trunk or the monument the names will remain together for long and for others to see.

Unrequited love is a unique thing in Indian sub-continent. Either it is the concept of a youth wasting his life just for the sake of a girl though he may never have even proposed to her. Or those who manage to get promises of marriage but the girl later goes by her parents' wishes and when she comes back with her husband and kids, she introduces the heart-broken guy to her children saying, 'Meet mama ji'. And the mamu remains a joke for the locality for ever.

With changing times and the advent of cell phone, this form of love is also changing. Earlier, whenever I went to the parks I could see freshly written names. Lately I have noticed that the trunks of Deodar and Asoka trees no longer had any fresh etchings.

The old names were fading away and there was no fresh attempt to write the names. It was a weekly off and I decided to go to a couple of parks where I used to spent time when I was unemployed more than a decade back.

There were all sorts of couples in the park. But not a single tree had a freshly written name. No recent scratch. In a way it is good to see that the trees are no longer assaulted. In went to the other park and noticed the same thing. In a park in Hyderabad early this year, I had noticed it.

It's not that easy to write names though. It takes an effort and time to write the name apart from the fact that one has to be watchful of the security guys. Though the dirty scribblings in the train toilets and similar other graffiti haven't disappeared, but it seems the trees are no longer the targets of lovelorns.

Is it that the present generation has no interest in immortalising their love or that they feel it's a waste. After all, why affix your name to someone or devote yourself to a single person's love? In the times of SMS and cell phones, it's easy to leave one and latch on to the next, rather that remaining lost in romance for your entire life.


syahi said...

i am eagerly waiting for more on jinns.really.

Ye manzilen !! said...

Awesome metaphor Buds...u nailed it.

The time wasted on scribbling can be used watching movie in the last seat of the nearest cinema hall.

Man, I used to flirt with nature while unemployed back in the days....

How do we know said...

i disagree.. i think they have finally realised that it hurts the trees, defaces them, and is not a very kind thing to do... i really think that was taught to our generation rather strongly.

Indscribe said...

Syahi, I will surely write about them soon.

Ye Manzilen, berozgari ke daur mein hamne bohat shaamein (also afternoons) guzaari hain talaabon ke kinaare, parkon mein....ever growing list of similarities between us...lol

HDWK, I wish it is true. But I think the itch is still there. Besides, I see the graffiti and foul language in train toilets and other places, more than in the past.

Anser Azim said...

The real education!!! might answer that question of monument/tree srcibbling syndrome. Some years back we visited the Niagra Falls and they take you closer to the fall area where there is lot of mist. To our astonishment the walls around that fall were full of those scribblings and my research showed me they were from all ethnicity and color. Desi names too were sribbled there and my camera captured my sons name hasan scribbled there by some one who brought that habit across the atlantic.... I wish I can post that picture!!!! Adnan saheb "AAp bari door ki kauri laate hain""!!!

best wishes
anser azim, chicago

Anser Azim said...

I forgot to add that this looks like a tree from aligarh where we had seen these trees in abundance around the campus with these scriblings on them. One of my roommate used to say that "the trunks of these Eucalyptus trees are so gora, chikna and beautiful that bargad and peepal zaroor is per jaan Chirakte honge."That means Bargad and peepal flirt with
Eucalyptus trees beacuse of its beauty!!!!

Z@ki-R said...

a very nice topic. Not sure if your observation is correct. Few days back, had been to Victoria memorial; saw some graffiti ( S+A, A Luvs D, Z you are my only luv AK) etc on the marble wall…could not make out the age of the writings. Nevertless, we need to be more conscious of the environment (both visual and literal). Hopefully today’s youths are more practical and aware. May Allah bless them:)

Indscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indscribe said...

Anser Sb,
So this is quite a widespread syndrome. Your roommate did make an interesting comment.

There was actually a wave of plantation of Eucalyptus in India in the 80s. Later when the people realised that the tree consumes too much ground water, it stopped otherwise they were being planted over vast areas resulting in depletion of water level.

In the train toilet, I recently saw unique graffiti--art and also poetry. It was too offensive...infact disgusting...

Naturally the tendency can't go overnight. I just felt that in case of trees, it was on the decline.

Ye manzilen !! said...

Farak hai bhai....

Jab tum shaam 6 baje office se nikalte ho to koi darwaza tumhari raah taka karta hai....

shadkam77 said...

Love is natural. Need to express it gets felt. In all ages, all generations.
Thanks to the culture we developed over the subcontinent, love became synonymous to longing (look at our poetry - most of what u get is "khaak ho jayeinge tujhko khabar hone tak" and "chain aaye mere dil ko dua kijiye").
Sahitya samaj ka darpan hai, right. So, over the subcontinent, for most of the people longing was love's ibteda and inteha both :).
So, where to express it - if u were Ghalib, u wrote shers,
otherwise, u defaced trees :), or old buildings (i myself wrote something in bhool-bhulaiya :))

During last 10 years, with access to cellphones (some of them MMS capable :)), sat TV, internet, and (more importantly ;)) internet parlors, there are other avenues to express love. Hence trees are bit safe.

Since u zikrofied train toilets, i remember something written there, which, for a change was not disgusting. Here that goes:
is anjuman me aap ko aana hai baar-2,
deevar-o-dar ko theek se pahchaan leejiye