Author: Nihit Kaul
"Here, let me take a look at those lovely leaf lines," said the wise old leaf as he stared into the many lines on the green baby leaf that was just a week old. A faint humming sound filled the background and provided a blank slate for their conversation.
The art of leaf reading was as ancient as time itself. The techniques were gradually perfected over eons and passed on from one master craftsleaf to another. A blend of art and science, it required patience and perfection: poetry and platitudes, in equal measure.
"Oh, this is interesting," quipped the wise one, stretching itself out to get a closer look.
"You see how this region of Mercury has a discoloration which is exactly the same color and shape as that in the mound of Apollo?"
"Well, that means you have had a rough time over the last few days. Did something happen?"
"Why, yes! Do you remember the thunderstorm from 2 nights ago? The wind was so strong that I swear I nearly got ripped out of my branch. It was SO scary!" replied the little one.
"Hmmm…just as I thought. Let me look and see what the future might hold for you," said the wise one in a self-congratulatory tone. The humming sounds had gotten louder and started to get a bit annoying. What was that sound, thought the wise leaf to himself?
"Oh…you have a very bright future, my friend. Do you see how the dewdrops are collecting into a small puddle here in the upper quadrant of the zone of happiness? Well, that tells me clearly that you have a long life ahead of you. Full of sunshine and fresh air. Birds will sing songs for you every day. The rain will wash you clean ever so often. And this tree will nourish you with food thanks to this amazing Amazon rainforest all around us! Oh, I see it all so clearly: you will thrive, my friend. You will lead a life of virtue. Work hard each day to make the most while the sun shines and to rest peacefully when the moon takes over. You will have many friends around you - new and old - to give you joyous company that you can savor for a long time. I am jealous of you, my friend. But very happy for you as well!" proclaimed the wise one, proud of his convincing, contriving clairvoyance. The little leaf beamed in the sun.
The humming sound had by now become unbearably loud and demanded an explanation. But before they could find one: BOOM! The tree they were a part of came crashing down into the rainforest. Like a whale splashing on the ocean after a gasp of air. It had stood in that same spot for so many centuries, that it fell in disbelief, seemingly flailing its arms.
One of the lumberjacks clearing this part of the forest ran over to inspect this befallen giant. His boot crushed the beautiful, green baby leaf that just moments ago was promised everything that got snatched away from it in an instant. Next to him lay a much older, wiser-looking leaf with a sheen of horror from what it saw.
It broke his heart to see that the line of life, the most important of all the leaflines now lay broken on that baby leaf.
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