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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 1, March 2012

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Kala Ramesh
Pune, India


The Evening Spills Over

"I would rather be blinded by the light, than sit willfully in the twilight or dark."

—Dr Annie Besant

I've come to see the banyan tree known as the oldest in the city of Chennai. It's located at the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Chennai.

At the entrance, far off I can see the top of the tree's foliage, pulling me into an era clearly belonging to my ancestors.

A brisk walk takes me there in five minutes. The caption says that the tree is 450 years old, older than even the city of Chennai which came into existence only some 372 years ago.

banyan's girth:
the countless leaves
this tree has shed

The guard speaks in Tamil, our shared mother tongue, about the days of Dr Annie Besant, when huge gatherings were organized and this tree accommodated nearly 3,000 people beneath its canopy. He tells me that the Theosophical Society is known as the Aalamaram Society* by the auto-rickshaw drivers.

Taking leave of the guard, I wander off into a soul-searching tour of my roots. I can almost hear my history teacher's voice recalling Annie Besant's famous speech, "In the Twilight."

fleeting autumn
the silence of evening spills
over the night


Notes:
1) "In the Twilight" can be found here.
2) Aalamaram means banyan in Tamil.

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