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.
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."
the silence of evening spills
over the night
1) "In the Twilight" can be found here.
2) Aalamaram means banyan in Tamil.