After having the same fight with his father, third time in two weeks in a row, Shaun was really frustrated. He had talent and desire to study architecture but his father was not ready to listen to anything anyone has to say on the matter. His mother and sister were trying to support him as best as they could nothing was working out in Shaun’s favor.
Shaun Jones, a nineteen year old boy, son of the wealthiest man of Parbhani, a small town with a small population. His father ran the biggest sugar mill in the area. Their family had been the most powerful and most wealthy family of the town for the past 120 years. Shaun’s great grand father started the business from the scratch and turned it into a thriving unit within few years. After that, his grandfather and his father, all had proved their steel as great and glorified businessmen, who made everything even more shiny and fruitful as the time passed by.
But Shaun was not like them. His greatest strength was not his business acumen but his excellent fingers on a paper sheet with the pen and scale. As he was an Architect from his soul but still completely untrained for the job. He undoubtedly and undeniably wanted to be an architect.
He discussed it with his father many times but every time they ended up quarreling. What could he do more to convince his father? He had won many prestigious and well known contest in the field of architect. Every one who knew him closely was in agreement that he had great talent when it comes to design any structure. His father was another matter. As the owner of such a fruitful business empire and the protector of the history of a glorious family he was utterly closed to all other ideas related to Shaun’s career.
As Shaun came out of his father’s study after a very natural row on the same topic, he just kept striding with a fuming anger. He did not realized for a long time that he was again headed to his favorite spot in the nearby forest, which surrounded his ancestors home for more than hundred years.
After reaching to his usual tree he sat down under the soothing shadow and took few very deep and frustrated breaths. How the hell did he and his father always end up at the same point. As always his father said in his firm and authoritative voice,”I know whats best for you. We shall not have this discussion again Shaun. You may leave now as I am little busy at this moment and have no further say on the matter.”
Sitting under his tree Shaun closed his eyes and did a quick analysis of his situation. He was 19 years old. Heir of a great family and progressive business. Son to loving and caring parents, brother to the most sweet sister in the entire world, he had responsibilities towards everything and everyone. What could he do? More important, what should he do?
His father was a renowned businessman, his mother also hailed from a family in which everyone had been a proved their metals as a great business persons at one time or another. She understood everything crystal clear when it comes to business and had been a great help for Shaun’s father from the time of their marriage.
Shaun closed his eyes for few moments. When he opened his eyes, nothing could have shocked him more. He saw that a tiny leaf was hanging just above his head and was shining like a treasure in the forest. It looked like that it was made with gold. It was not a solid leaf but was made of very sheen net through which sunlight was raining on his face. He felt like a shower of gold was coming onto his face. He rose and stood towering over the leaf and he was more shocked to see that it looked totally normal from the above. What kind of weird dream was he having. He shook his head so hard that his teeth chattered and pinched his own skin but he didn’t wake up.
Because he was already awake.
Shaun checked the leaf again from the down and the golden shower was still coming down uninterrupted. He stood there for a long time, watching the tiny leaf, dumbfounded. Suddenly he heard that someone was calling his name, and whoever was calling him, knew very well how to whisper in a magical way, as it was like soothing hand against Shaun,s face. He looked in the direction of the sound and suddenly felt dizzy because of the strong pull he felt towards the sound.
Two gigantic tree trunks were standing facing each other,making everything tiny and puny under their great shadows. It was funny, how he never realized, that those trees looked like two mighty guards, who stood tall above all and were vigorous enough to protect their master from any and every danger, which may fall in his path. He hesitated. Took a step forth and took a step back. Still dazed and confused either it was his fantasy or was a reality, he started walking on the path which was laid between those two trees. He followed no direction just kept on walking. The surrounding changed around him after sometime as if the earth has shifted from its axis and north pole had became south pole all of a sudden.
Turning from a normal green forest, the place became a flower valley, which had flowers in every possible color which was existed, recognized and yet to be recognized by the human race.
Shaun blinked and blinked but it didn’t go away. Finally he decided to keep walking. There were flowers everywhere. He didn’t know why but he walked in the middle of the valley and stopped. He looked up and saw a small cloud was floating over his head. When he looked closely he found that it was a collection of light fog which was continuously changing the shape. He saw a smile,than two kind eyes watching him with curiosity and for moments it was behaving as if it was taking a pause from all the activities.
Shaun was about to speak when someone whispered in the same manner as some time earlier. Shaun concentrated more intently.”You want to know the secret of the golden leaf?” Someone asked him. Shaun focused more but couldn’t speak.
Shaun heard the whisper again,”you have got to nod in agreement young man if the answer is yes.”
Shaun nodded like a big idiot who happened to know nothing about whatever was going on around him.
“That tiny leaf is the most stubborn little thing I came across in my entire life.” Same whisper again. Shaun stood there like a big confused buffoon, who just witnessed a monkey grew three heads and laughed at him loudly.
For sometime no sound came. “Oh!! where are my manners?” Same whisper again. “Let me first introduced myself properly. I am the spirit of the forest and I take care of the forest and all the creatures, from big to tiny, who wander in it day and night.
“Do you want me get on with the story that tiny leaf now?” As if Shaun would like to do anything else at the moment, even of the forest was on fire.
So called forest spirit whispered again,”that tiny leaf grew normal and behaved normal her entire life but when the time came for her to fall she just shook her head in disagreement and simply denied to fall”.
“I tried all tactics, offered everything in return if she would just follow the normal course of life but she just wont budge. All she said she liked it so much out there, she didn’t care for anything else. That leaf is fragile and such a tiny thing that I was utterly shocked at first of her outrageous behavior but she just wont budge”.
“Every time I asked her to fall she will just look at me as if I was daft and no matter what I did I could not bend her to my commands. First I were very angry. I tried storm, heavy rains and blazing sun but nothing worked. Soon I left her to be.
Once when I was roaming around the forest when I heard her conversing with the bird with golden feathers. I went close and heard more. The way they were conversing it was easy to understand that they were very very close friends. The bird with golden feathers said to the leaf,” sister do not fret because of that old spirit. I shall turn you into gold with the touch of my feather and than you can live forever “.
“I watched them with great fascination as the bird started turning that leaf into gold. She made an amazing pattern which looks kind of a web. But the bird couldn’t finish the leaf into gold as it was night time soon”.
After that the whisper stopped and Shaun became restless because he really wanted to know the complete story and he felt deep in his heart that there was more of the story. On seeing the most eager question on Shaun’s face, the voice whispered again,” The golden bird died the next day and never got a chance to turn that leaf completely golden. So the leaf, like a true friend, has been still waiting ever since for her dear friend to reborn and recognize her as her friend so they can start their wonderful journey again.
At this Shaun’s mind went blank. What was all this about? He was still wondering quite thoroughly and openly and the whispering started again. “The Golden Bird is my companion who helps me in creating and spreading the shine across all of my forests. What I did not know about my companion and that tiny leaf was that they both were best friends from the time of the birth of that tiny leaf. The Tiny Leaf denied to fall only because of her friendship with my Golden Bird. Behind my back their friendship became more intense day by day, tiny leaf tried to came up with one or other excuse and never fell because it did not want to part ways with my Golden Bird. But in their haste they forgot that Golden Bird also had a life cycle, she had to follow. Once Bird’s life cycle was over it dies and with in few days it is born again. Now that half golden and half green leaf waiting for her best friend to come back to life again so can be together again. Even i am not able to stop that. Now that tiny leaf is half golden no normal weather change damages her, she has stopped aging as well.”
The voice exhaled deeply and continue “now you shall be wondering why you never saw that leaf ever before although you normally sat in the same place where that tiny leaf always hung. Because…. you never needed to see it before. The determination of that leaf to stay with her friend forever was one of the strongest emotion I have witnessed in many centuries”.
” You must be wondering why I am telling you all this. Because at this moment all you need, is a little push and you shall be a successfully running on the path of happiness.”
“You, my dear boy, have talent and ambition but you lack determination. If you want to follow your heart wish then you must do what must be done. Don’t be afraid my boy. Just clear all the obstacles, standing between you and your destination. And see where will it take you.”
Shaun tried to look hard at the shape from where the whisper was coming but suddenly wind got stronger and everything became blur.
Shaun looked behind him as something snapped with a thin screeching sound. He turned back so sharply that he banged his head on tree trunk but there were no trees around him in the valley.Then he realized that he was no longer standing in a flower valley. He was even more shocked to feel the acute pain in his legs. As if he walked a great distance. But he was not far from his home. What just happened to him? But one thing was clear that he was tired to his bones.
But how was that possible? He was talking to that forest spirit for a very long time in that heaven type flower valley and was definitely NOT walking.
And suddenly he remembered about that tiny leaf. Even though his legs were getting heavy like stones with every passing second, he still ran as fast as he could to have a look at that tiny leaf again. He searched and searched but could not find it.
He took a complete round of the area but still no clue of that tiny leaf.
After few more moments he lost all his patience and dropped on the ground like a broken branch.
Shaun didn’t know how long did he sleep but when he got up it was getting dark very fast. He knew that it was late evening and if he didn’t return to the house immediately everyone will worry and he will have another scolding.
Late in the night, unable to sleep, Shaun reviewed the day’s event in his brain. That voice, whatever was that , was trying to tell him only one thing. That if determination can even change the course of life and the very course of nature then it can definitely change the decision of his father.
Next morning Shaun got up and went to his father and said,”father I have got admission in a prestigious college of architecture. I am going to join that college and follow my dream. There is nothing you can do about it. I hope you will forgive me and with time, will try to understand that this was the only thing that could make me happy .” Shaun did not wait for his father’s reaction and started turning.
“Wait up young man”. Spoke his father, “you have taken a big decision and I know I can not stop you now as you have full scholarship and all the support you need to finish this thing but you are no more welcome in my house.”
But nothing could stop Shaun that day.
After ten years, Shaun stood in front of his father again as he summoned him back home. For ten long years he was away from his home and family. But he had achieved for what he made all the sacrifices.
He was counted among the very few world famous architect, whose every design was considered as an epitome of excellence and beauty.
People felt themselves lucky to get their home designed by him. Many families got their dream house because of his services.
When he did not have had a home for ten long years.
And now he was back finally and was facing his father after ten years. His father, as usual, called him one morning summoned him to come back home.
After two days of his home coming his father finally asked him to accompany him for a walk. Some how they ended up walking towards the same place where Shaun had that amazing and unforgettable experience ten years back.
His father was very quite for a long time. Shaun got impatient and asked with a little worry in his voice,” Father what is it? You have been unnaturally quite all this time? You called me back. For two days I have been waiting to meet you But never showed up or called me to you. Now when we are finally here you haven’t spoken a word to me in like one hour. I am not feeling good about this.”
His father took a deep breath and said,” I just wanted to tell you that I now realize that how wrong I was all those years back. You left and your mother and sister never were same again. I felt sometime that they hated me to break this family. I just want you to come back son and forget about all that I said in past.”
Shaun’s father looked at him with his usual arrogance but his eyes were really different now. They were soft and full of hope. Hope that Shaun could forgive him for everything and come back home. Shaun realized that this was as close as his father could get to apologize to him. Such a proud man his father was.
Shaun took a deep breath and said with a face as flat as was possible in those times,” Father I am glad you called me back. I also missed everyone….I also missed Mom and Sis very much. Thank you for calling me back. It feels so good to be back home.
With that, everything was forgiven and forgotten.
They started walking again and out of nowhere Shaun asked his father,” Father have you ever heard about the spirits of forests?”
First his father looked at him with a puzzled expression on his face but after a moment or two he spoke,” there were few stories, my grandmother used to tell me when I was very young…. but haven’t seen any forest spirit with my own eyes so far.” Shaun could swore that there was mischief in his father’s eyes at the moment.
His father spoke again,” the thing is son, that we have lived here for more than a century and for our own peace of mind we have started believing that to maintain this kind of honor in one’s family, could not possibly be only any man’s doing. There must be someone who must be watching out for us. We believe it because it keeps us going. Keep on fighting and keep on growing.
With that they turned back towards the house. Shaun knew that he couldn’t find that tiny golden leaf again but he also knew that the leaf was there somewhere in the forest.
That tiny golden leaf and the mysteries whisper solved the greatest problem of his life. An incident or a dream, whatever it was, showed him the right path and that path took Shaun to his destination. Determination and dedication, are the most important things one needs when it comes to fulfill one’s dreams and heartwishes.
Shaun was a firm believer now that everyone can get whatever they really want, if they show determination. Enough determination.