Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
– Robert Frost
Little A, was very happy as her summer vacation had started. She had elaborate plans for her holiday. She wanted to spend time with her grandparents. She loved spending time at her grandparent’s cottage which was nestled in the hills. There with her grandmother she would go for long walks, play all day in the sun, run up and down the hills and as a treat her grandfather would take her for horseriding and boating. The only books that accompanied her were her favourite storybooks. With all her bags packed and a long to-do list, she happily waited for the scheduled day of the departure.
When Miss A stepped down from the train, her grandparents were eagerly waiting for her and so was she. They hugged each other and chatted up like old pals. From the station, there was another hour’s drive to the cute little cottage. We loaded the car and set off for the last and the most beautiful part of the journey.
As we drove out of the hustle and bustle of the town, the foothills started and the road became serpentine. A valley view with the river flowing on one side and the mountains with lush green forest on the other side were indeed refreshing and a treat to the eyes after the madness of the big city.
Midway on our journey, Miss A saw a bright orange line on one of the hills and was curious to know about it. We told her that it was a forest fire. She wanted to know more about it. This was one of those years when the fire was massive and most of the forest of the hills had succumbed to the fire. Every year the people in the hills put fire in the land to clear the dry leaves and create space for new grass, very much like the practice of shifting cultivation. But in some cases, the fire goes out of control and becomes a huge disaster. Also, the dry and abnormally high temperatures after monsoons and winters in the hills of Uttarakhand are a perfect recipe for a forest fire.
After we explained Little A about the forest fire she had a strained look on her face. On probing as to what happened to her she revealed that she was saddened to see the fumes and smoke. She rounded her lips and started blowing out air vigorously. She wanted to put off the fire. She thought that the big fire could be put off by blowing air just like the candles on her birthday cake.
As we approached the fire, she realized that blowing it out was not helping. She asked her Nanu to stop the car at a side and reached for her fancy water bottle. She asked me and her Nani to help her with the other bottles in the car. Then all of us walked towards the hill. She emptied out the water bottles one by one … in hope that the fire would stop.
When fire and water met each other there was a reaction between the two as to who would win. There were some sparks and slowly the fire bowed down. This was because there was less and controllable fire where we were parked. A happy and satisfied Miss A got an idea. She wanted to stop each passing vehicle. She would then convince them to pour water on the fire and this way as per her the forest fire would be quickly quenched. That day, Little Miss A proved that she had a big and innocent heart. She was so naive that she wanted to cease the fire with her brilliant yet not scaleable idea.
Well, as for me I want Miss A to remain as cool as water (ice) and fierce as fire. Since both these elements of nature are very strong and if irked they leave no stone unturned and can bring out the worst of calamities. In a similar manner, I want my daughter to be strong and sought after what is right for her.