Thursday, April 02, 2009

Simple steps to happiness

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

How less they demand. And how much they give back...

My mother's love for gardens was instrumental in making us shift from a flat right in the city, to a house on the outskirts. She nurtured rose beds and creepers that gave huge orange flowers. She grew bhindi (ladies fingers) and brinjals and we were trusted with the task to collect them. The bhindis grew so much that we began gifting neighbours and family with the produce. After a time, we complained of 'garden fresh bhindi' she thrust down our throat in every possible form. Bhindi stir fried, bhindi with vegetables, bhindi with kadhi. Bhindi, bhindi, bhindi.

Those were the days when our garden had gone mad with a sudden flush of fertility. Everything grew and bloomed and blossomed. The Sona (Kanchan or Bauhinia purpurea) she planted all those years back is now a tree and covers the lawn with bright pink petals every winter.

When I moved here in Kolkata, I had a faint image of the kind of house I wanted. I wanted to recreate Ahmedabad in the small space I had. I bought lots of plants, only to realize I was either duped with bad cuts or the good ones just died due to watering too scant or too much.

When I set my eyes on this Adenium plant in the nursery, I knew I wanted it. It was costly and after some haggling, with both the nurserywala and my husband, I got it home. It has stuck. We have made some emergency visits to the nurserywala when the leaves turned soggy in winter. It was left in his care for a fortnight. This plant tends to go a little weak when it rains a lot or in cold. The nurserywala had told me told water it once a week. And so I did, only to realize that the plump obese stem (from which it gets its scientific name Adenium obesum) was shrinking away.

A person selling manure shook his head in disapproval when I told him this. "Water it daily, you understand. With this hot weather, how can you feed it just once a week." And he put some packets in my hand with precise instructions. That was about four months back. The leaves had developed some worrying spots then. I was keeping my fingers crossed after the medicine, manure and plenty of water routine. Last year, the flowers were great too, but now, they seem to have a new life. This year the bloom has been extravagant...

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