picture by photographer Robert Brown
Life Begins Everyday
Do not say everything would be so senseless.
See the lonely rose bud in the garden as it blossoms in the winter.
Inspite of all the frost, the cold, For it- life begins every day.
It develops slowly like the bud, opens carefully the delicate petals,
Ventures, and then shines strongly.
Remember, even in the time of devastation,
Life begins everyday.
He was observing me keenly. My Man Friday at home and his name is Babloo.
My ritual in the mornings must have puzzled him at first but since he's also a son of the soil, a farmer first, it was not very difficult for him to crack the code. Like a bird that goes round and round in it's cage he found me restless as i would peer downstairs oft an on and bombard him with many questions. Quite recently the number one question- if he knew the local name of the shrubs that have become my favorites from the seventh floor.
He would just nod his head in the negative and i would after telling him the English common names plead him to catch hold of the elusive gardener and fish out the local name.
Just the other day he did something that i don't approve of generally but his gesture sort of touched me. i had sent him on an errand to get me some guavas and when he came back he held out his hand and shyly presented me with a branch of the shrub, the Hindi name of which he was unable to elicit from the gardener.
i have this thing for plucking anything live from the plant or a tree be it flowers or even leaves. It makes me feel that it was brutally murdered or dismembered and was denied it's right to live a full cycle of it's lifetime. Don't know why but i decided not to give him any flora or fauna preservation lecture this time and dismissed the teacher in me for later. i held the branch gently lest i should injure the very delicate, hairy but feathery blossom.Then placed it prim and proper in a bottle filled with water. The branch looked prettier still in that small but lush green bottle and we both admired the arrangement profusely.
Then next day something wonderful happened. My husband and i were out for almost the entire time during the day and when we got back in the evening Babloo first served us water and set the water on the stove for tea but remembered to inform me to go and have a look at the branch in the bottle. i obliged and the rest is quite a story if not history.
i know a cyber shot camera is not the kind of equipment for perfect pictures but i am no photographer either. Nevertheless i shall try to tell the entire story with the help of the pictures.
Even in the bottle, sustaining itself just on water the leaves had closed just like they would have when the branch was still a part of the shrub but the bud stood erect. No drooping of the stalks visible at all.
The next day i had to undergo some medical examinations that required me to be on fasting so we set out early. When we returned in the afternoon at around 12, i was just too hungry. Since it was a Saturday and Babloo knew the routine well, he had prepared delicious Kitchdree and two bharthas one of Aubergine and the other of Potato. Back home these bharthas are better known as Chokhas. We relished the Saturday lunch all complete with achaar, papad, dahi and ghee (just for the day) added into the Kitchdree as per our choice plus the super Bengali sweet for dessert. After lunch got over we headed towards the bedroom to take a nap. But Babloo seemed a bit restless and anxious and continued to wait upon me like he had something to say. He signaled me with his index finger, jerking his head in a particular direction to notice the branch.
i had not even given it a casual look since i had returned home from the Pathological lab, as hunger and tiredness had sort of turned me into a cow grabbing at this and that for munching. This overlooking on my part had perhaps made him anxious. i smiled hoping something nice and new. i turned to gaze at the index finger and head jerked signaled spot. i couldn't believe what i saw.
Suddenly i felt a wave of irritation run into me as i felt cross with myself. How pathetically hungry and tired could i be to have ignored such a pretty and awesome sight.
The bigger of the bud had begun it's flowering process. Now the stalk that held it was also bending into a curve. i was overjoyed and absolutely felt no need to take a nap at all. While my husband withdrew to the bedroom for a quick snooze i waited for Babloo to finish his lunch and we talked about the plant. The farmer in him had observations to share. According to him if that branch was still a part of the shrub the bud might have flowered fully. The fact of the matter being that here in this pretty bottle all it could feed upon was just water and the other important nutrients were denied to it for it to mature fully. i nodded in affirmation and debated inwardly if this was the right time to let him know about my true feelings regarding forced plucking and uprooting. But once again some feeling stopped me.
i thus preferred to listen to his childhood tales about another of the same family which he said is called Laajwanti. i knew instantly what he was referring to. The Touch Me Nots what else?
Later while Babloo went away for his nap i nurtured affectionate thoughts for him and felt glad to have him as my companion in this common interest. Also i wondered if the bud would blossom to it's full maturity in that bottle. i'll have to wait and watch. In any case i am awed by it's resilience. Trying it's best to survive against all odds and be at it's best even when denied of life sustaining resources.
Right now i feel like indulging in a flashback. Although this was just two days back.
Both of us eyeing the burst of reds in the bushy canopy of what appeared to be a Khejri/Shami shrub earlier.
That is before it showed it's true color which happens now in this season.
After handing me the branch with that fully blossomed Powder Puff/Fairy Duster and a couple or so of the big buds and one teeny weeny globule,
Babloo then leaves it to me to decide where to put it. i hurriedly ransacked the kitchen cupboard for an empty bottle. Got the perfect size, filled it to the top with plain water and propped the beauty in the bottle. It stood elegant without much effort.
The initial decision was to place the beauty on the dining table where we had just finished a sumptuous meal all complete with fresh Rosogullas for dessert.
Later looked around for an appropriate place where the beauty truly stands out without much obstructions or any cluttered diversions.
On my table above the book?... Nah ! Neyt! Nahiinn!!
At the center of the bed headboard? looks okay but...
This corner looks perfect! So this is it...nowhere but here.
It's pathetic that my skills with the camera couldn't capture my motive here.The shadow of the tiny fronds coupled with the luminous green of the bottle that fell on the blank corner walls. Must do something about my CTD syndrome (camera tackling deficiency).
It was impossible for me to sit now so down i flew hopping and jumping stairs as i had no patience to wait for the already engaged by someone lift. Cared two hoots for my leukocrepe bandaged arthritic hand as i was painless from this moment on.
Guess what i could be doing downstairs in the mid afternoon on a weekend when everyone seemed to be submerged in an aftermath of slumberous lethargy after a good weekend holiday meal?
Actually this time i was rather too pleased with the people less pathways and lawns.
Sure enough i was trying to capture as much as i could for soon the blossoming season would be over. i was wanting to see the same sight of a bud bursting into feathery but minute globular curly bumps like a red berry on the shrub.
i saw none of that on the shrub but just the tiny convoluted buds, some larger like the size of marbles and some smaller fluorescent green buds and plenty and plenty of red powder puffs/fairy dusters on all the shrubs that lined the periphery of the society lawn. Of course the plenty is more visible from my seventh floor as they strike one as rubies that are scattered randomly in a sea of lacy but profusely netted green.
It feels so great to notice the change happening live even if it not a continuous one like the ones we see in the National Geographic Channel. Maybe while we are sleeping before the break of dawn the buds on the shrubs open out like freshly undergone metamorphosis Powder Puffs/Fairy Dusters. Nevertheless it was spectacular for me to notice a multiple globule in fluorescent green in the morning turn into a multiple globule of Ruby red in the afternoon.
" When did that happen"? i had asked Babloo in all my excitement after he had signaled to me the change. His assumption was sometime between 10-11 forenoon although he could not be sure. He was busy in the kitchen preparing Kitchdree. Or it could have happened even before, at the break of dawn and we had failed to notice it because of our preoccupations in the early hours of the morning. However he accepted that he too was tardy and noticed it only when he was laying the dining table mats.
So, what if we missed out on that miracle moment, i am pleased enough to see a natural occurrence even when the conditions were amateurishly but unwittingly controlled.
The slow motion not only ignites my curiosity but also imparts me with wisdom.
It is in nature for life to go on and on and even in subsistence it is simply, breathtaking!!
-:Glossary of terms used:-
Khitchdree- a preparation of rice and lentils that looks like yellow porridge only thing is that unlike sweet porridge this one has salt. Considered to be a comfort food easy to digest. In Bihar my native place this preparation is generally made on Saturdays. It is customary to observe simplicity on Saturday and dedicate it to lord Shani ( Saturn- The Lord of Saturday) and thus prepare this comfort meal which is easy both on time taken for cooking and also on the bowel.
Bharatha/Chokha- a preperation of roasted mashed vegetables like aubergine, potato, mixed vegetables and even tomatoes. The roasted vegetables are mashed and seasoned with salt, onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves and a dash of pure mustard oil. There are two preparations in this.One has all the seasonings raw but finely chopped while the other has chopped seasonings fried and then mixed with the roasted vegetables.Then together they are fried again with a dash of some basic spices like cumin powder, coriander powder, dry mango powder and chilli powder.
While the rest of the country calls it Bhurtha or Bharatha, the region of Bihar has a unique name for it -Chokha.
Achaar-pickles made from raw mangoes, lime or even mixed vegetables. However the one that goes best with Kitchdree is the mango pickle but then of course some could prefer lime pickle too.
Papad-Either deep fried or roasted crackers made of lentils, potatoes, sago etc.
Dahi- plain home made yoghurt.
Ghee- (heated and used to spread on Kitchdree) clarified butter.
As the saying goes- " Kitchdree ke hain paanch yaar Ghee, Bhartha, Dahi, Papad, Achaar". Translated this means that Kitchdree has five friends, Clarified butter, mash, yoghurt, crackers and pickles.
Rosogulla-the very famous spongy and delightful sweet originally from Bengal.
Nah, Neyt, Nahiinn- all mean the same- a big NO!!
i'll sign off just now as i hear the crows...maybe the dawn is soon to be...should go and catch up with the marble sized ruby globule and see if it has blossomed feathery. i shall not feel sad if it has not for i shall cherish only the best moments that i had with my baby Powder Puff and for a change i would like to call it a Cherub Duster.
The link that shows the varieties and gives more information.