Tuesday, June 3, 2014

To Nina

New Delhi-110021


First and foremost i thank you for sending me that friend request. Thank you also for guiding me towards more of the homogeneous tribe. i was more than grateful to you...i was touched.
Would you believe it if i told you so. Mainly because my real friends hardly have time for me and those who have are now reduced to What t s App ing or else dropping at my place at their own convenience to get some intermission of some sort from their chores without bothering to give me the time that i seek of them or even sharing my interests. Sometimes i feel like disappearing when they ping me to say that they are dropping in but alas...being a human and a social animal i get hopeful and it makes me succumb to the temptation called hope. But honestly each and every time i am only left in the lurch.
i guess in this' Broadcast Yourself and Your Rich Superficial Llifestyle' i am quite a misfit so you can imagine that my so called friends drop in with some purpose and that purpose is far from sharing the nitty gritty of day to day life. It is rather something else. With all that pretense and dishonesty and display sometimes it is hard to believe that we shared growing up and schooling together and licked the same iced Popsicle which then was available for just 15 paise. Sigh!!

And how i long to share...my plants...my discoveries...my DIY projects.
Much that i want to stay away from Facebook i do admit to prowling around quietly whenever i can manage the time just to jot down the names of newer plants, see the fantastic images of plants, flowers, creatures including those of the wild and of insects and butterflies. When and if i am there and Facebook reminds me then i wish my known people on their special days. That's all of my relationship with Facebook. But today i feel glad that despite my self induced limited access i got introduced to you.

When my real friends leave me high and dry with longing you were there and i thank you for taking that lead. And not only that but also caring enough to guide me towards more of my kind. Maybe you were able to comprehend my angst. My intense urge to share...to talk on stuff and not just press the like tab and move on. Must admit that i myself do that many times mainly because i don't devote much time to Facebook.

You were prompt in answering a call i never made but was wanting to.
A virtual  one who wasn't even sure of my credentials when you sent me that friend request and thought i worked for Facebook India. But i know that was not why you sent me that request. Miles away maybe and although virtual you understood the common point of interest that we shared and probably that was what drew you or perhaps me towards you.
Hope Nina you won't be disappointed by knowing also (apart from the fact that i don't work for Facebook India) that i am not much of a Facebook person and maybe one day i can enlist my reasons to you that is only if you are interested to know. That way i shall be more in peace maybe with that assurance that my silence on Facebook is not misconstrued by you. Facebook is definitely not where i would want to be 24/7 like i see most people doing these days.
And one primary reason should be obvious with this what i have to say itself.
The comment box is too small to accommodate me...hahahaha

The other day you had asked me if we had Ross in India. Believe me i was quite perplexed because i was hearing the name first time. Then i Googled and found out about Ross the store. Is it that one the tagline of which reads 'Dress for Less' Nina ? You have to tell me. i felt odd asking you on Facebook because that page i didn't want it to look like we were having a coffee table chat all by ourselves. It would seem rude.

Yeah i have traveled...been to Paris, Singapore and the store which is my favorite for everything including plants, gardening, and stuff related to gardening is IKEA. Now that you tell me about Ross i will look out for it and maybe visit it if the opportunity presents itself.
There is a mosaic art i want to do for my garden cum kitchen garden cum lawn. Nothing expensive you see something affordable DIY stuff which i can hang, also make a table top or something like that. i am wondering if Ross has those mosaic art DIY kits for garden. Will you let me know Nina ?

My husband is in a transferable job and we keep moving. Currently stationed in Delhi i have spent my last 21 years in Chennai and yes i planted and did lots of gardening there too. But when i moved i had to distribute all my 300 and odd babies (plants) and my pots to friends and others who were more than happy to have them. i hope they are doing fine wherever they are. Some of my neighbors/friends are kind enough to call me and apprise me about the health of the plants, vines and trees planted by me and it is such a pleasure Nina to hear that.
But equally disturbing it was for me to learn from a friend of mine about this new occupant who moved in where i had spent the first fifteen years of my total twenty one years in Chennai. She ordered for the hacking down of all my fruit trees just because she happened to see a snake one day and she was so freaked out that she wanted the entire ground bare and clean so that she could perhaps easily spot a snake from maybe even a mile away just because being foliage less the area provided better visibility to dangers that lurk in and around the foliage. How silly can people be with their fears. My heart aches for all those fruiting Coconut, Chikoo ( Sapota), Lemon, Papaya, Mango, Guava trees. i had nurtured them and they were giving such good fruits and so much that all my neighbors could also share nature's bounty along with me. And i know the snake that she must have seen. i used to see it in Chennai all the time. The Brown tree snake. Yeah i am scared of snakes too. But knew it well that it meant me no harm. It used come and was sacred of humans too and would slither away even before i could yell mainly because of freaking out at the sight of that thick menacing looking slithering 'Nag'.  When the rational mind is telling you not to fear yet... . Within a wink of an eye i would see that thick ten footer on the highest branches of one tree from which it would slide off to another and then quickly vanish from my sight. Also my profusely blooming Hibiscus also made me have a few rendezvous if i may call it to be with that green snake with that conical pointed face. i would go to pluck flowers for my pooja ( worship) and it would be there partially coiled on one of the branches while the major portion of the body along with the pointed face making a arch kind of a loop in the air staring at you right in the face. i would freeze for a moment and just scoot from there. Chennai folks told me to be careful about that one because it strikes at the eyes. Yes like a spring before you know what has happened it will go for the eyes. But thank Lord Almighty my rendezvous have left me with both my eyes fully intact but of course undergoing degeneration with age which is anything but normal.
But that is me... freezing, scooting and scaring but planting nevertheless. Can't survive otherwise...

Now in Delhi i am doing just the same. Haven't seen any snakes as yet. Probably it is the dry heat or maybe the noise or the pollution. Or it could be the mongoose. Yeah i see a couple of mongooses frequenting my garden often. But haven't seen any snakes as yet.
Yeah folks say i have a green thumb but i wouldn't be too sure of that. Some of my experiments have not given me the results i had desired. Sometimes it is the sudden hail storm which kills the saplings other times during winters the frosty winds snuff the lives out of my babies which have just opened their eyes to the world from their tiny seed cloisters. i get upset at those losses but not discouraged. i start all over again. In my next picture you shall see this idea that i borrowed from Facebook. Using soft drink bottles to cover up that bare area till my vines...my flowering Tecomas, Sancherias, Golden Trumpets, Jasmines ( the Jasmines i have planted have yellow blooms called ' Peeli Chameli' in Hindi) grow up to cover that and form a blooming hedge. Hope i am stationed in this place to see my plants bloom...
Since i am yet to be stationed permanently i prefer to make creative displays which are not only affordable but made by oneself. It satisfies the creative urge and keeps me fulfilled. My self conjured projects cuts out the monotony as i look forward to each new day more because i have that urgency to finish what i have started.  Thus when one finishes another one starts but Nina trust me they are not huge projects but simple somethings which my skill and capability can handle and i am able to finish. i do take ideas but copying blindly is not my forte because there is one serious problem with me. i get bored with what is just too common so far as decorating is concerned. Even if it entails decorating oneself. Wish you could check my wardrobe and see for yourself that apart from the ubiquitous jeans you will not find a thing there that is in fashion these days. That because i am already fed up of seeing the same everywhere. Also because what is today's pastry becomes stale history the next day. So i stick to my traditional s which seem like eternal.
i try to stay away from expensive stuff mainly because i don't want to collect too many fragile things the movement of which might only give me pain and much hassles to cope with later when we have to move.
There is bonus points when you are in your DIY giveaway spree when you have to move although it was done not because of magnanimity but due to situation- demanded- it . People really don't mind that and more than just a cursory thanks some people bless you with sincere intent with all their good feelings because they know all your effort and appreciate your skills and creativity. And that Nina ...THAT is priceless.

That said i must tell you about my favorite spot for collecting affordable pots and planters here in Delhi. Definitely there are upscale shops having planters that has a lot of oomph and finesse much like the Ross object d art that your pictures show but i go for my terracotta to this place called Kumhaar Gram. Kumhaar means potter and gram means village. We see an amazing variety here of skill as well as products. Great terracotta not only for gardens but for home decor as well. i discovered about this village when i read this article called ' Kiln Deep' in the newspapers when i landed in Delhi two years back. An NGO working for craftspeople organizes day tours called Indomania Cultural Tour http://www.indomaniatours.com/ for participation and interaction with the potters. Much that i wanted to i could not take the day tour but just like that i landed there on my own and purchased a few affordable pots and planters for myself.

Now because Kumhaar Gram is slightly far off and one can think of it to be towards an extreme corner of Delhi because i stay in Central Delhi there is another favorite spot of mine although here the prices are slightly higher than at Kumhaar Gram. Also the products here are of a different variety because this place generally features artists from all over India. They bring their wares right from Kashmir to Punjab to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Maharastra, Bihar, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and hence one can say Kanyakumari also. Kashmir to Kanyakumar so the adage goes...
This place is not very far from my residence and i go there often and it is called Dilli Haat.
 Dilli...Delhi is also known as Dilli as you know and Haat means a village market. Let me show you the products i have picked from there. i have picked the frog with an umbrella...the third picture and the neon green snail with those two cute horns, the fourth picture... and another relaxing sitting frog with his feet stretched in front, the one behind the frog with the umbrella...

Actually Nina i love terracotta and if i could i would buy all of that entire lot that was displayed there below the sweet looking Maulsari/ Maulshree/ Bakul tree...
Maulshri is a common garden cum avenue tree and a fully grown tree has beautiful white fragrant but small blossoms. Scientifically known as Mimusops elengi...
Then they have these bird houses...beautiful...although none of the Indian birds build there nests in there trust me on that. i have quite a few hanging on high branches on the trees in my garden hoping that perhaps a Robin, Prinia, or Bulbul Robin, or Finch or even a sparrow which is so fond of building nests in precarious places like toilet exhausts might want to use one of those but nah these pretty houses just hang there...empty but looking attractive nevertheless. Maybe it is a borrowed concept and who knows one day the birds in India might borrow some Western concept too :). i am hoping because it would delight me to see a couple of any bird starting a family there in any of those empty pretty cottages.  i Nina have a thing for nests too.
There are very many planters there some huge and heavy and maybe i would've loved to buy some of those but remembered about the marching orders and controlled my urges. Terracotta is heavy and along with all your household your planters itself would make perhaps twenty crates if you have to move them. Hassles and costly. Not practical i say...
Then Dilli Haat also has these terracotta garden/ indoor fountains of all kinds. Many featuring cute looking Tigers, Frogs, Tortoise, Fish, Mushrooms, Birds and in that we have Peacocks, Doves, Parrots, Cranes/ Egrets..
Of late there has been a sudden surge of Buddha statues and God statues...

In the following picture that you see i have picked all...the moo cow, the piggy and that huge rat. i use these for my Pothos...Jade, Marble Queen and Neon...yeah i love Pothos and i have three varieties of it. We also call it Money plant here although money plant also means quite another plant too...

This big birdy too...again it has one of my Pothos...

This particular stall  i learnt had this artist who had come from Orissa to sell his wares. The stall has all kinds of bird baths and bird feeders those that you can hang and i bought a couple of the bird feeders too. One for water and the other for grains, but i also bought these THREE men from the lot with those facial expressions...just have a look Nina at those expressions...
They also have all sizes of these butterflies and i bought about a dozen of those. Later painted them using acrylic colors and hung them here and there in all those places which looked a little boring and bare.

Of course if you want all kinds of ethnic wind chimes Dilli Haat has many colorful types and varieties...brass, ever silver pipes, sea-shells, Buddhist bells and now even terracotta chimes. i liked the look of these from Rajasthan and so i bought one of these too...but i keep picking up these items not all one in a go but as when i feel like for i go there often because i like the mela ie fair kind of atmosphere there. Sometimes i even come back without buying anything and maybe just do a little bit of what one would call window shopping.
i think that should be all. i guess now you can know why that comment box on Facebook would not have sufficed. You had asked me to share my projects Nina. But i would rather do it here than on Facebook. i want my projects to exude my feelings and expressions and my discoveries as to how it happened to take shape or what made me do or how i got the idea from. The last time i joined one group i tore my hair in despair. It was a nature related group and as i divulged my nature diaries i realized that barring one or two no one had the time nor the inclination to listen to my Oriental White Eye(bird) story or my story about an unknown tree...
You might wonder if i was lengthy in that but as a matter of fact i tried to restrict myself to say 3-4 sentences...short ones...but still...
So i understood that this is my place...where i can be heard not partially but wholly by those who want to hear me. They shall seek me out thus leading me to their domain and that's how the matters would proceed. This sharing of facts, stories and pictures with some interaction. Because i am not satisfied with just a like or a 'beautiful' or 'pretty' or 'awesome'....
i yearn for words...real words that convey the feeling of being seen and heard.

i loved that picture that you had posted of yours. Yours in a pink blouse/ shirt and you mentioned that it was a very young you. Now i have seen the picture and i loved that work on the collar and front lapel of the pink shirt. Was seeing it after a long long time. Wonder if it was French net lace work...and the work has a name but i'm forgetting exactly...in case you remember it please be kind enough to refresh my memory. 
And just in case u love embroidery good handmade embroidery then Dilli Haat will drive you crazy. Since we meet because of plants and gardening i restricted my story on Dilli Haat to just that. But there is a whole lot more there...crafts, antiques and definitely FOOD from the various states of India.

And somehow your look in that picture of yours made me think of Nargis the great heroine of yester years. Have you seen Mother India the movie...well Nargis has become immortal with that role of hers not to mention the innumerable ones she did with Raj Kapoor including the famous Aawara and Barsaat.

But now your profile picture has changed. In your earlier picture you reminded me of a very dear senior of mine who treated me like her daughter. Together we have shared some great moments of which i have fond memories . i have lost touch with her although not a day passes when i don't think of her. Strange isn't it, she is here in this same town but somehow the meet has not happened yet. Her name Mrs Neelam Malhotra and she too resembled Nargis a lot.  You with your specs on,  when i first saw your picture i got very excited to know she was on Facebook. But seeing that you were Nina did not disappoint me either, rather it pleased me to see all those creative nooks, plants and your photos that you posted and keep posting. i shall continue to be in touch.
Till then take care and keep visiting me here...if not to read but to see my pics...my birds, plants, insects and trees. Also my DIYs. Sometimes i blog about those too and sometimes even on cooking. Yeah but mostly it is nature related i agree.
Will ask you to excuse me for being so voluminous but that's the way it is for me...when i have to say i have to say it all...
i know it's too early to say that but i still feel like saying it,

NB : Here's a pic of the fragrant blossoms of the Maulsari/ Maulshree/ Bakul tree and sometimes when you walk on the roads in the early mornings you will see these flowers spread on the ground and the fragrance will hit you. It is a beautiful evergreen tree Nina and very suitable for Topiary too.



  1. I am not sure what to say here on the frienship, but i guess it is a pain when those whome we shared our lives with meet us for some motive..

    I was away from the blog world for more than a year and I found a lot of friendship then, was going through some bad time and in the end there were only a handful who were there and who could see what was going on.. some of the good friends simply ignored what they saw..

    hey you can share everything here I am sure there are a lot of lovely people who would love to read those ideas and anything about gardening I want ot know , I love gardening, I shifted my house to have a new garden to make :)
    it would help me for sure ..

    All the best with the meeting :)


    1. Dear Bikram I am so satisfied now to have one at least who is actually hearing me. Yeah you heard me and I am indeed very very happy too. This blog was supposed to be an answer to a very sweet lady who I met on FB because of my love for plants and nature. She asked me stuff...and since few words that comments are made of is not me...I thought it better to turn it into a blog. Yeah I informed her of course. Don't really know if she will come here and comment but she did show me a thumps up sign on that.
      But you actually heard the undercurrents and that really touches me. Thank you Bikram. You are a gem...must not let you out of my life now...
      Yeah such is the times and tide that friends are becoming extinct and what we have these days are ' Networks'. Whatever happened to those we shared our 15 paisay Popsicles with God alone knows...
      But just like it is maybe I should keep coping with time and tide and who knows...someone from those Popsicle times might realise the futility of it all and would like to return as a friend...with some time and nothing else...
      Thank you so much Bikram once again...glad I found you. :)

    2. you say a lot of good things about me .. i am afraid I am not that good :)

    3. lol...the mere fact that u r saying this proves my point. People are such dubious characters and yet they walk around with a thousand pretenses being absolute phonies waering masks and here you are...a simple guy admitting plainly to his foibles. But we are all like that...tell me one Bikram who is a clean slate...at least i am not...so that makes the two of us. Let's be bad people and be friends okay...virtually hee sahi... cheers to this dosti hip hip hurray !!!

  2. Replies
    1. @aliasgarmukhtiar mukhtiar so gud to see you here. Thank you for liking the post. :)

  3. I think our feelings coincide.....I've faced the same things as you've faced in friendship.
    But I'm so happy that you found a friend who could inspire you in the area of your interest.
    I'll keep visiting your blog often. Hope I'll learn some abc's of gardening :)

    You were very true on my post. We can't live without hope and trust. Our true nature never changes we just mask it a little if needed. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts :)

    1. @ Valli hey beautiful, artistic sensitive blogdost of mine ! so very happy to see u this Tuesday morn. Yeah that friendship issue...but bugged no more. Thank heavens for these myriad interests we have Valli and there is a saying in our local lingo " sakar khoray ko sakar khora mil hee jata hai" meaning a sugar lover does find another one who has a sweet tooth. So pursue ur interests and u never know where in that lovely artistic road of urs u might meet one true mate...who might want to be just friends and nothing else. Yeah about gardening don't force it about yourself...if it comes to you naturally then go for it...best wishes on that.
      i have been more of a planter than a gardener as far as i can remember even when i was a kid...i love planting...anything...
      Most welcome girl...anytime...would love to have you here anytime...hugzzz...cheereios...stay well and stay happy :)