Green lessons

Green lessons

Whenever she felt lonely, she sat in front of those plants and spoke to them.

No childhood story is complete without the mention of trees. We share a very vital relationship with trees and plants and nature. As children we never made distinction between mainstream plants and weeds. Parthenium flowers were used as imaginary rice in the imaginary kitchen of the household play!

Do they have feelings and emotions? Or are they just so divine to be a-emotional? They say tulasi plant in front of the house not only blesses the family but keeps away all kinds of negative energies. My uncle used to say that trees and plants are very sensitive to human feelings. He would pour water to plants and show me how plants say thanks by moving from one side to another…

At my home town, there used to be an old woman who used to harass her daughter-in-law. We could overhear her taunts about money, upbringing of her daughter, the extra added sugar in the coffee etc etc. She was known for her terrible bargains with the vegetable vendors, she would ask for one tomato, two onions and one or two curry leaves. We had nicknamed her as Baayibaduki ajji. We as children were scared, even if the ball fell in her backyard, we would decide to forget about the ball to avoid verbal spat. And then one day, a coconut tree’s bark fell on her while she was sweeping in the back yard. And the lady was bedridden. Daughter-in-law, vegetable vendor, milk man, children and many victims of her sharp tongue thanked the kalpavriksha. At home we discussed at length about it. Trees fall down on cars and bike but, it is very rare that they can actually kill people. We concluded that only the most notorious and villainous people are killed by trees.

In another instance, my aunt’s neighbour family wanted to accommodate their NRI son and daughter-in-law for few days in their house. So they brought down two coconut trees which were on the left and right side of the house quite unwillingly. All the neighbours were aghast as the felling down took place. Coconut trees are never pulled down as it is believed that one coconut tree equals one human being. Believe it or not, in less than a month, the couple fell sick, first the man died and then the lady followed.

I had to travel some distance every day to pursue my studies. Every Friday,  I would come across a lady aged about 50-55 years with at least two saplings in a plastic cover. One day, I asked her what was up with all that. She said that gardening was her hobby. Whenever she felt lonely, she just sat in front of those plants and spoke to them. She was a teacher at a corporation school and she was preparing herself for post retirement years. Her daughter, who chose love marriage, left her husband after some time to marry another. A small town not only relishes such news but keeps it alive by spreading the word. Probably this is how she dealt with her problem of isolation and being looked down upon in the town — Make friends with plants and find peace in their company!