Falling for flowers

Falling for flowers

My mother considers the flowerbed in front of our house her dominion.

Gardens and parks in the city are a collage of colours with flowers of different hues and shades. However, keeping adults and children from plucking flowers can be nothing short of a military exercise.

I recollect when I was in college, one day, a loud raucous voice was heard right behind me, “Chor! Chor!” I turned around and saw that it was the college gardener with a danda in hot pursuit of the thief. Others also stopped in their tracks and inquired what had been stolen. The gardener replied, “That girl has plucked an utterly beautiful red rose from the college garden. I saw her walking out of the gate.” Like me, the other onlookers chuckled silently. One of us asked him what he would do if she were caught. He replied authoritatively, “I would fine her Rs 50 for the crime.”

People use flowers for different purposes. Some offer them to the Almighty. Others to the persons they are smitten with. A few use them as a floral tribute to their dear departed. Ladies use an odd rose or two to adorn their buns or plaits. Children gladly present flowers on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher’s Day and so on. Flowers are also an integral part of the bridal fineries during any wedding.

Children as well as adults can’t resist the temptation to pluck flowers. My mother considers the flowerbed in front of our house her dominion. There was a good crop of chrysanthemum flowers in various colours last winter. They were a delight to see. My mother became a sentinel to guard these flowers that my father had painstakingly grown.

Once, our neighbour’s daughter came asking for the flowers to make a bouquet for her friend on her birthday. She pleaded but my mother was adamant. My mother’s quite sound argument was that if she gave flowers to one child, others too would demand.

We have a small patch of land in front of our house. Seeing how flowers enhanced the beauty of the surroundings, the neighbours, too, began buying pots with plants bearing flowers from gardeners with mobile nurseries doing rounds in our colony.

Opposite our house is a two-storied house in which three brothers live with their families on each floor. First, the residents of the ground floor bought four flowerpots; one each of dahlia, marigold, pansies and chrysanthemum. Their relatives on the first and second floor followed suit.

However, the therapeutic effect of gardening – in watching the seed become a seedling and then grow into a plant in full bloom – would be denied to them. In contrast, having tended to the plants like a baby and seen the buds blossom in front of them, my parents, naturally, want to increase the longevity of the flowers.

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