When the wish jar bloomed

When the wish jar bloomed

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. I have first-hand experience of truth in this Paulo Coelho quote.

For years, I have carried the desire to have a parijata tree in our garden. It remained a wish because the roses had colonised the only available sunlit patch. It was by chance that I mentioned this to my neighbour. "You can have it even now," she said. "Just get the old shrubs out." I said it was too late in life to grow a tree.

Back from a short trip, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the foot-high plant in the centre of the cleared patch. Evidently, Gita and the gardener had conspired to move the celestial plant from my heart to the ground.

I stopped thinking about the flowers as it was thrilling enough to see the little plant grow taller with each passing day. In a year's time, it was already over six feet. And in under two, the miracle happened. I was ecstatic when I spotted the first coral and white bloom.

Every night, I would greedily inhale the mild fragrance that emanated from the tree. Every morning, I would gently pick up the 20-39 blooms fallen below. I would string them into garlands and decorate the pictures in the puja room. It was amazing how the simple garlands made the room come alive. It was an incredibly fulfilling activity.

The joyous routine lasted barely a fortnight. After that, it started to feel like a chore. The garland withered in just a few hours. It didn't seem worth the stringing time.

Not picking up the flowers was not an option. It felt like a crime to let the sacred flowers go waste. The sight of the fallen flowers was tormenting. One morning, I spotted a neighbourhood lady freely collecting flowers from various houses. I invited her in to collect the fallen parijatas. She did so willingly and, to my horror, gave the tree a couple of hard shakes to rain down more blooms. Now, I make it a point to rise early and gently shake down the flowers for her to pick.  

Some days when she doesn't turn up, my goddess gets to wear the ruby and pearl garland. Today was one of those days. I hung the garland and stood admiring the effect. The goddess was smiling through her kind eyes.

Vaancita artha pradayini is one of the thousand namahs for the goddess. True to the name, the goddess had provided me the desired object. But, like King Midas, I had not wished for the right thing. I should have desired an unambiguous thing like happiness. One can handle any amount of that.  



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