Jul 10, 2006

A garden, no more

A small house in the far end of the plot, with a nice, little garden in it's front, showcasing flowering plants like jasmine, december, kanakambaram (what's the English word?), huge fruit bearing trees like banana, mango and guava (white and pink varieties) etc. The whole street could smell the fragrance of curry leaves and eucalyptus. No one bought curry leaves from the shops. They plucked it from our little garden. Can you believe that a drumstick plucked from that garden costs 25 paise? (I checked out in Foodworld yesterday - 2 drumsticks cost 5 rupees, Inflation ! I suppose). Our evening tiffin was always served on fresh, green badam leaves.

15 years later, there is no trace of jasmine or december plants. The shoulders of banana trees are drooping. I can see only the trunk of the drumstick tree but no trace of the vegetable. The curry leaves are dried out. The guava and eucalyptus trees are gone. The house is not the same. The garden is no longer there. That's my grandpa's house, my dear readers.

Change is inevitable. A beautiful garden now changed to dry shrubs and withered leaves. There is no one to feed them, no one to talk to them and caress with love, no one to play 'iceboys' and hide inside the dense shrubs and behind the thick trunk.

My childhood memories are always linked to that little garden of ours. It was my study area, my play area, a place where I used to chat with my cousins, a place where I used to sit and watch the morning sky, the chirping birds and listen to Thiruppaavai (a set of hymns sung by the goddess Aandaal) being played in the Ram temple just behind my house, a place where I used to wake up as early as 4 AM and observe my grandma , blowing air to light up the fireplace and put kolam (rangoli) in front of our house. My eyes are brimmed with tears now. Change is inevitable.

My grandpa used to draw water from the well and water the plants everyday. We (My brother and I), as little kids used to pluck the flowers early morning and give it to our grandma for the Pooja. Our neighbours would come to pluck curry leaves for their cooking needs. No restrictions to anyone. The vegetable vendor with her huge basket would visit us once a week to buy drumsticks (I reiterate, 25 paise per piece). My grandma in her leisure time would string the jasmine buds neatly. Weekends and summer vacations were heaven. We used to climb the guava trees and pluck the juicy, sweet guavas.

Monsoons brought a fresh fragrance to our garden, with rain drops on the leaves. We used shake the trees and enjoy the drops that fell on us. Weekend afternoons was a chill retreat, with grandma placing balls of curd rice on our little palms, sitting in our garden and we, relishing it.

Due to the frenetic lifestyle of the others living there and my senile grandpa, our garden is no more the heaven it used to be. My friendly trees have become senile too. There is no one to take care of them. Death is inevitable.

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