Getting my Hands dirty

Here I am working my morning pages. Strangely the things that come in space are gardening, trekking and swimming in the river and not what I thought were my standard hobbies that are theatre and dancing. Strange isn’t it.

Even as a child when I was very upset a walk in the garden or sitting up a tree was very reassuring. When I felt very useless or insecure I would work with the soil that had an immediate healing effect.  It must be my own need to root. It used to be such a pleasure to sink my hands into the warm earth, to feel at the finger tips the possibilities of a new season.

My Paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather were great gardeners. When my daughter was born one of the stories that my grandfather narrated to her was the carrot farm a story of boy who decided to grow carrots in his backyard. My daughter would be very inspired. She actually potted two plants which she would tend to very faithfully.  One was bitter gourd and the other was okra. Each morning she would talk to her plants. I remember she was very worried when I went to my mother’s place about who will talk to my plants when I am gone.

“You talk to the plants here and the winds will carry the words to your plants at Goa” was my grandfather’s reply.

There was this particular okra creeper that had developed veining on its leaves, and I had a lady who helped with childcare she would show the leaf to my daughter and tell her, that an insect walked the leave and stole away its food so the leaf was hungry to ensure that her plants stays fed she should spray water over the leaves.

Somewhere all this caught my daughters fancy and she decided to opt for agriculture at her undergraduate level. Eventually of course she went in for Ayurveda and is interested in working with medicinal plants.

When my brother’s kids came along grandpa had shifted to Manipal to my mom’s place and each morning grandpa would walk round the garden introducing the plants to kids. It was kind of a ritual for about half an hour to 45mnts but it ensured that my grandfather had walk, the kids were introduced to the garden, and sometimes they even did some weeding and picking of vegetables and spices.

I recall my nephew asking grandpa, ”why does nobody like weeds”

“because, they are shy to accept that they like weeds, and we are told weeds are bad.”

“are they not bad”

“no, they are needed to balance things, they are bad only when they over grow. But so is the rose plant if it grows too big its thorn poke the next plant.”

The serendipity of it all I see this

today. It is almost as if the universe is reminding me of a part of myself that I have lost the one that connects me with the earth and my paternal grandmother. Yes I have issues with my maternal grandpa. J

What better time than Navaratri the festival of fertility. Ladies and Gentlemen, fertility festivals are agrarian concepts. I have hereby resolved to

  • By this week end get a compost creator, for the biodegradable waste in my house.
  • I also plan to contact or to order my basic gardening requirement, why online orders, so that I do not procrastinate over having to go the market and buying the stuff.—this in the next hour.

Maybe I shall invite you to a home grown vegetable dinner during Christmas. I already have chilli, tomato, pumpkin and okra seeds so that’s cool.

Maybe gardening is a great way to make peace with Grandpa Krishna Rao. At the end of the day the single greatest lesson that the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be sum-zero, and that as long as the sun still shines and people can still plan and plant, think and do, we can if we bother to try find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.

This article was inspired by

@kissanIndia #RealTogatherness

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