Hello Dear Readers,
Hope you and your family are safe. These are trying times once again but this too shall pass soon. Stay Strong.
It has been a while since I last posted here. Partly because I did not feel like it, considering the current situation (I live in Bengaluru, one of the COVID -19 worst-hit cities in India) and partly because I have been working on a few new hobbies, that has helped me keep my mental health in check.
Last month, I joined a volunteer group to help the battle against the pandemic. We work few hours a day in shifts to verify covid resources and help patients procure beds, oxygen cylinders, blood etc. It is a small effort to help the frontliners save lives.
While we have been able to help many with their requests there are times when we find ourselves helpless. There are instances when by the time we have procured a bed, the patient has passed on. Repetitive incidents like this take a toll on your mental health, one bit at a time. It also gives us a highlighted picture of what the frontliners are experiencing, day in and out – physically, mentally and emotionally.
In my case, reading and writing helped to a large extent. The only problem was it increased my screen time (I write using a laptop and read on a Kindle) and that negates the calming effect. So, I decided to look for other ways of restoring my peace so that I could continue volunteering for the cause.
Gardening is the purest form of human pleasures. It is an art that uses flowers and plants as paints, and the sky and soil as the canvas.
My mother was born with a green thumb. By the age of eighteen, she had a well-maintained, blooming garden with over two dozen variety of flowers, almost every vegetable and fruit that could thrive in the humid weather of Udupi and innumerable herbs that were used to treat many common ailments. Memories of the garden still bring a twinkle to her eyes. Having changed over a dozen home all over the state and a couple of times outside, she never really got a chance to recreate the garden. But what she did manage to do is create a balcony garden whichever home we moved to.
Recently we moved to a new apartment and were delighted to find two full-grown hibiscus plants left behind by the previous tenants. After a month of nurturing, they have once again bloomed, adding life to the balcony and the house. We added a few herbal plants of our own- Sambrani, Tulsi, Corriander, Pudina and Brahmi. We recently added tomatoes and Malabar spinach too.
Spending a few minutes in the morning, watering and nurturing these plants, while the sunlight peeks through the leaves of the hibiscus tree and shines on you is one of the best ways to start your day. On weekends, we try to add more plants to the garden, repot the existing ones and add manure. The manure too is made at home with kitchen waste and it has done wonders to the plants. There are a lot of videos on youtube for easy ways of making compost at home if you too want to try.
Life lessons from a garden
There are many things to learn from a garden. Here are a few of my favourites.
Life is Simple
A garden needs only the most basic of things – water, sunlight and soil. It not only survives with these minimalistic needs, but it also grows and blooms to its full potential. If only we too could operate this way.
In the words of Lao Tzu “Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished”. Unlike how we operate our lives, there is nothing we can do to ‘ramp’ up growth in a garden. Here mother nature is running the show and all you can do is patiently admire her ways. If nothing, gardening definitely teaches you patience.
Even with the same amount of nurturing, food and sunlight, all the plants in your garden may not grow at the same pace. And unlike you, they do not really care. They do not compete with each other to produce a flower or fruit first. If anything, they help each other grow.
A Sneak Peek into our balcony garden:
That is all I have for today. Hoping to write more frequently from now on.
Stay home. Stay Safe.
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- Shikhandini – Warrior Princess of the Mahabharata (ebook and paperback)
- Those Girls – A Tale of Perspectives (ebook)