Who said bonsai is a rich man’s thing? | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Who said bonsai is a rich man’s thing?

As spring romances the national capital, a bonsai expert from another shore expresses surprise at Delhi’s peculiarities as he gets to work.

art and culture Updated: May 08, 2014 17:43 IST
Soumya Mukerji

The first marigold and morning glory stand at either ends of your balcony, promising a pretty Delhi spring ahead. The generous showers are only making the buds bigger, and at another end of town, you come to know, a pair of bonsai scissorhands are working away at tiny plants just as dexterously as you wish you were, at yours.

Peter Chan, a


expert from Japan, is pruning and prettying up some plant minis in the traditional Japanese style in association with the Indian Bonsai Association, but out of the pure love of gardening and not to ‘glam up the scene’ for the sake of it.

"This peculiar habit of making a fashion show-off with bonsais is something I’ve only seen in Delhi. It’s strange how it’s just the rich ladies who’re doing it!" laughs the veteran gardener, explaining that all it takes to nurture a bonsai is a pot, seeds, love, effort and a plain old pair of scissors.

"Anyone can do it; it’s just about taking out a little time and loving nature. All around the world, lorry drivers and cabbies are doing it; humble homes have beautiful potted plants. It’s a simple yet strong statement you make around green living, not just a lifestyle fad."

True, you’d say, but also wonder in part why nature’s big and bright bounties must be stunted and dwarfed by this way of big-trees-in-small-containers. "When someone asks me that, I tell them that if you look at it that way, gardening itself is about controlling nature. You cut, prune, trim – but more importantly, you nurture – you create – create a piece of natural art that’s fulfilling; that’s a source of universal peace. And that explains it."