The exquisite amber shrimp plant — with a magnificent fiery-orange flower and glossy jade green leaves — grows in my front portico, roughly all year round. Then there is this variegated money plant, with heart-shaped leaves, that stays put on my bathroom shelf like an obedient audience maintaining respectful silence to my cacophonic singing. Is there more I could ask for? Well, I’m not sure.
Some plants are the guardians of one’s conscience — they never judge you no matter what. For instance, the giant pine tree in my backyard, with whom I’ve shared many secrets and exchanged friendly banter from time to time. I bow before its stretching branches seeking its blessings and precious guidance.
While other plants, like seasonal flowers, periwinkle or cosmos in summers and sweet-peas in winters, are egotistical fair-weathered friends. It’s a bleeding pity they don’t stay with your forever. Their transient existence puts me off, just like some blood relatives and friends in real life, who don’t stand by your side when in pain or suffering. They come forward to share your triumph but turn their backs on your defeat.
They are few relationships that rise above all, those that are meant to be cherished, and those that stay with you forever, your parents, for instance. Just like the immortal ivy veil, that grows wide and far, enveloping the entire wall like a protective sheath and stays green ceaselessly.
My mother, a psychologist-turned-bonsai aficionado, has earned the reputation of a plant doctor in our colony. She likes to take in other peoples ailing or discarded plants and cajoles them back to good health. Her plant ward has been ballooning ever since!
She strongly believes and vociferously endorses the view that plants have feelings and emotions just like humans, and despises those who indulge in plant abuse. I couldn’t agree more. She feels satisfied to see a sick plant or a dying bonsai on the path of recovery.
Last month, our neighbours received their posting orders and had to shift to Hyderabad. So, they left their potted Balsam flowers with my mother, because they knew she’d take good care of them. My mother feels encouraged and optimistic that her efforts aren’t going in vain.
Loyalty with plants ought to be cherished and valued. So, if the banana bonsai does well in the veranda then that’s where it must belong. If the flowering impatience pot wants to sit on the balcony windowsill or the royal palm wants to be in the company of our drawing room then we must oblige. After all, I can’t afford to receive summons from mother dear for violation of plant rights!
It’s extremely rewarding to have the august company of green plants and flowers. The soothing effect from the fresh fern fronds or the greenery of the bamboo just calms your agitated nerves.
Plants teach you important lessons. I often take a leisurely stroll in my back lawn and my plants help me analyse the philosophy of life and aid in refurbishing my corrupted soul. The Zinnia flower, for instance, blossoms in grand splendour, in the scorching summer heat. It teaches you to always keep smiling in face of adversity and trouble.
For those of us caught in the vicious cobweb of mundane tasks and trials of life, I’d say, it’s never too late! Bring in a plant and watch it grow. It’s an investment that you won’t regret.