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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Close encounter with the spruce lime bush

Parambir Kaur, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, April 28, 2014
First Published: 10:11 IST(28/4/2014) | Last Updated: 10:15 IST(28/4/2014)

In his famous work, "This lime tree bower…", English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge called the lime tree in his yard his "prison", a thought coming from his state of mind then. On that day he was to go on an excursion with his friends William Wordsworth; latter's wife; latter's sister, Dorothy; Charles Lamb, and others but couldn't, on account of having hurt his foot suddenly.

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I was reminded of the poem recently after a strange encounter with a five-year-old lime bush in my backyard. Like all other vegetation, even this shrub was affected by the arrival of spring.

Laden with pearl-like flowers, it lends a celestial appearance to the milieu, permeating the air around with an ethereal smell. Just going near it brings a smile to one's face, for the plant seems to be laughing heartily in the company of its burgeoning flowers.

Sitting by myself in the room, I was busy reading the newspaper when this bush attracted my attention by sending its exquisite fragrance across through the window. The song of a pair of humming birds perched atop it had reached a crescendo.

One could not stay untouched by the sublime ambience. Suddenly, I heard a quiet utterance, as if the lime shrub had beckoned me.

I went out at once and stood beside it. As is its wont, it greeted me by showering me with a few of its flowers petals. Imagine my amazement when looking askance at it, I heard it address me: "I give you people such a useful fruit, besides making the entire place fragrant.

Every day, I spread fresh flower petals under your feet, even repel mosquitoes. Doing good to others is bliss for me." It paused to note my reaction. The statement was true but I had failed to understand its import.

"I didn't quite follow," I uttered, hesitating. The bush elaborated: "Look, there is hibiscus in the little garden in front of your house. You are so attached to it that you mention it to your guests and write about it in your articles. You even put its picture on the cover of your book."

"But isn't it something to be happy about?" I asked. "I am pleased but will be happier if you scribble something sitting in my shade as well and let me also enjoy your company sometimes.

Even I am quite capable of giving you ideas for wordy pictures." I gave the spruce lime a once over to find if the assertion was indisputable.

Without wasting time, I grabbed a chair, paper and a pen to act upon its suggestion. Shortly after, when my husband turned up, I told him about my tete-a-tete with the bush.

He could not believe it. I could have proved it but by then the bush had gone back to its primitive silent state.

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