Savouring the hidden agenda of a blabbermouth Mintu

Published on Jun 29, 2021 04:38 PM IST

SPICE OF LIFE: My faith in life, and the place where one belonged, got reaffirmed, that too with a hint of mint

 (Representational photo)
(Representational photo)
ByRajbir Deswal

The tallest mint plant in the backyard talks to me twice a day. I go there to see the progress of the kitchen garden, turned into one by filling earth in the small swimming pool for children. With the kids having flown the nest, we decided a couple of years ago, to go for home-grown vegetables. For the last four seasons, it has supplied us with organic, green veggies, just enough for Koumdi and me.

How does he do the talking? “For the ensuing Covid period, we have been, on an experimental basis, endowed by Mother Nature, to engage traumatised humans into conversation, to give them some relief and mental succour,” said Mintu, a name I gave it. With the last season withering out, the crop that had matured beyond not yielding anything had been uprooted by the mali (gardener), who spared Mintu and its family bunch, since they still looked fresh.

In April, when the mali sowed lady’s finger and gourd seeds, Mintu told me that it was time for brinjal and tomato, too. “Your mali is a good for nothing fellow. He should have made you an expert in growing, pruning, watering and nurturing plants by now.” I told Mintu that the mali had transplanted brinjal and tomatoes but Mintu ignored my statement. “Uprooting sounds barbarous, no?” it referred to the mali’s act. I told Mintu to wait for a few days when the mali’s efforts would bear fruit. It smiled wryly. I sprinkled some water on it and its family bunch and moved on.

The next morning, Mintu looked fresh. “Hey, I saw the lady’s finger seed germinating moment by moment at night. I even heard a ticking sound. By sunrise two small leafy eruptions were there.” “Wow!” I said, “Let me have a look!” I was excited to see the callow, pastel green, pithy mini-bulge. I looked at the point where the gardener had grown gourd seed. Going closer, I saw some groundswell there as well. It was my turn now to surprise Mintu who looked excited and exclaimed, “More the merrier! Tell your mali to fix prods in time for these creepers to lean on, or else their tentacles will interfere with the tomatoes when they find roots, and maybe they reach our colony too.”

A fortnight flew by when Mintu found enough verdure greenery around in the vicinity. It kept informing me about what transpired in the bed in my absence. Mintu knew I was happy visiting the backyard regularly and talking to it.

It talked about the lemon-coloured flowers that grew on the branch before fruiting into lady’s finger and gourd. Mintu was worried about the brinjal plant leaves that had begun to be eaten by pests. “Your mali should have arranged for some pesticide,” Mintu cribbed again, “he doesn’t even properly water them all.”

The next day, I asked the mali to arrange for some pesticide. I talked to him about some other things that Mintu had shared with me. The mali was intrigued with my knowledge of plants and maintenance of the bed. I returned to Mintu when it pleaded with me, “Sir, can I ask for a favour?” “Please go ahead.” I said. “If you are happy with me, can you ask the mali not to uproot me and my family one more time this season? In case he has to, can you have some of us transplanted here in this bed only?”

My faith in life, and the place where one belonged, got reaffirmed, that too with a hint of mint.

The author is a retired IPS officer and an advocate

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