I am smitten by a new hobby. Gardening.
Two pretty white flowers bloomed in the balcony of the apartment opposite ours. Like all other infatuations of a woman, this also was triggered by a "neighbour's-envy-owner's-pride" case. I don't know anything about rearing a plant, but I wanted a plant as well, at any cost!!!!
From the time I remember, I have never been too involved in making a garden. One among the handful of incidents was when we planted a sapling on vanamahotsava day in school and I have no clue what happened to it later. Watching mom "waste" an entire Sunday forenoon session digging up the soil and cutting plants and soiling her clothes and slippers was what gardening meant for me! And I didnt fancy doing all that and getting dirty!
But never mind the past. This weekend, 4 people whose total Gardening Quotient (GQ) didn't exceed 20 found a nursery where we could get saplings. "finding a nursery" was another long story since nobody was sure if the nursery my hubby dear used to see on his way to school 15 years ago still exist or not and after much speculation and help from shop keepers and confused strangers on the roads, we found that it did exist!
We were welcomed by a 45-50-looking man wearing a lungi and shirt. There was a whole bunch of plants to choose from, I noticed!
Me : "Oru chedi venam" (We want a plant)
He : (a little surprised with my innocent request) ok..
Me : (Smile and stand, coz I can't explain anything more!)
He : (Smile and stand, coz he can't help me unless I speak more!)
After a few minutes of agonizing silence for the 3 people who accompanied me, I cleared my throat and attempted to explain what I was looking for..
"ee apartmentile balcony-il vekkaan oru chedi venam. Chedi valuthaavaruthu. Poo okke venam. Valya kashttapaadonnumillaathe poo undaakanam. Anganathe ethu chediya nallathu?"(I want a plant that I can keep in the balcony of my apartment. It shouldn't grow. It should have a lot of flowers. Without too much of effort from my end, it should bloom. Which plant should I take?)
Obviously, he didnt like my requirements! So he didnt answer my question, but motioned me to take a look at the plants in the nursery.
I would point to each plant and ask the same question "itu valuthaakuo?" (Will this grow?) and after committing a few mistakes by replying with a "ohhh...nallonam valarum" (yes, it will grow really well), to which I responded "ohh..enna venda" (is it? then I dont want it) he strategically started answering with "illa, valare slow growth-a.. 4 years edukkum" (its got a very slow growth, takes 4 years to grow even a little). Hmm..smart!
Soon the 4 of us dispersed to four different directions that the confused gardener lost track of us! The impression that he had of us when we walked in smiling was probably all washed out, for he was seen scratching his head and wondering if we would leave him free and get lost! He would never have seen so many fools in one frame!
Finally we narrowed on a few pots of marigold and daisy-like flowers. 20 rupees each was a big deal, I thought. In Bangalore, this would cost me atleast 60 or 70!
4 faces looked carefully at the marigold pots.
FIL : "Itinu valam okke engana?" (What do we add as manure?)
He : "Chanaga podi ittal mati" (You can add cow-dung)
chorus : "CHANAGAMO???? Atonnum kittilla avde!" (COW-DUNG?? We don't get that in Bangalore!)
He : "Jaiva valam.ellu podi aaylum mati" (any bio-manure. you can add crushed bones also)
Then there was this discussion on how to re-plant it once we go home, how many times to water, how much to water, how to take it in car and many more how-tos and we were done. Marigolds, it was! In another 10 minutes, we walked out, each with a marigold pot in hand.
A 10 hour long tiring journey in car and here they are, my marigolds and daisy-like plants, dropping dead in my balcony. Sigh! But I do want them to bloom!