When I am asked who is your favourite author, I say there are many. I have amassed a huge collection of books on almost any subject.
Authors are also poets, essayists, political activists and avid gardeners. In one of her recent posts on Instagram, Barbara Kingsolver shared some awesome pictures of flowers from her garden. Anyone who can coax pretty things out of the soil stands tall in my esteem.
My mother could make anything grow. I can’t. But if I am to receive a growing thing in a planter, and as long as I don’t transplant it, I know it will thrive under my care. I did plant some papaya seeds once and it grew into a tall tree. By then I had left home and did not get to enjoy the sweet fruit.
Funny how one thought leads to another. Like having a conversation with a close friend.
When I started the post, I was thinking of all the books and poetry I have read; then my thoughts veered towards my mother and how she cared for our garden in my childhood home in the small town of Hazaribagh.
It was from Ma that we learned – crushed eggshells, ground up tea leaves (dregs from the pot) and vegetable peel – all make good plant food. This was way before the world became fascinated by the 3 R’s – reuse, recycle, reduce. Ma said she learned about caring for plants from her father, our Dadu.
Something else Ma said once has stayed with me. We were in the garden that day, the smaller one in the courtyard of our house, and admiring the rose bush; it was winter, perfect time for roses to come alive. We had to be careful while snipping some to fill vases for this bush had thorns like nobody’s business. But the roses it yielded were glorious.
Ma said that Dadu had mentioned the red of the rose looks perfectly in place between its green leaves. In fact, one colour enhances the beauty of the other.
That is so true. Think of creation.
A fiery sunset has shades of orange, red, sienna, even gold.
Purple lavender, blue delphinium, yellow sunflower, red tulip, white carnation, the list goes on, all growing on green stalk surrounded by green leaves.
Then we have the Indian sari – six yards of gorgeousness in magical colours inspired by nature and looking perfectly normal.
It was tough to choose which one to share here, so I am posting pictures of three out of a burgeoning collection stuffed in drawers, shelves and cupboards.
Somewhat, like the question – who is your favourite author? There are so many whose work I find inspiring, fulfilling and rewarding. Hard to choose only one.
Keep well. Stay safe.
Purabi Sinha Das
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