Today I fixed up with an old friend (the friendship is old, not the friend) to go to a temple. She had been feeling a little unhappy lately because of shitty social circumstances. My friend is Gujrati and they are a unique people who have to be lured with the promise of temple visit if you need them to go out anywhere.
On the way to the temple, I told her we should visit a plant nursery. Then we spent a joyful hour buying plants and flirting with the gardener. Thankfully she was so happy with the plants that she completely forgot the original agenda.
Friendships are like that. I felt it was my duty to give back all the happiness that she had once brought into my life. She gave me the green thumb. I know how her face lights up talking about plants and trees and creatures. Every leaf is not a green thing that dies, it is an artwork with a unique colour, texture, shape, and fragrance.
My friend belongs to the Bhil tribe. I have experienced from very close quarters, how deeply they love plants and animals. Over the years, her plants have healed me, her animals (rabbits, cats, dogs, pigeons, parrots, goat and sheep) have delighted my children. While another neighbor chopped down 4 trees because a bee stung a member of their family, I have seen this friend nursing sick, angry, biting creatures of all kinds. Some of her family members catch snakes who enter homes and release them into a nearby forest.
When I had first landed in this city, very much a wounded creature myself, she had walked in and taken me under her wing. She taught me ‘touch it’, ‘smell it’, ‘approach slowly’, ‘hold it from below so you don’t break it from above’. These were instructions regarding different plants and creatures. Gradually, my garden blossomed. I woke up every day with the first thing on my mind being my plants.
She has ruined me for other regular friendships, with people who talk cars and foreign vacations. No one comes close to the pulsating life she radiates to all around. To be able to ‘feel’ every moment, to be ‘alive’ right this minute, and to be able to gift this to others. She is my inadvertent healer.
Since original plan was temple, I had draped this beautiful cotton silk from Assam. And in this first pic I am not looking so cheerful because there is eggplant for dinner and I am dreaming biryani