I had to wait for almost four years to see this one bloom .All the wait was worth it .
There is another red hibiscus plant in full bloom and this beetle is now a self-invited permanent guest in our garden
The garden at my Mum’s place is one of my most cherished belonging.At many times, I have tried to capture its beauty in my words , but words failed me – what I feel for this garden goes much deeper than how it looks or what I write.I have written many drafts and posts on my older blogs about my garden. I’d write next one compiling them in a post but there is a story , with my garden as backdrop, which lay in draft , and is close to my heart .Here it is .
Banana trees in our garden
A neighbourhood tale
Once upon a time, there were lot of kids,lots and lots of them -and they all liked to play in one particular garden , because that was the largest garden in the neighborhood(our garden that is ).And then there was my dad.He used to take care of the garden , and made sure no one picked a flower, wasted water or harmed the plants . And he had a doggy friend, who was called ..err..Doggy by our family. This doggy used to do nothing (yeah..not even barking) except wagging tail and ridding away its caretakers of guilt of wasting food.Other than garden , kids were equally fascinated by him(doggy) and it was those kids who named him Chaploos,because as they put it,he was doing Chaploosi of my dad all day long.
“We have constructed a little dog house for Bruno in your garden”, they told me . one late afternoon , as I opened the gate to answer the doorbell .
“And Who is Bruno , may I ask ? ” ,I asked looking at each one of them,standing there in a bunch with excited faces.
“Chaploos, who else?” they told me in unison.
Apparently , Chaploos had been renamed to Bruno as these naughtysome bunch of kids finally realized that they were being very unfair to Doggy by calling him Chaploos all the time and that he deserved some decent name.And that, since it was our garden where his dog house was , my family was formally informed of the decision.
Now , it was time for Bruno to arrive and see his surprise. As ,”Ded futiya”(1 and a half feet tall – the next door kid who we lovingly called so ,because of his height) watched him at the end of the street , he screamed, “Bruno aa raha hai ..Bruno aa raha hai” , it was supposed to be a surprise for him.
Bruno had a fixed time to arrive at the garden .Every evening , when my dad would have his evening tea with biscuits , Bruno would come wagging his tail and sit beside him . We kept wondering where all the supply of biscuits was vanishing . Not a long time after , dad revealed with puppy eyes that it was him feeding “bhau” secretly on biscuits.( with his speech problem , the only word in my dad’s vocabulary for dogs was “bhau ” after their barking sound)
Now , as he reached the garden’s gate, he hesitated to see so many kids together and stopped there.He had been a victim of lot of pranks of these kids and wasn’t up for it anymore .But the kids , patting him and encircling him like he was a king ceremonially directed him to the dog house. The dog house made up of clay ,marbles and yeah,tiles was a little too small to get a fully grown dog like him to accommodate. But . intelligent he was , realized , it meant something for the kids , and that it was some sort of kind gesture to him,so in order not to disappoint the kids, kept his paw inside the dog house.As he struggled to accommodate a little more of him , in the dog house , kids cheered and danced to celebrate the success of their project .
Now , as I finish the draft of this post , I don’t remember how long that dog house lasted , but whenever I sit in my garden , I picture my dad sitting there with his radio , wearing his spectacles , sipping his tea and complaining that “bhau” didn’t come for his biscuits.
I miss you dad, I miss you the most in our garden , its not the same without you.
Read about the part 1 of GHNP trek here. Continuing further about the Day 2 of this 4 day trip.
Day 2 : We woke up quite relaxed to a glorious sunny morning . Unhurriedly ,explored the beautiful landscape with our gaze which we had missed to appreciate last evening as it was already pit dark by the time we had reached the camp location. Breathing the fresh morning air while the sun continued to ascend and spread its crimson yellow treasure. As we discussed the agenda of the day , the highest on priority turned out to be morning ablutions.A yellow tent served as a toilet .With a make-shift seat and a pit. The yellow color of tent was so bright , you could spot it from miles away. While we were staring at the yellow tent , Vasundhara declared she would rather head for bushes. Now this small detail seems quite unnecessary to mention but at that time , as we conceded for it , I felt like “jungle-paani” was the most authentic experience I could have in the lap of nature :P
So I marched gloriously with a bottle in one hand along with other ladies,very smug about what I was going to experience. Meanwhile , Ritesh and Pankaj had managed a small trek to nearby hill .After finishing up breakfast ,around 10 am , we started our intended trek for the day .On inquiry , trek guides told us it was called Barchi,locally .It looked like it was not an actual or usual trek route , just a way locals would take to cross the hills. The destination of our trek was not far- hardly a kilometer or two . No elevation. We walked through a serene forest and crossed a hill to reach the last point on hill from where the descent started.The trek was so simple, that I had not realized for a while, it was our intended destination for the day .It took us hardly half an hour or forty five minutes to reach there. However,once there, it felt like we were living the moment.Each moment lasted an eternity.The stillness of air and the music of silence travelled to our senses. Life moved slower than usual.The eyes could cover miles in one gaze. And a whole lot of sky.All of us relaxed, meditated or simply tuned into the nature around -watched the circling eagles , rays of sun playing games with mountain peaks in distance and soaked in the buzz of insects .
The blue sky as seen through cheed trees during trek of day 2 to Barchi top
(A trek from the eyes of a first time trekker)
(From L to R) Ritesh ,Sakshi , Vasundhara , Anchal ,Me and Pankaj
The backdrop on how it culminated
When it comes to hills , I have visited Mussorie and Nainital on several occasions, but , mostly as a tourist , not as a traveller. As a tourist , I visited the tourist spots , picked up a few fallen twigs , pine cones , rhododendrons and when somewhere in my life , a little piece of it , went wrong , closed my eyes and re-lived those wonderful moments .And yet I hoped hills loved me back. I knew somewhere in my heart , that it was not enough .There are more ardent lovers of hills;more resolute;more courageous to take the plunge. But I have always believed in mysterious ways of life – that if it is meant to be , I would find myself in lap of mountains one day .
And so it happened . Hills called me . To Tirthan in Kullu .For my first trek and camping , the one that would answer a lot of questions about life.
I am no trekker . Nor I was ever an adventure-lover to boast about. I am the next-door girl leaving for office early morning every day and tending her garden on weekend.Yet I have the same questions that keeps driving the monks on their endless journeys , the questions few people claim to have found an answer to after a few glasses of whisky . It is a difficult task to live with these questions and to let them overwhelm you for they become a part of your being.Your whole life becomes a quest for the answers . And did I ever find an answer or a hint to the answer ?Yes , I did. I found what urges people to throw away the comforts of a warm household and take a leap of faith , follow their heart . The answer of all the world lay at the end of a 17 hours tiring journey to Tirthan valley in Kullu. Trekkers would know there are more breath-taking places on earth or , beauty that would make your heart skip a beat . But the first trekking experience is always special. Because that is where the connect is discovered.
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF INSECTS, TREES AND WILD FLOWERS Ruskin Bond
As I enjoy my first cup of tea after a week of stay in Brazil, on a rainy day , I believe nothing could be closer to bliss.Even though I am not out exploring the “happening” parts of Brazil, I feel happy as I think the tranquility of this place and weather was exactly what I needed.And I feel happy to have managed to escape the fury of rising mercury level in Delhi for a few days and spend some time with my space , ie my blog in such a beautiful weather.Visit to Lake Tacquaral was an enriching experience.I am yet to find out the names of the trees and flowers I saw there and hope to update the labels soon with their names.Selma , wife of Leo ( who owns the taxi agency which we use for our transportation here ) , accompanied me for the visit.
While the warmth of Brazilians touch your heart , the greenery cools down your senses.The first thing you notice as the airplane circles the Sao Paulo airport is the vast stretch of green mountains – intriguing and breathtaking.And Campinas , it might be a sleepy suburb for Sao Paulo, but for me its a green heaven for the landscapes and open green lands will inspire you to go out for long walks or write a beautiful story.
These are few pictures from my visit to Tacquaral park in Campinas.
My heart lies in flowers and trees.My thoughts wander away to hills often.When I wish to relax and press a PAUSE button in my otherwise occupied life, I close my eyes and dream of sitting beside a waterfall in a lush green forest.So, this unplanned trip to Mussorie was a breather when the office work and mundane chores of my usual life were just getting upon me.
A friend’s post on Indian flowers inspired me to write a similar post on Korean flowers and trees I had encountered and cherished during my stay at South Korea.South Korea being in temperate zone has a diversity of flora which we normally do not come across in plains of our tropical climate.So,this was an interesting exploration.I prepared a leaf book with the help of my friend Minjoo who fortunately and co-incidently had a keen interest in study of plants and so was blessed with a wide knowledge on nature and a giant dictionary on Korean trees.My leaf book has all the leaves I collected and came to know about in Korea.I’ll share the world it carries in its tiny pages as this blogpost will evolve.I’ll keep adding the pictures to this post.For now,I am posting the pretty picture of magnolia – the beauty to watch for in Korean winters.
This picture of magnolia tree in the glory of night was clicked by Amit , a fellow-Samsungite.I always wanted this picture on my blog ever since I saw it.
After procastinating for a long time, I finally went to the plant nursery next to our apartments this Sunday.I had been wanting to buy some plants for quite a time, but wasn’t able to,because I was held back,by numerous inexplicable mental blocks.Finally, I freed myself of all the useless gossamer around me.And went with my mom-in-law to the nursery.On the way, she introduced me to a number of wild plants and creepers and their usefulness in our daily lives.So now I am friends with a few shrubs and creepers on my way home in addition to the Gulmohur and Queen’s Flower trees.
(This picture is quite an injustice to the real beauty of Queen’s flower but given I was keen on getting a photograph on cloudy breezy evening,this is the best I could manage ..hope to update this space with a better picture before this summer ends )
When we reached the nursery,I was overwhelmed to find a vast range of greenery, a friendly and kind caretaker and the cute “pagdandis” within the rows and blocks of green heaven.
It being a Sunday, only one caretaker was around who soon found himself busy with a lot of enthusiastic customers.Meanwhile,I walked around the nursery recollecting my childhood memories of all the plants I would take care of as a kid in our garden.I would get excited to see some familiar plant from those days as if I had met an old friend.While a beautiful,muti-colored insect circled me,birds chirped around excitedly as if they knew it was Sunday evening.
I was keen to buy almost a dozen plants when unexpectedly a rational thought popped in my mind, that I should first learn to take care of plants,make a routine , re-learn the basics of gardening and after that , I should go ahead with buying so many plants.
And so I bought the ones which I had wanted to buy for a long time, a red rose shrub,bela and chandni.Bela got the privilege of being placed in my balcony though it must be feeling a little alone there while all other plants are placed at another location.But I ‘ll get it some friends soon.Meanwhile, I spend some time with it and other plants every morning and evening.
Hope to see my balconies flowering soon.
Last two days,the rains poured in here .And the breeze carried all the coolness of weather with it gently.And I was lucky to walk past the rose bushes carrying bunches of beauty(but no fragrance!)in parks; creating a deep red against green summer impression in my heart.And I heard a lot of house sparrows chirping.As if life has been infused back in nature.
But it’s not so always.In my 9 months stay,I found it so uncommon to wake up to chirping birds or watch up the sky in hustle bustle with birds in flight – birds on job, birds going back home,birds- just flying.The sky is vast blue and calm with emptiness .It would be a lucky day to get to watch sparrows playfully leaping across the bushes and trees.(I am talking about a metropolitan city as Seoul or suburbs as Suwon caught up in Neon light comptt.)
But there is one bird that is commonly around;one that fills the void of a birdless sky – a Kachi(Korean Magpie).On a black and white canvas,a few strokes of purple and a tinge of flourescent green towards the tail.And then , you don’t feel alone.
Oh yes,16 days to go.
Korean Spring is laden with all beautiful colors known to nature.Just that the rain dampens the sunny feeling frequently and spoils the outing plans.Delicate pink cherry blossom.Tulips in all bright shades,chrysanthemum,roses in embellished pots,rhododendrons, dandelions,magnolia and other numerous flowers about which I am reading these days and soaking in pleasure.
After a short and sweet trip to Seoul Cherry Blossom Festival,we clicked a few photographs around our guest house and office as well, to create a colorful palette in our memories and photographs.
I’ll post a few pics soon but to start with,here is a dandelion for my blog by a generous friend Sangharsh
And dandelion reminds of this Ruskin Bond’s poem , which is as beautiful as this flower:
I think it’s an insult
To Nature’s generosity
That many call this cheerful flower
A ‘common weed’.
How dare they so degrade
A flower divinely made!
Sublimely does it bloom and seed
In sunshine or in shade,
Thriving in wind and rain,
On stony soil
On walls or steps
On strips of waste;
Tough and resilient,
When other flowers are out of sight.
And when its puff-ball comes to fruit
You make a wish and blow it clean away:
‘Please make my wish come true’, you say.
And if you’re kind and pure of heart,
Who knows?This magic flower might just respond
And help you on your way.
Be mine today.