Ajay Pai, a Facebook friend and a real life friend updated his status "Only a few people can feel the rain, others just get wet! :D". I replied with, "I feel, I live and I breathe rain ! I am Rain !"
My relationship with rain is an affair for a life time. A Blog-post can never aspire to do justice to this topic. Hence I wouldn't attempt it here. Some day I might try writing a novel if I get that far. Today, let me narrate a story. Well, two in fact.
Once upon a time, there was a little boy in a small town. Let us name him Raju because he was very fond of Raj Kapoor. And let us name the town Karkala. Like all boys, he was full of mischief, fun and zeal for life. Raju did two years of his primary school staying at his maternal grandfather's house with his elder sister and cousins. That was because his Mom had difficulty managing a precocious little boy and his baby sister.
Raju subsequently moved to his father's house along with his elder sister when he was 7. Though these places were just 2 km apart, culturally they were totally different.
Raju father's house was a busy, bustling and big place with over 20 people and a lot of workers. This place was always brimming with activity. They had three shops right in front of the house and there never was dearth of action. Though the paternal grandfather was a disciplinarian, the general atmosphere still was jovial. There were movies, music and masti. The boys and girls grew up on Mukesh, Manna Dey, Mohammed Rafi, Lata, Raj Kapoor and Bachchan.
But the maternal home was different. Grandfather was an award winning farmer. Uncle had a small hotel that was famous for the onion uthappa. Grand-mom was an angelic lady who took care of everyone around till she fell ill. There were paddy fields, coconut and areca farms and a lot of vegetable was grown all over. It was brown and green all over. On the negative side, but for the fantastic Mama, there was little to cheer at home.
Living in such a place inculcated in Raju an early love for plants and gardening. He loved to look after the farms, water the crops and helping with odd jobs. But the grandpa being the tough guy he was, never allowed the boys to meddle with his flora. Into Class 3, Raju moved to his father's house and settled down with a new school and new set of friends.
They had an acre of land adjacent to their house with a lot of coconut trees, mango tress, cashew trees and a small flower garden. Once the boy saw this, he started attending the garden. Gradually it became a routine for the 8 year old. Every evening, he spent at least an hour with his 'friends'. The little boy started talking to his friends and they did listen to him.
Within next three years, Raju planted and 'brought up' butter beans, brinjal, several different types of Dahlias and many more vegetables in a small patch of land close to the well. He and his cousin made use of the farm and even had their own cozy little tree-house on the branches of a tall mango tree. Apart from this, Raju did a lot of gardening at school too.
And then tragedy struck on a fateful winter day. Coming back from school in the evening, he rushed to his garden to see the whole place decimated. Parbu, the man hired by his grandpa to clean the garden had completely weeded out his garden of flowers, vegetables and cotton plant.
Raju was shattered. He cursed and scolded the dirty old man and complained to elders about carnage. Parbu had left the weed in other parts of the farm to stand and demolished his garden of Eden brought up with 3 years of hard work in just one afternoon. But the elders were totally insensitive. The Grandpa even admonished him for being rude to the destroyer.
The little farmer was devastated. He couldn't swallow the tragedy of seeing his friends lying there mowed down to earth. Adding insult to injury, the old man got away Scott free. It was murder, in fact mass genocide. But he had no sympathizers. Those people who had gorged on his vegetables conveniently preferred to forget all that and looked away.
His Mom did commiserate with him. But she couldn't have done anything more. With a broken heart and a sulking mind, Raju decided never to plant another sapling in his life; he never did ! May be, a passionate farmer or a gardener or an agriculturist was assassinated that day along with his beloved plants.
A depressing tale is not all I have to tell. There is a beautiful sequel to this story. That is the story of...
The Malgoa Tree !
The boy grew up with his love for the greenery intact. Though he never owned a plant, he never allowed any harm being heaped on trees or plants. As we already know, they had many mango trees in their farm. One of them was a Malgoa tree. It was a unique tree because the mangoes it yielded were huge. They were as big as coconuts. Though the number of mangoes were 125 - 150 every year, it was a sensation for the size and the taste. Every year, relatives and friends used to wait for their share of the wonder-fruit.
|Malgoa: What we had were much bigger than these !|
Raju moved to a barren place in 1988 for his studies, aiming for a greener future. Perhaps as a coincidence, the Malgoa tree started to dwindle in yield. The numbers had fallen to single digit and by 1990, it was completely barren. It yielded not a single mango for next 6 years.
In 1997, the family decided to cut it off and clear the area because it was a huge tree and was now becoming nuisance. Raju was now working and living away from home. With time, he was now known as Raj. He had to voice his opinion now because it concerned his love for the tree. He pleaded with everyone at home to spare the tree for one more year, just one more !
The summer of 1998 was a windfall. The tree yielded over 180 huge and lovely mangoes. Everyone was surprised but not Raj. He knew that would happen. Knowing the nature of humans, the Malgoa tree decided to end it all the next summer and succumbed to ravages of time. But it did so after a last hurrah.
The little boy turned Doctor was convinced of one thing. Jagadishchandra Bose was right.
The plants do have life. Why, they even listen to, understand and love those who love them !