At the end of a rainbow

Lucy found her diamond sky

Quiet flows the passion

on March 29, 2016

Tucked away in the cantonment area of a city yet to feel the full blast of urbanisation and ‘smart development’ lives Mr D on his one-acre farm. A most self-effacing personality, he preferred talking to his plants rather than humans around him. “I always loved gardening, I grew vegetables at school too…” he mentioned on being asked the motivation behind his painstaking efforts to grow a plethora of plants around his house for the past 20 years. His latest achievements have taken the local horticulture society by storm, as he has managed to cross-pollinate different varieties of hibiscus plants to grow flowers having novel colours and leaf shapes. It is almost like watching Mendel in the 21st century, except that time seems to flow differently once you enter the garden, abuzz with the biological cycles of different plants, animals and insects; it is no longer linear. As he explained the various cycles of growth, maturation, death and rebirth of the plants he shares an intimate connection with, one is only made to realise how stark and artificial are the boundaries we create in our relationship with nature. Perhaps the paradox of our society lies the fact that the more we seem to ‘know’ about nature, all the way up to distant galaxies, the lesser we seem to ‘experience’ what it really is. Indeed, if the act of holding a ripe tomato grown in one’s garden can seem like a surreal experience, or walking naked feet on grass wet with the morning dew seem like a luxury, haven’t we lost connection with something fundamental to our being? As Alan Watts once wrote, “You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.”

At the centre of his farm, we came across a huge Mango tree. He explained it was planted by his father by tying four different varieties of tiny Mango saplings together. As they grew, the stems fused to form a single trunk such that now a the tree yields different varieties of mangoes. It seems miraculous, yet so natural for things to grow together. Now, he did the same with a few Hibiscus saplings and wonders if different coloured flowers will grow on the same plant. A tender bond of curiosity passed on from father to son.  Along with it a quiet passion to salvage the fast eroding biodiversity, and an intimate knowledge of plants gained through direct experience. Perhaps, more people will embody his spirit and find themselves re-awakening to ancient wisdom. As the Earth continues to speak through the more sensitive of us, through enchanting beauty or visceral pain, we are forever embedded in a web relationships often forgotten. If only we are willing to listen, there is much to learn, much more to unlearn.

(Illustration by Emily Hughes from The little gardener)


2 responses to “Quiet flows the passion

  1. hiraman says:

    Who is the person. And where is his farm.

    • debbiebornfree says:

      I know him as Mr.Deshmukh. He stays in the camp area, Belgaum. He actually has two farms, a small acre plot around his house and a huge farm about 40 kms from Belgaum. The interesting stuff happens around his home 🙂

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