On Gardening And Such Matters That Matter

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The Missus is a plant grower.

Were you to walk into our home (small gifts, particularly of the edible variety, are always welcome), you would be greeted with a plant on top of the shoe shelf. There are a couple of other plants that jostle for space with the television set, and in two other places in the living room alone. Wash basins, mantelpieces and our kitchen counter are adorned with foliage and shrubbery of various kinds, and I’m reliably informed that there will be further additions to our plant inventory in the days to come. This is before you step onto our terrace, which is rapidly becoming a carbon sink in its own right.

Now I, as you mayhaps have gathered from the preceding, am not horticulturally inclined.

I’m not against plants, mind. If given the choice between walking along a wooded, mossy path or a busy city thoroughfare, it shall always be the former for me. And I’m certainly not shy when it comes to tending to the garden at home, as I’m comfortable in the outdoors – give me any job, I’m there – and I know how to use a leafblower (like these – Thebestleafblowers.com) when I’m given one. I’m as appreciative of Pune’s green verdant hills as the next person, and Pune’s avenues are the stuff of legend precisely because they are lined with trees. Why, I’ll even admit to the house becoming a home in no small measure because of all the flora that resides within. I am not, as I mentioned earlier, against plants.

Here’s the problem, however. Plants react to me much the same way as people in Eurasia reacted to old Gengis: not favourably. It is not so much that I am opposed to plants as they are opposed to me. And their method of voicing this opposition has been uniform over the years: they keel over and die. Without exceptions, unfailingly and like clockwork, they spot me approaching with a watering can and a winning smile, and they slit their bellies and pass on to the afterlife.

And what is particularly aggravating is the fact that they respond to the tender ministrations of the Missus with a positive outpouring of affection and healthy, robust growth. They’ll sprout leaves, bear flower and offer fruit when it’s her hand tilting the watering spout, and they’ll wither, wilt and weaken when I wield it. Does nothing for the morale, I tell you.

Which is precisely why I fail to muster enthusiasm when there is talk of increasing the Jumanji quotient of our home. It is hard to live in an atmosphere in which one just knows that silent reproach is the overarching theme, and gentle horror is the predominant emotion.

There is however, I am happy to report, a silver lining to this sorry tale. The latest inclusions to our miniature forest are likely to be of the edible variety. Basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and mint are words that are being bandied about, in addition to chilies, and there is a strong rumor, hopefully true, about strawberries. All excellent suggestions, and I would even venture to suggest coriander, tomatoes and maybe lemons, if I may.

Now this kind of gardening I can live with. I won’t water ‘em, I won’t touch ‘em, but hey – I’ll gladly eat ‘em.

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni