22 February, 2011

Lotus, Rose

Ask anyone about his/ her favourite flower and 90-95% of the time, the answer will be 'Rose'!
Roses are among my favourite flowers too. Agreed, they don't last as long, but, I prefer the hardy, aromatic 'local' varieties to the hybrid ones.
The 'Taavare Gulaabi' is one such non-hybrid rose. Taavare is 'lotus' & Gulaabi, 'rose'.
I won't say 'Well done!' if you get the origins of the name right, but, if you still haven't got it, check out this lotus at a lake nearby...

04 February, 2011

Remembering an old friend

Brr...it's co--ld...makes me wonder if this is global cooling!! My friend, Guttappajja (Grandpa Guttappa) would have predicted a good monsoon for the coming season. You know, according to local wisdom, if the winter is co---ld, the following monsoon will be heav---y. Mild winter = low rainfall.

The weather used to be Guttappajja's favourite topic. Not surprising, because, he was a farm hand.. and, the weather was THE deciding factor for all his works. When I knew him, Guttappajja had retired from active farm work. He would spend his mornings idling here and there. Some times, around mid-morning, he would drop in and do some gardening works at his discretion - pulling out weeds, loosening the soil around plants, providing supports to weak plants,...

After about half an hour, he would call me and that would be my cue - to provide some breakfast and tea/ buttermilk. The first time, I had offered him money for his work, and, he had refused...he had even snubbed me! Obviously, I had offended him. After that, we never talked about money.

While eating, Guttappajja would talk to me - about the weather, gardening tips, town gossip, his family,... Having spent a life time as a farm hand, he knew everything about growing plants - such a BIG help for a novice like me, especially with the kitchen garden (must share those simple, organic tips some time). After eating, Guttappajja would abruptly leave..to smoke a beedi perhaps, and I wouldn't see him again that day!

Guttappajja had poor vision due to old age and if I realised that he was pulling out weeds, I would rush out and linger around...just to make sure that he wouldn't pull out the ornamental plants- he didn't care about them!
He would always chide me- 'No fruits, no flowers.. why do you want them!'

Well... a few years ago, Guttappajja passed away - peacefully, in his sleep. In fact, just 2 days before his death, he had loosened the soil around some of the plants here :(

Sometimes, just like that, I remember Guttappajja and his mostly one-sided conversations with me.
Last evening, I had noticed that the bamboo plants are in bloom. According to another bit of traditional wisdom, flowering of the bamboo implies drought. Must wait and watch... and form my own theory :)
Every time I see Guttappajja's college-going grand kids, I'm reminded of how he used to criticise his sons (farm hands) for 'wasting' money by sending their children to schools.
But, it is when I see vegetables like this in the garden that I think of him the most.

He wouldn't have allowed this to happen :(

Century on the Bronze Anniversary!

This is my100th post, and today is the eighth birthday of Alter Idem !! That's an average of a post per month......1.04 to be precise!!...