15 June, 2013

Bachelors' buttons

You know, someone out there comes up with interesting names for common flowers. Names like 'Red-hot Cat's Tail', 'Queen's tears', 'Flaming Katy', 'Bleeding Heart',........

Most of you would have come across this flower. It is a very common border plant. But, did you know? It's called 'Bachelor's Button'!!

Apparently, young men (in the west, of course!) wore these flowers on their shirts. If the flower faded quickly, it meant that the man's love was not returned.

Very clever! Because, this flower does not fade quickly!!

Think of THE woman... wear the flower... if it doesn't fade, approach her and confess.... is this how this is supposed to work??

Well... I'm unable to come up with any other logical explanation!!
All along, I was under the impression that only giddy-headed young girls indulged in flowers & 'he-loves me, loves-me-not' sort of stuff!

This flower here, is called 'Brazilian Bachelor's Button'. Off the plant, this flower fades quickly. Otherwise, it stays for a few days. The Brazilian man is not very patient, I guess!

This plant is very hardy and such a weed here that I have a tough time controlling it from spreading!! No dearth of love from Mother Earth for all the Brazilian bachelors here!!

Just check out their scientific names - the first flower here is known as Gomphrena globosa and the second one, Centratherum punctatum - both, so 'un-pronouncable' & 'un-rememberable' !

 Speaking for myself, I prefer to remember flowers by their simpler names - especially, names that have cute little anecdotes behind them....

PS: There is no flower called  'Indian Bachelor's Button' !

01 June, 2013

Pet thoughts

During my school days, for a brief period, we had a dog and a cat - a pup & a kitten, actually!

Bumpy, the dog, treated the whole world like his long-lost buddy. That's why, he was given away to the very first person who asked if she could have him!
Chinky, the cat, had to be put to sleep thanks to some incurable illness.
After that, we had neither the time nor the inclination for pets.....

A couple of months ago, I had been toying with the idea of adopting a pet to keep me company -- not any more.

 It is so important to make a unanimous decision about the choice of the animal because all of us have to live peacefully in the same house!! And, our problem was precisely that! The choice of the animal!!

Dogs---NO! With dogs, we (my husband & the rest of us) have exactly opposite attitudes. My husband thinks that dogs should NEVER be allowed inside the house and should be tied up most of the time, preferably in some far-out corner. The rest of us feel that a pet should be able to roam freely in and out of the house - at will!

Cats---NO! All of us are not too fond of cats. As it is, our yard is teeming with stray cats and the thought that our pet could join them in harassing the neighbourhood is UNACCEPTABLE!

Rabbits, cows, etc. --- NO! Too much cleaning involved.

Caged birds--- NO WAY!

That completed our list of adoptable animals. Wonder why, 'fish' had not crossed our minds.  It was when I was passing by the new pet-shop nearby, that I had an impulsive thought! Why not, fish?!

 As long as I cleaned the bowl & fed the fish, everyone was okay with fish.

Here they are! The one on the right, with horn-like protrusions is Binkle. The other one is Flip.

It was fun to say 'hello' whenever we passed by the fish-bowl.... so good to watch them as they swam about.

 I had never thought of fish as communicative creatures. But, you know, they respond very well to human presence. Every time we passed by  them, they would come to the surface, opening & closing their mouths, anticipating food. But, they had come with some precise instructions - 'Only 2 grains of fish-food, madam...twice a day. Otherwise, they'll die of over-eating.'

Strangely, they seemed to know when it was 'food time'. They would come to the surface shaking their tail fins vigorously. Once fed, the vigorous shake would change to an elegant swish.

 Well... good things come to an end abruptly. Some 12-13 days into his life here, Binkle suddenly stopped eating. On day 15, I found him floating when I returned from my evening walk. The only thing I could do was to give him a decent funeral. Without much delay and fanfare, I buried him under the coconut tree.


Flip didn't seem lonely/ bothered/ sad. He carried on as usual. However, one evening, 2 months later, Flip was not as lively as usual.

My worst fears were confirmed the next morning. I found him floating... and repeated the burial act...this time, under the other coconut tree.

I know, everyone who has kept fish has had to deal with dead fish. I'm sure, nobody likes the sight of floating fish. I have also realised that I thoroughly dislike the task of burying dead creatures. And so, now, I'll have to say,

 Fish--- NO!

I'm so sure of this 'NO' that I have converted the fish bowl into a terrarium.


 I think, plants suit me (and all of us) the best .....

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!!...