Has anything happened?


I used to be an avid gardener many years ago. And then, we moved cities. I had to give away my plants multiple times and my heart broke each time I had to bid adieu to them. So, when I moved to my current home, I decided that I would not grow any plants and thus not get attached to them again!

I do have a few plants that have been gifted to me by friends. I have been caring for these. However, it was not until a couple of weeks ago that I decided to get back to gardening.

Inspired by a friend’s garden, I bought pots, soil, seeds and other basic equipment. I spent that weekend potting, planting seeds and watering as required.

The wait began. The whole family got involved in the process. Every morning my son would get up and ask me, “Has anything happened?”

For the first week, my son and I paced to and from the balcony on our various trips to the kitchen or to the dining room. The soil remained as it was, tiny white pieces of pebbles dotting its rich, dark brown surface.

One morning, just a week later, I saw the tiniest pairs of green leaves, bright against the dark of the soil. So, so tiny. I ran to wake my son up. Soon, we were seated around the pot, our eyes peering at this tiny miracle of creation.We smiled in excitement.

Now, I feel like a new mom all over again, constantly tending to these new babies in our home. The other night, when the skies opened up, I ran at midnight to bring the pots indoors.

I have fallen in love all over again with these beautiful plants. Plants that will grow when we are not watching them, just like our children. Plants that will grow proud and tall and wave merrily in the breeze. Plants that will flower and bring joy. Plants that will bear fruit and seeds for this magic of life to continue.

I sit down again on the balcony and peer down. My husband calls out, “Has anything happened?”

I murmur to myself, “I know something magical is happening, but I can’t see it just yet.”

Mrs & Mr. Myna


It is about to rain. The skies are about to open up. Time seems to have slowed down. A cool breeze sweeps into the house giving us a heads-up about the rain that will soon follow.

The trees are swaying and whispering. I am sitting on the couch, between chores. The house is dark, with the sudden grey enveloping us. Outside, the green of the trees contrasts beautifully with the deep grey of the sky.

It is at this specific moment that two myna birds land on my balcony. They are quite vocal. Looks like they are husband and wife, and for sure, they seem to be arguing.

One of the mynas pecks at a wooden twig from my white orchid plant, and says something loudly to the other myna. They go back and forth, debating the merits of a certain twig, or a certain tree to build their nest in. They are oblivious to the breeze, and the grey, heavy clouds.

Their eyes and beaks flit constantly – possibly evaluating the strength of my orchid twigs. All through, they keep up their banter, now loud, now soft, now raucous.

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  Courtesy – http://www.wunderground.com

As the first heavy drops begin to plop down, the pair jump on to the balcony railings and swoop down into one of the trees. They are now beautifully camouflaged, probably continuing their conversation about where they can set up a stable and cozy home to welcome their little ones into the world.

Maybe, if the twig from my orchid plant passes muster, they will come back again.

The rain lashes on.

My Little Peepal Tree


I have limited space on my balcony to have too many plants, but I make do with what space I have.  I have button roses, hibiscus, holy basil, orchids, curry leaves, some ferns and a silver oak, at least that’s what I thought till last week, when I saw a small Peepal Plant (also known as the Sacred Fig Tree), growing in one of the pots that used to have a small ornamental plant.  I was amazed that I hadn’t noticed this before.

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The Peepal is about half-a-foot tall, and its stem and branches are already strong and hard, signs of the beautiful tree it will grow into in a few years.  So which little bird brought the seeds of this tree to my balcony, allowing it to grow into a small plant ? Was it the myna or the pigeon or a small yellow-bird with black-edged feathers or another light green bird with a longish-beak, that flutters down the hibiscus plant everyday?

I am humbled by this miracle of nature.  In my excitement, I walk around the condominium looking for other Peepal Trees.  I am unable to see even one. I widen my search on my morning walking route.  I see neem, mango, and other trees, but not a single Peepal.

I imagine the myna or the pigeon, flying out for the day to a far off place and coming back with the seeds, to take a breather on my balcony, before they fly away to their homes.  Did they go to meet friends there? Did they go to look for food?

A whole big tree hidden in a small seed, carried by a little bird from a faraway place, the soil accepting this new baby, and nurturing it & caring for it, till it suddenly comes out of the soil in all its glory, waiting to take on the world.

My friends warn me that the Peepal Tree’s roots are very strong and hard, and can break through walls and cracks.  I know, I know. I will take it to the right home, maybe to a national park or a plant nursery.  But for the next few days, I will enjoy seeing it grow, after all it was born in my home, on my balcony…..so I will love it for a few more days.

With its beautifully shaped leaves, and woody stem, I can see how this plant will tower above the other plants in my balcony, outliving them, outliving even all of us, I imagine.

Maybe children will play under its shade, maybe a young couple will sit under its shade in the botanical gardens, maybe a jogger will stop under its cool shade to take a break and then maybe, many years from now, a little bird will carry its seeds to the balcony of one of my grand children!

I love you, my little Peepal Tree. Stay safe and grow well.