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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring’s Bounties

Spring the king of seasons is at its peak at the moment. Vegetation which was smarting under the bane of intense cold is back to its full glory. It is amazing to see the change wrought by nature around the house and mesmerizing to feel the beauty unleashed by assorted plants, shrubs and trees.

Spring ushers the rebirth of nature and brings hope to mankind of better days to come. A poet has echoed this sentiment so aptly, “No matter how long the winter spring is sure to follow.”

Around my front lawn lilies are in a rage of full bloom. While enjoying the sight in the fresh morning breeze and closely watching them, I noticed an unbelievable nature’s marvel. There were many reed like stems sprung up almost unobtrusively-in a short span of time- with a stylish bud on top of each stem which has loosened itself into full blossom in three days, first a pair then the third and lastly the fourth exactly in that order.

The few rose bushes, which I have, display a riot of colour not in the yard alone but in my drawing room also. I am crazy about the sight and smell of roses. I carefully remove some partly blossomed ones, cut their stems at an angle and let them float in a wide brimmed glass bowl filled with water. It provides soothing aroma and a visual delight for days together.

Chrysanthemum plants are already showing signs of rejuvenation after the onslaught of winter. ‘Curry Patta ’bush has come up with glistening leaves and tiny white flowers on the ends of the branches which are attracting buzzing bees and flitting butterflies. In due course of time these flowers will mature into seeds and fall along side the bush resurfacing in almost a crop of baby saplings in the rainy season.
I am an aficionado of growing household herbs and have two potted Aloe Vera which I grow for medicinal purposes. It has multiplied and stalks look healthy and fleshy. In a few days time, I am going to cut the stalks, scoop the flesh from inside and preserve it in the fridge. Where a few months ago stood my Tulsi plant burnt with cold has now a mushrooming of tiny Tulsi saplings. I am waiting for them to grow a bit more before I start using the fresh leaves in my morning cuppa of tea. Mint bed is filling itself again with dark green fresh looking leaves ready for pudina cutney season.

Two huge Neem trees grow along the outer side of my house (mine is a corner house).They too are having new shoots now but after inundating the area with shed leaves to the chagrin of my gardener. The bougainvillea shrubs nearby are in full splendour of pretty looking yellow, pink, red and purple flowers. The squirrels are having a field day scurrying up and down the neem. The cuckoo is already in a joyous mood and coo coos perched on the mango tree budding profusely.

The cycle of renewal is so spontaneous and automatic in nature that we hardly notice its movement. Though we have evolved in the midst of nature but in the race of life have severed our umbilical relationship with it. This sentiment is succinctly expressed by W.H .Davies in his poem ‘Leisure’, where he says “what is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” By abusing the flora and fauna man is inviting its own annihilation. It is heartening that so many organizations are coming forward to save the planet earth through the medium of their various campaigns. I hope they succeed!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Women’s clubs serve a useful purpose

(published in Life Style magazine of The Tribune dated 25th February,2010)

Women’s clubs have become ubiquitous in upper middle class communities and are considered to be an important medium of social networking. In the modern day fast pace life when leisurely visits around neighbourhood have become few and far between these provide opportunities for the ladies to meet and interact with each other once fortnightly or monthly. The members are mostly a medley of all adult age groups. The meetings are hosted by turn and the menu is always kept simple: a cup of tea and two healthy snacks.

I am a member of two such clubs and always look forward to the periodic get - together. These are running very successfully and make me feel a part of the neighbourhood.

Apart from the socializing and entertainment angle (we play two tambola games and it is such fun) the attend freshens me up and updates me about the goings on in my locality. There is always a healthy exchange of views on household remedies, cooking tips about individually tried recipes and pros and cons of certain specific exercises for common problems faced by many. The gaiety, cheer and camaraderie which are generated prove a
stress buster for all.

There is generally a tête-à-tête about important tasks which require attention and efforts are made to pass on the suggestions to the appropriate welfare association of the area. Such steps lead to the redressal of grievances.

Most importantly such kitty clubs act as a sort of anti-depressant particularly for non working ladies by giving them a chance to escape household drudgery and enjoy some change of environment at least for a short time. Definitely it helps all to unwind.