My wife is a bohemian soul in a most delicate and sublime manner.
Suppose an ant bites her.
“Poor thing, it can do no harm. Let it have its fun!” She would look at the ant affectionately and let it bite her.
She loathe the idea of killing anything – let it be cockroaches that has encroached and made their lavish dwelling in our mahogany cupboards, the spiders who have spun nets over the Belgian crystal Chandler in the living room, the house lizards that played hide and seek between the original Jamini Roy paintings. I kind of felt guilty when I asked the housekeeper to get rid of them without her seeing it.
“Sapan, can’t we live without killing anything? I wish I could let be in a jungle, these concrete walls and your white Italian marble is suffocating me. Would you please let me go?” She would ask me as if in a dream.
“Absolutely not. If you want, I will leave everything and come with you to any jungle. But I won’t let you go.” I would tell her.
I met this young environmental activist during one of the CSR initiatives of my company. The moment I saw her, I was flipped. She reminded me of a fairy, a jungle goddess. She didn’t say yes to me for an year. She was afraid that I was way too materialistic. It was three years back. Ever since, she helped me listen to the music of life. My perspective towards people and nature changed. She added beauty to my mundane existence. She could rekindle life in anything, just like she did it with that scrawny, withering plant that she brought home an year back like a homeless dog.
She had twisted her ankle, trying to put back a birdling that fell of from the guava tree in the portio. She had all packed to go for a nature camp in Uttarankhand. It was something she was looking forward to the whole year. I tried to persuade her out of it but I knew it wasn’t a going to work.
“I will be your wife, but Sapan I will never pawn my free will to you. I will definitely take your opinions but the final decision about my life will be mine” she had told me when I proposed to her. She looked like a fireball in her Vermillion Saree.
All throughout the camp she struggled with her twisted ankle. She wasn’t ashamed of accepting it. But she accepted my offer of a flight ticket from Derahdoon to Bangalore.
“I am bringing you a gift” she told me in her bubbly, mischievous voice. Sometimes she reminded of a child with a cone of ice cream.
“Here you go.” She gave me a earthen pot and an almost withered plant.
“Is this your gift?and you carried this heavy pot with your leg in this condition? What was the need of this?” I rolled my eyes as I asked her. She threw her arms around my neck and kissed me gently on my lips. My anger melted away in matter of seconds.
“it is a Parijat plant. When it flowers the smell would be heavenly. I am planning to plant it in the center of the patio. We can have a table by it and have a candle light dinner when it flowers. And I wanted to tell you something else. I am pregnant.” My joy knew no boundaries.
The next nine months she nurtured the Parijatha plant in the same way she nurtured our baby in her. She looked at it gently as each leaf sprouted. I looked at the scan reports and our baby was growing healthy too. She delivered our beautiful daughter in December and we named her Tara. However the Parijatha flower didn’t flower. While Tara slept peacefully in her pram, she tried to revive the puny plant. She poured water even in the monsoons, flooded it with manure. But the plant was just adamant. I got a Gardner to help her. After examining her favorite plant he nodded his head.
“ No, this isn’t Parijatha, it’s just a weed that resembles that tree. It is not going to flower ever” He declared.
I thought she would be disappointed.
“We can remove it if you don’t want to see it again,” I offered.
She gave me a withered smile. She gently stroke the leaves and told me.
“Sapan, it’s not the fault of the plant that we misunderstood it. It was just our expectations. Will get rid of Tara, if she doesn’t meet our expectations?” I stood there dumbfounded.