Just gardening..!

SOMETHING I do every morning before I sit down to write is to see what the gardener is up to. Generally he’s up to much; washing the cars of folk who stay in my colony, picking up the leaves that fell through the night, chatting with the watchmen on why the rains should come on time, and a lot of other things, except gardening. Somehow or other the gardener here hates gardening or so it seems.
I love gardening and remember wonderful mornings spent as a child in the garden that I nurtured. There was a water shortage then and water used to be brought home by either water carrier Gopal or Thimmaiah from a well which seemed to have enough for all the houses around. We paid these two hefty gentlemen by the bucket and my mother would not have had me running this precious water on plants when her three men and her cooking needed it more urgently.
So, I like a beaver dammed the water that flowed from our baths and regulated the same into my garden. There were papaya trees, and tomato plants with spinach creepers on bamboo poles. The papaya trees grew such abundance of their yield that most meals had some form of the fruit in them, so much so that my brother and I still quickly pass the plate when papaya is served. Lately though I have been having a nibble now and then and finding a new though guarded liking for the papaya again..!
Spinach was my pride. I would bend down and go into the creepers, which rested on poles and carefully pluck the best leaves for my mother. At meal times I would look at the green with pride and eat the same with proprietary air..!
The tomatoes somehow never did me proud. They grew green and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure why no red or even a distant pink ever appeared on them. They tasted lifeless and insipid and the plants looked like they were perpetually sorry to be around, with the lifeless fruits looking more like little disgruntled grapes than lush tomatoes. I have never figured why they disliked me. Even now when passing a vegetable vendor I look at these red polished gleaming fruit and wonder which part of my green fingers played Judas to them!
This was the garden in my backyard. I’m sure any real gardener reading this piece will pooh- pooh my efforts and run me down with looks of disdain. All I can say in my defence is that with limited water supply, manure and seeds I enjoyed my time with bark ad leaf more, much more than the gardener in my colony, who still prefers to wash cars and ramble on about the weather than put hands to soil. I’m glad he cannot read for if he saw this piece I’m sure the little respect he has for my gardening skills may well disappear..!

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