Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Of Dahlias, Chrysanthemums and Marigolds.

I have vivid memories of my idyllic childhood spent amidst Dahlias, Chrysanthemums and Marigolds. There were Dianthuses, Hollyhocks, Poppies, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Roses, Water lilies, Tiger lilies, bright Oleanders, Hibiscuses, Jasmines, night Jasmines and wild flowers with tiny little colorful florets in our garden and sometimes  clusters of white and pink periwinkle growing uninhibitedly without any tending from us.. When did all of these become a figment of my bright memories, I have had no clue. Now I adore, while I gaze at the midwestern flora and the usual green pastures bedazzled with sprightly dandelions and daffodils. The wild lilac shrubs and the sweet smelling lavender, magnolias,apple trees in spring and summer get long glances of appreciation from me.These seasonal guests bloom for a few days give us extreme olfactory and viewing pleasure and bid us good bye until the next season.

Back home we used to trouble our gardener, Rabha dada or dada, by repeatedly requesting him to bring different perennial flower shrubs, white lotuses and seasonal flowers. I once took his scooty for a jolly ride without his knowledge and on getting back home to a house full of guests, I was greeted by my mother with an inflammed rage borne out of her genuine worry for my well being. She frantically sent out people to look for me in the city while nursing nervous thoughts of kidnappings, accidents and everything bad that could happen to me. I met my angry father on the way home who did not shout at me surprisingly but showed me angry large eyes; I also met a cousin of mine on my way home; he immediately seiged my plans to travel more on dada's scooty by shouting at me and seizing the scooter from my hands. I got the beating of a life time from my mother who depended on victorian corporal punishment with a slick cane in this case a cane meant for supporting sweet peas. I did not make a fuss because no amount of beating could move me then, since I had already developed a thick skin. I just closed my brains to the fact that there was an event in the house and I acknowledged that I was courageous/stupid/adventurous enough to go missing from the house before a joyous event. That was the wild bird in me raring to create a ruckus at my pleasure and at the dismay of others around me.After the sturdy beating my parents felt bad at the sorry figure I cut in the porch lights pouring water on the cane marks on my calves and palms,so they gave me extra pieces of cake. I could care less of the beating because the amount of satisfaction I got by riding the scooter freely for an hour without any intervention, phone calls, the feeling of polluted Guwahati crisp air running through my open wild hair gave me a high of happiness. While dada applauded me for bringing his scooter back without a scratch, he also grimaced at my plight later. He found no time in getting out of his extra schedule and taking his prized scooter away from my reach.
 Why a sudden rant about that particular incident and flowers?Probably because I remembered our dada so much after visiting a blog written by the wife of a bureaucrat. Dada also worked for her and he was her not so secret weapon for annual flower shows and her impeccable garden. There was fierce competition among all the flower show veteran ladies of the town over who had the cleanest lawn, whose dahlias were bigger and whose broccoli florets could make the superb annual stir fry. If any big flower won the competition, the winner gleaned and the vanquished sneered but the hero at the end of the day was dada. He was paid handsomely and was usually kidnapped by a few patrons who wanted him to work for them exclusively. His daughter Rima is a pretty girl. She was a very good student who bagged the elementary school scholarship sponsored by the Assam government. I called my mother today while nursing my mushy spaghetti hamstrings due to yesterday's Crossfit class that I was avoiding or rather attending sporadically last week. I got to know that Rima who was that little girl in LP school is now enjoying marital bliss. I was shocked, such a promising young girl married off to the suitable boy of her parents' dreams and now perhaps expecting a confinement.
FINIS

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