At My Garden, Today



For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.
William Wordsworth

Even as a 10-year-old when I first learned this by heart to be recited at a competition, I knew deep within that these words were meant to travel with me forever. Though I didn’t know how a couch looked like, or what being vacant or pensive meant, the words had the power to capture a child’s imagination. Thus, they stayed with me and have returned on and off. And, today, is one such day.

About 2 years ago, on an impromptu trip to Trichur, I had collected some balsam seeds. Now, for those of you who think balsam is some fancy plant, it’s a small, ornamental plant native to India (at least that’s what the Internet says!). It grows to only about 1 to 2 feet and has some most beautifully colored flowers. Bright pink, white, and muted pink are its common colors. But, in Trichur I saw this brilliant violet that took me by surprise and what happened next is of course anybody’s guess: I was on my fours collecting the seeds to grow them closer home.

It’s almost 2 years since that day. Only a couple of months ago, I cleaned out an old bag and threw some aster seeds I had bought in a store. In just about two days, I saw familiar little leaves sprouting. In a week’s time, I knew they were balsam seeds; did the shop guy give me balsam instead of asters, I thought. I waited for some more days, and in the morning today, on our (my son and I) garden stroll, we spotted the bright violet balsam smiling at us. Kavin smiled, gave one his rare focused stares, almost asking me the story behind my ear-to-ear grin. Maybe one day, he will read this post and get his answer. Until then, he may have to wait…

Balsams were introduced to us by mom, who ensured that there was at least one tiny plant, could be anything (an onion, roses, chrysanthamums, etc.) growing in the vicinity. And, she swore that it was dad who had a green thumb, and the poor man was always egged on to plant the seeds, which he did with at least a particle of annoyance, but also with a secret thrill that the plants will definitely come out. So, at one such gardening activity, daddy planted some balsam seeds and in just few days, there were hundreds (ok, am exaggerating) pink and white balsam flowers. Dad and I grinned ear-to-ear on that day. Just the way I grinned today as Kavin smiled. Was it the same handsome smile of daddy that often comes to the inward eye when I on my couch lie in a vacant and pensive mood? Maybe yes…dad lives, his memories return in ever so many beautiful ways.

This balsam is for you, daddy. Will call it the Tom Balsam. 

Comments

Super super!!! Yes I rem our balsams :):)
Anonymous said…
Such a lovely nostalgic piece! I have to see your garden.

~M
Tumaini said…
Its nice you keep sharing things of your interests... like cooking and gardening.

Continue to verupathify us... :P

PS: We can never forget your ear-to-ear grin!
Nithya said…
:D I am coming to see.
Vikis Kitchen said…
Nice way to remember your dad. Balsam is a must for every plant lover. That balsam in picture is rare. Pinkish orange variety I had was my most favorite:) I had a very nice garden while in India...happy memories on seeing the balsam for me too:)
Hey Hannah! Did you notice? There is 'Tom' in your every single 'tomorrow'!

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