Prompt : Role model
Facing my veranda is a sight whose soothing and reassuring effect has worked miracles on me. Like a poster advert, I stand, my first sights and sounds of the day, with a cup of tea on the verandah gazing at a garden full of evergreen plants, shrubs and trees : Ficus, Egyptian Fir, Pisonia, Bougainville, Indian Almond, Mango, Yellow Gulmohur, Jamun and Palm trees. I realize the uncanny addiction to this sight when travelling or out for a few days.
Hitched to this sight is a surpassing one - a figure, wiry and gaunt, with a spray pipe in hand. Our mali ( hindi word for gardener ), seven days a week, is seen tending to plants and trees. He works the early morning shift from 5.30 to 9. Re-potting, fertilizing, pruning, replanting, clearing the withered or decayed leaves, gently excavating the weeds, moping grass etc.,
he has become an omnipresent figure in the garden. Although he has been there for over 25 years, I managed to ask his name last year. He looked askance but said it in long drawn-out tone - Daji.
Daji would remind me of, my favorite poet, Wordsworth's highland lass in 'The Solitary Reaper', mowing hay on a bright summer day, murmuring a song. He is lost in the 'flow' of work, oblivious of time, place and achieving a complete union with the act itself. I have experienced such a 'flow' many times before - talking to a friend where the conversation gets crisp with every moment, reading, listening to music. But it has rarely sustained the ravages of daily cares and work. It keeps coming back but leaves remnants whose undercurrents are deep enough to bring a urge, like a lover pining for the past, craving to relive those...