Guest Blog By Anurag Wate: Good 'Garden' Mornings

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All of us want to have a good start to the morning. We believe that a bad start ruins the entire day. Not every morning can have a material surprise for you, nor will every morning have a bad news. Most of the mornings will be neutral and forgotten with time. How many mornings do we remember to be actually Good Mornings? The funny part is we keep wishing a good morning to everyone we meet in early hours just for the sake of it. Little are we aware of the fact that it's up to us to make each morning merry. And this pursuit of happy mornings can be achieved through very small things, which happened to be a small garden in the balcony in my case.

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Our house in Nagpur has over a hundred plants, saplings and trees as a part of the garden, thanks to my father's passion towards gardening. It is indeed admirable to maintain such a terrace garden in a city where in summers the Sun makes sure that the mercury reaches 50 degrees Celsius. It requires a lot of personal care and attachment to take the efforts to water all those plants daily twice, to spend the weekends removing weeds, manuring and cleaning the vases. I remember my father's Ramu Kaka look wearing white bandi and putting a red gamcha around his head when he spent the entire Sunday morning with these kids of his, as he fondly calls them. He often asked me to water the plants in the evenings, which I was totally disinterested in but still did it halfheartedly. I could never comprehend the satisfaction he got through gardening but supported out of sheer obedience.

Years later, it was a bad Saturday morning in Hyderabad due to the hangover of the party last evening. So maybe, out of guilt I decided to get some saplings from a nearby nursery. The balcony attached to my room in our flat here was good enough to accommodate a few plants. I went with one of my flat mates and selected 3 plants - a colored-leaf plant, a Hybrid Rose and a seasonal flowering plant. I wanted to see if I can make them survive and then expand the garden. This was followed by a circus of carrying those three vase-based plants on a two-wheeler, finding a spot where early sun would be available for them and shade during the rest of the day, watering them enough to survive the whole day and most of all patiently waiting for them to grow and bloom with fresh leaves and flowers. Sadly, the season plant gave up as soon as the season was over, but the other two bloomed and grew and blossomed. Confident, I got another couple of plants in the Spring and that's how I understood the cause of satisfaction through gardening that almost a decade ago my father was trying to introduce me to. But it's never too late I guess.

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It's almost a year now since that Saturday morning. Each day, I wake up and visit 'my kids' as a first thing, water them, take pictures of the new surprises they have for me and send the pictures back to my family in Nagpur, at times post them on Facebook as well. Sometimes, these surprises are multiple buds on a same branch, sometimes fresh pink leaves and sometimes an audacious fiery red flower bloomed in spite of the burning heat in town. When I am out of town, the responsibility to take care of them is over to my flat mates and cook. Once I am back, the leaves and flowers tell me through their appearance whether they were taken good care of, which is mostly the case (not to offend my flat mates). Enthusiastically, I have got a set of gardening tools and dried cow dung back from my trip home this time. This new interest of mine awakes a lot of soft aspects of one's personality like parenting, caring, empathy and many more.

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This early morning practice makes sure that my morning is good and happy. I have found this trick to rise happy every morning and it was found through a small step of getting a few plants on a bad morning. Still early days to boast about it.  Some years later when I visit this blog again, I will either feel guilty of letting this practice go off or will be happy to have continued this. Whichever the case, this family of mine will always be close to my heart. This blog is a selfish attempt to bind myself by the commitment of perseverance to maintain this small garden.

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