In the days of childhood, when the only worry was how to finish my day's homework and the evening's started with sweet smell of wet mud and was followed by the bells of street hawkers selling chaat , kulfi and various other lip smacking eatables and subsided with the lengthening shadows.
Back in those days of fun and frolic, we had a beautiful garden . My Father had a deep fondness for maintaining a beautiful garden and my mother never objected that, which resulted in giving us sweet memories with Maali-Dada and our beautiful garden. Maali-Dada was not just a gardener, he was the one who connected us the beautiful green world and was like a family to us.
I still remember, how we used to wait for clock to strike 4' o clock in those sultry summers, when Maali-Dada used to visit us on his bicycle and we got one reason to move away from the books and out of house and see the blue sky. And from there on started our eventful evening close to nature.
He would first take a stroll of the whole garden, something like a quick inspection or hello to all our green colored friends. An eye to eye conversation took place between them and and they told him everything what they need and he knew it all. After which he would take a second round with his equipments (shovel, fertilizer, disinfectant/ weed controller etc etc) from the storehouse and now he would individual meet them and heel their wounds and give them what they need which can be shifting them to a new place slightly bigger or more shady place depending upon the need. We (me and by brother) would silently watch him doing these activities and after this came the time to water plants and I would excitedly ask him that should i start the tap and put the pipe ! as I could not wait to smell the sweet, welcoming, scintillating and refreshing smell of damp mud and green lush around. A smell that was 100 % real. Smell of Damp Mud !
Such a beautiful love it was, unsaid and unknown language of nature ! With the commence of every new season he would introduce us to new plants. He would make a list of his choice of plants for the season and discuss with dad on one of the weekend and fix a day with him to get them. Winters brought us lovely roses, daisy, chrysanthemums and not to forget the vegetables we had ranging from spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, radish, eggplant, lady fingers to name some of them. Of these spinach was grown in abundant and which was not enjoyed just by our family but our neighbours as well ! And for us (kids) he would make us special bouquet of the fresh flowers picked up from our special garden to gift it to our friends on their specials days !
So Maali-Dada not just connected us to nature but also to our neighbours ! He was the one who introduced me to this beautiful green world and which taught us that feeling of love is present in small things in life, and it reveals itself in the most insignificant of our actions. Though Dada is no more around us but he still resides in every beautiful garden, plant, flowers that i see. He is there where ever i can find nature !