Organic Gardening and composting has become an addiction now for me. I am obsessed in seeing what I can try to grow and compost with everything around me, whether I am in the kitchen or travelling or out shopping. I am sure all of you would agree that all of us are happy when we are engaged in doing something that contributes to the well being of our family. And composting also contributes to the goodness of the the environment.
I have grown vegetables earlier in my childhood and feel immensely proud to say that it was my mother who inspired me into this pastime when young. Back then, gardening did’nt come with the tag organic.everything done then was with natural things, there was not much use of synthetic fertilizer and also circumstances were relatively more favorable where gardens were larger and sunnier.
Now, with most of us living in flats, we have to fight certain odds like space, lack of sunshine, pigeon menace, using the right potting mix etc.
When you fight such odds and emerge triumphant by converting your limitations into possibilities the joy and pride that comes with it is inexplicable. Even a small progress in your garden during trying times fills you with optimism and hope.
I have many such moments in my little garden( if I may call this, it is just a small container patch). but the first moment which taught me this lesson is special.
That first moment was when I grew my special nostalgic chilli plant. Another of my principle in gardening is to keep it sustainable as far as possible. I avoid buying new pots, seeds from branded organic shops, fancy equipments etc. Most of my seeds are from my spice box and so one day while cleaning my spice box, I toppled the chilli container on the pot. The chilli seeds I toppled were of the little round variety called as madras milagai. This is generally not available in most shops in Hyderabad and so I who usually buy the Byadgi( a variety of chilli from a Karnataka village by the same name) and Guntur chillies( Andhra village) was excited on seeing this while walking the aisle of SPAR hypermarket.This variety is special for me not only because it is not easily available in markets of Bangalore and Hyderabad( only in a few supermarkets it is available) but also for the simple reason there is a nostalgia attached and my mind raced back to my Grand mom’s kitchen.
I have some special food memories of my Grandma’s kitchen. Her cooking was simple with the basic locally available ingredients but the arisi upma( rice upma) cooked in the brass utensil( vengala uruli) or the simple keerai masiyal(mashed greens) in kal chatty( stone vessel) had a special aroma and I who would be watering the plants in the terrace on the second floor would rush to the chimney to smell the aroma emanating through the chimney. When I rush down for lunch, From the lunch spread that was kept for serving, what comes to my mind now is the red round dry chilli used for tadka covering these dishes. My mind for some reason attributes that special aroma to the red chilli. And so I immediately picked up the packet off the shelf in the supermarket.
I used them for tadka and although I did’nt recreate the magical aroma that emanated from patti’s kitchen , I felt happy to see the sights of red round chili in my tadka over the dishes.
So, when I planted the dry seeds of this red chilli, the seeds germinated pushing forth the tough soil and it was a delight to watch the seed coats hanging precariously. The germinated seedlings went on to become big plants and I transplanted them into different pots and atta bags( I upcycle them) and after surviving transplantation shocks they bloomed. The first chilli bloom brought so much of joy and the fact that I grew my nostalgia was something very very special. But my joy was short lived, when the blossom dropped and many more blossoms bloomed and dropped too….with no hope in sight. One fine day, it taught me the lesson. Patience pays and there was a little green chili with the blossom tip hanging like a tail. Ah man! That was it, the day that taught hold on to your will, optimism and hope and you will travel to the end and ofcourse fight your limitations with patience, hope , grit and determination.
A lesson which I learnt not in a classroom, but in a mundane place like a little balcony garden where each day with sunrise throws beautiful sights and teaches me beauty and life lessons lies in every little nuance, at every nook and corner and in every activity.
This post written for #Lookup stories at https://housing.com/lookup.