Saturday, November 26, 2011

Surfing Seeds

For a long time things had been sedate and the tits and bits which went on in the garden were not enough to stimulate me to write about them. Thankfully, there has been something different, something to cheer about and something to look forward to. I chanced across a website selling seeds and decided to try it. These concepts, though quite in vogue in other parts of the planet, are relatively new to India. I made a generous order of seeds (by my standards), and was thrilled to receive the neatly packaged courier. The seeds were sown around 15 days back and the best part is that the germination has been an astounding 90%.Internet and Satellite television have really taken the pain of being cut off from the modern way of life away from living in a small town, although, thankfully, the peace and tranquility hasn't been much affected. A few months back I couldn't grow Broccoli because of non availability of the seeds. Broccooli, although a wonderfully nutritious vegetable is remarkably absent from Indian culture and cuisine. It was perchance that a nursery had brought Broccoli seedlings a few years back and I had the unexpected pleasure of reaping the rewards of a Broccoli crop. But on finding very few takers in the town, he didn’t bring it again, leaving me cursing the town I live in. Thankfully now things have changed a lot. It is a sea change from the times when one, while on travel to distant places, used to scout for seeds and saplings; but now at the flick of a finger you can order what you want through the internet - though money still remains a basic necessity:-) The weather is excellent and besides the newly acquired seeds the older vegetables and fruits too are thriving like these Brinjals which have been aplenty, Some bitterness to add to the flavor... Salad is ready...
Pure, Carbide free, fully homegrown Bananas are waiting for harvest... and....when life gives you Lemons - collect them:-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Green is my valley

We are almost into September and the landscape here is replete with an abundance of Green. A pleasant sight, thanks to the wonderful rainy season we had, though it does make keeping the garden organized a heavy job. In India Monsoons have always been very important determinant of crop production and many a political fortunes have been made and destroyed depending on the quantum of monsoon rains. Despite the advancement and the heavy talk of maintaining a 8% growth rate, we are a primarily agrarian economy. All the scientific advancements haven't been able to make weather prediction 100% accurate, it remains an imperfect and largely unreliable science; and so a good rainy season is always a pleasant surprise...a reason to rejoice. The plants and the garden in general seem to be echoing the general mood; beautifully bejeweled with tiny droplets, gleaming in the crystal clear post rainfall Sun.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A weekend escapade

It seems that the general psychology nowadays has changed and most of us tend to get bored of the routine too easily and too quickly. It is to escape this mundane routine of life in a small town that I feel the need for frequent small vacations. Mussoorie, a beautiful hill station had served the purpose aptly for a weekend escapade, but lately it has almost become a suburb of Dehradun - with all the hustle bustle and an overflow of human species. Constant and ever increasing flow of tourists with the resultant urbanization has robbed the hill station of its erstwhile charm. Therefore, this time we went to Dhanaulti instead, which was around 28 km drive from the picture palace end of Mussoorie. Dhanaulti was like a dream. It felt as if we are high up in the clouds, or above them. Unlike other hill stations, there was no commercialization, except a few kiosks selling tea and light snacks. The air was crispy fresh, pollution and humidity-free. All of the hill station was just a ridge on the mighty Himalayas and in the name of development were two ‘eco parks’. The parks had numerous varieties of trees and a host of birds flocking to revel in the relatively virgin nature. There were, thankfully, very few hotels and restaurants. The chief attraction was untouched nature and the wonderful weather. ‘Eco parks’ had several attractions for kids in the form of rides and swings. Acres of green area on a hilly terrain with a cool mist engulfing you now and then, amidst the chirping of birds with scant humanity made the experience really unforgettable. On our way back we dropped in Musoorie for an hour or so. It was a rare stroke of good luck that we found Ruskin Bond sitting in his favorite book shop at mall road. His books have been a part of my growing up years and now they are a part of my daughter’s. Without wasting a moment she was inside the shop, requesting her favorite author for an autograph, and with which our dear ‘Bond’ promptly obliged.

Friday, April 8, 2011


It is a beautiful season. There is magic in the air and on the ground as well! looking at the profuse blooms gives a joy unparalleled in nature. This year I added some new flowers to my collection and thankfully they have all bloomed, with the unfortunate exception of Tulips. It may be the weather... or soil...or plain bad luck, but the Tulips have not blessed my garden by blooming. Silver lining is that the local nursery guy has taken a fancy for Tulips after looking at the awesome curiosity and demand they generated, so I can look forward to pushing my luck again next year. That’s what i love about gardening - the potential for continuous change. It raises my oxytocin levels to no end to see these exotic flowers blooming here in my garden. In fact the desire to flaunt these exotica pushed me out of my extreme lethargy to write this blog post :-) Liliums... Primroses... Hyacinths... are the first time bloomers. There were many issues i had with life in a small city, and not getting flower seeds/bulbs of my choice was one of them. But there seems to be a change in the air. The tastes of people are changing. And, thankfully, some nurseries here are receptive of the changing tastes.They have stocked up on many hybrids and different varieties of flowering plants. I think I can look forward to a good gardening season ahead.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Towards a healthier life

I remember reading somewhere that if you want to give someone permanent happiness, teach him gardening. It was while going through the newspaper that I came across this interesting article It is about a School in Indian city of Mumbai where they have successfully banished junk food from school canteen and substituted it with healthier alternatives grown in the School compound by the children themselves! Children were encouraged to cultivate crops which they could consume in their school lunch. Net result is that you have happier and healthier little gardeners who grow up with the satisfaction of having contributed to the betterment of environment besides adding to there own health. The world has changed rapidly over the last two decades. Advancements in Information Technology have revolutionized the way we used to do things. Globalization has resulted in nutritious traditional diets being replaced by junk food, which is heavily advertised by multinationals. Young impressionable minds find it glamorous to associate with these starchy, trans-fat full, patently unhealthy foods. One cannot fight the side effects of growing market economy with socialistic rules and regulations alone; instead, providing healthier alternatives and educating masses about them is the way to go. I admit that before reading this very inspiring news article I used to scoff at NGOs trying to teach people about environment sustainability etc, dismissing them as an attempt to gather publicity and government funds. But, thankfully I am wrong and there are some genuine and very brilliant attempts at preserving the Globe.


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