Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Bouquet of Chrysanthemums

It might happen anytime now. They are not welcome, at least not by me, but welcome or not they will come. They will spell the death knell for my blooming chrysanthemums. The pretty flowers will not be there to bid adieu to 2008 because the inevitable winter showers would have consumed them before that. Till then I’ll keep my fingers crossed and pamper my visual senses with the chrysanthemum(y) feast before my eyes. These are the pack leaders in providing the ‘second spring’ kind of look to my garden. The Giant Chrysanthemums require that extra bit of care and protection, but in the end the result is worth all the effort. The range of colors is amazing. They started blooming in 1st week of December and have kept the garden alive with their colors till now. Like in the past, it will be the winter showers which will herald the coldest period of the season here and pronounce the end of chrysanthemums. But, for now, it is a bright sunny day with the air fresh with the smell of Christmas just gone by and mood pregnant in anticipation of the New Year.

Monday, December 15, 2008


For good or bad, frost has not yet announced its presence here. I do not know if it is my perception or there is an actual change in weather patterns, but I do feel the winters shortening in both duration and severity with each passing year. I hope it is nothing sinister related to pollution, global warming…and all that. Well, setting these thoughts aside for now I’ll indulge in the bloom boom which stands spared for the GBBD post this Dec-08, thanks to the delayed frost: Chrysanthemums Salvias with Chrysanthemums in backdrop Bouganvilleas Poinsettia gearing up for Christmas Bouvardia- it attracts lots of butterflies. Gladioli blooming in profusion Impatiens Poinsettia 'fireball' Marigolds Thunbergia Grandiflora The diversity in the flower world is amazing, each one more beautiful than the other. Yet, a rose will always smell and seem the sweetest…

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Going Ga Ga over Green

The news tells me that it has snowed in the northern mountainous regions of my country, and I can almost feel the chill here as there has been a sudden drop in the temperature since two days. It is feels like a taste of things that lie ahead; the woolens and quilts are out of the closet, it is a Herculean effort to step out of the bliss of a soft quilt in morning, every joint of the body lodges a protest initially on being moved, a high degree of self motivation and a hot cup of coffee required to warm up and exercise, you jump around waiting for the heavenly caress of morning sunlight. The sight of the beautiful green leaves bathed in morning sun infuses a warm joyous feeling. You really feel blessed when you can simply snip off a leaf or two from the potager and very comfortably slide it in your sandwich. Spinach, I was reading somewhere, is one of the most condensed food. Here in India we prepare what is known in local dialect as Saag. It is spinach, mixed with mustard leaves and several other leaves depending on local variation, boiled, pureed and then kept on low flame after mixing with an assortment of spices. I, despite the bitter taste, love to eat it the Popeye way – munching on raw leaves while getting on with the rest of my life. Fenugreek is another powerhouse growing in my veggie garden. These iron rich green leaves are an important source of this very important mineral in the otherwise iron deficient vegetarian diets. Mustard presents a pretty picture over the vast expanse of the north Indian farm lands with their bright yellow flowers. In fact this crop has become a symbol of prosperity for farmers Cilantro or Coriander as it is more commonly known here is an integral part of Indian cuisine. The leaves serve as a garnishing while the dried and pounded seeds are used as condiment, imparting a unique flavour to the dish. Some Radish leaves with a little salt sprinkled on and a few drops of lemon juice make a delightful snack to munch on. Icing on the cake is that besides the leaves the root is edible too Leaves of the Kale plant have grown well. I got the plant mainly for its decorative value, but after reading an article on its nutritional value I am tempted to try it in a recipe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In Search of Peace

It has been a disturbing last week. It is only now that the dark clouds of the worst ever terrorist attack on India have begun to settle down. Events over the past week which involved an attack on India’s iconic symbols in Mumbai by a handful of brainwashed individuals have left us permanently scarred and insecure. A fallout of the terrorist attack has been an unprecedented anger and resentment against the country’s corrupt politicians; those who have sought to pursue their narrow minded, divisive, vote based agendas, overlooking country’s real needs; like security. The Silver lining in this otherwise darkest moment of all times has been the uniting together of all the countrymen as one. It was a heartening moment to see people across diverse creeds and faiths talking in one tone, spewing their anger against the common enemy- Terrorism. In fact, as is the situation today, with the serpent of terrorism raising its ugly head everywhere, it would be a narrow minded approach to limit the spirit of unity to a country specific; it is a global problem to be tackled by all the democracies of the world, united in action and spirit. That will be true globalization, when the countries will unite to wipe out the ideology of terrorism, when the global boundaries will dissolve, and when we can attain that perfect world order where the need for keeping armies is rendered redundant.


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