As an avid reader, nothing gives me more joy than receiving a book as a present, to the extent that I don’t even mind receiving books that I have already read. Hence, it was natural for me to feel that there did not exist a gift more perfect than a book. But on World Environment Day, I realized how wrong I was when I received a highly thoughtful and considerate gift from my alma mater for judging a competition a do-it-yourself plant kit.
Even though I have always been partial to gifting books to my near and dear ones, the only other gifts I like giving people are pots of bamboo shoots. And even then, it was always for a reason a colleague bagging a promotion, a friend preparing for an exam, or a relative recuperating from a bout of ill health for bamboo trees are said to bring good luck and wealth when gifted.
In return, my friends and relatives have gifted me many a bamboo plant, too. But a do-it-yourself plant kit was a pleasant surprise. The heavy box containing a pot of soil, three recycled flower pots, and three sets of basil, chili, tulsi seeds, and ice-cream sticks to place in the plants to identify them after potting them. The best part was that it was eco-friendly, with everything natural, reused, or recycled.
Gradually, I realized how fulfilling it is to watch your plants grow. Every morning, over a cup of black coffee, realization sets in as to how patient the entire process has made me. I recollected my childhood when for a school assignment, we all had to grow some gram seeds on a bed of cotton to understand the process of germination. I was thrilled when the gram seed finally sprouted. Decades later, watching my new plants was equally enthralling for me, even if I now have a few strands of white hair.
Plants have long been proven to spread positivity, apart from being a good source of oxygen. Having stayed in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru for the better part of the last decade, greenery was generally to be found in parks or on the outskirts of cities, for which one had to travel far.
When I returned to Chandigarh last year, I discovered a new love for the natural foliage that lends the city its moniker City Beautiful. With the monotony that has set in our lives because of the constant threat of the coronavirus looming large, I have long thought of trying out gardening to learn a new hobby. Fortunately, my kit arrived just when I was about to procrastinate.
They say that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. But a plant or a tree, if looked after well enough, gives us life and happiness beyond that it spreads positivity, gives us fruits and vegetables, shade in the summer, and a home for birds. I guess we have finally found the perfect gift for all occasions something that we can never have enough of!
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