Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The garden alongside my childhood home,
Not properly-kempt, no ordered flower-beds,
But straggly-sweet, trod upon by my growing feet,
Like Alice, I can drink the memory-potion, shrink, and with the golden key, enter it still....

I can see the five green coconut trees, all in a row,
One was cut down to garage the car, and then there were four.
I can see the orange betelnuts fallen on the ground,
Gather them in my skirt and dry them brown on the roof.
I can see the guava tree by the pond,
Crows pecking at the hidden red heart of the pale green fruit.
I can see the miserly mango tree,
Sharing its fruit only once every two years.
I can see the barren jackfruit tree, gaunt against the pond-horizon,
Its bare branches mocked by the flourishing flame-cannas at its feet.

I can smell the shy white petals of the dolanchampa,
And the orange-stemmed, white-starred shiuli;
Gather them carefully, the autumn grass is wet with dew,
And green caterpillars crowd under the shiuli leaves.
I can smell the secret tang of the lemon-leaves
And the green chilli's punch-you-in-the-nose spice.

I can almost-touch the nayantara's magenta-softness,
Caress the tiny jasmine with fragrant-fingertips,
Or prick them on the spoilt, sickly rose - more thorns than flowers.
Neglecting the tagar's scattered white bounty,
I can reach up to pick the sprawling hibiscus-cousins -
Pink unfurled five-petalled panchamukhi and blood-red furled lankajaba;
Or the malatilata bending under the overburden of pink-and-white blooms
Weeping near the well in the garden.

I do not know what flowers grow there now.
I tend to the memory-weeds which grow within me,
And, sometimes, water them with tears.



Keshi said...

wow that really does sounf like a HEAVEN. U've had a great childhood then, with all those fresh n lovely trees.

When I was a kid, I used to hv a similar environment in my dad's ancestral home in Sri Lanka. I miss those days!


Keshi said...

*sounds like


The Scatterbrain said...

What a beautiful memory... Isn't it sad that memories begin to fade as time goes by?
But here's the upside.... we keep creating newer memories!

SwAtI said...

Ohh wow!! really nice..

"I do not know what flowers grow there now.
I tend to the memory-weeds which grow within me,
And, sometimes, water them with tears."
These lines are so very beautiful.. :)
I dont have any garden memories.. Lived in the a few plants here n there in d balcony is all there's to it..
But yes, I have a Gulmohar tree here...that comes upto my balcony..Its fresh green leaves & fresh orange flowers always bring a smile on my face..It stands really tall n pretty.. Its a delight to see the tree in its full bloom this season.. I absolutely love it!!

Steve Ballmer said...

love it

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi, and thanks again for all your comments and thoughts. Gardens are not just trees and flowers, are they? They are also places where we DO a lot of things (no innuendo intended).

This thought of activities in the garden made me write the next post. Do add your own favourite (non-naughty) activity.

Jaquanda Rae said...

I'm surprised that quite a bit of the fruit trees you mentioned are here in Jamaica...I think Indians carried them to the Caribbean when they came to work in the 1700's (think that's the time period).

I don't remember too much about gardens as a child, but my dad made us keep chickens and sell eggs. I remember a big garden bed that was used to plant tomatoes I think. I also remember following my father and eating raw okras which we grew.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi jacquanda.

I really feel you had a very interesting growing-up experience.

I like okra (we call them dharosh or bhindi), but not raw.