Being a nature lover there is nothing more I enjoy than relaxing at the beach, walking in lush green parks or admiring the flowers on the trees / gardens of the houses I pass. My experiences with nature have sculpted my growing years. Thanks IndiBlogger for giving us the opportunity to look back, pause and reminiscence our growing years close to nature. I have been surrounded by those who helped me love and appreciate the world around me. This post, from my heart is dedicated to them.
Growing up – The beach years
As a kid, hours were spent at the beach building sand castles and playing under endless blue skies. The beach was a 5 minute walk away and happened to be our favorite evening joint. The experience of running along the shore line only to be splashed by a giant wave after which I would emerge grinning and dripping wet, only to get further into the water is something that I would never trade for anything. It was liberating and fun and I learnt to respect the sea and her moods.
Hot summer evenings were spent at the beach with my favorite thirst quencher – orange Kissan squash. The joy of collecting shells, the excitement of chasing crabs into their holes and being fascinated with the beautiful mussels washed ashore is still fresh in my mind. I recall returning home sticky with salt water and wet sand all over with my booty of shells and ideas to create something out of them. My mom would send me packing to clean myself after which she would patiently help me clean the shells. That life at the home near the beach was bliss to an imaginative kid like myself – I entertained guests when I claimed that Sri Lanka was on the other side of the horizon 🙂
Growing up – The green years
By the time I was in middle school we had moved into the 1st floor of a house with a beautiful garden and a mini terrace. The garden boasted of beautiful gulmohar, hibiscus and jasmine trees with roses,tulsi and canna lilies in the front and drumstick, neem and banana trees in the back. The garden was ruled by our neighbor’s friendly German shepherd – “Roger” who was just a big dog with a puppy’s heart 🙂
The sight of beautiful and majestic parrots that frequented the Gulmohar tree during the tamil months of Margazhi made my heart flutter. The males with their bright red collars and beaks with chittering females perched around the bright orange hanging gulmohar flowers were a treat to my eyes. Roger being the playful dog that he was, would run around the trees and bark at the parrots!
Colorful butterflies frequently popped by to visit their pretty flower friends. Crows made daily visits to our home to lunch on the rice my mom fed them. In fact one crow with a funny gait, became a regular and would wait outside the kitchen window every day at exactly at the same time mom set out the rice.
Bitten by the green thumb, my dad started his own little farm on the mini terrace and soon my parents began growing organic okras, green chillies, tomatoes and curry leaves, all of which found their way into our daily food. This little farm my dad started has had such an impact on me, that till date I dream of a beautiful garden. Dear God, are you listening? 🙂
It was in this home that dad set up my first aquarium. I was his deputy to help clean the tank and feed the fish. Gazing at the wide array of beautiful fish that included gold fish, kissing gouramis, glass fish, colorful guppies, red and orange mollies was a regular tea time activity. The guppies would re-produce frequently and we bought a small tank to confine the pregnant fish during labor and carefully moved the mothers between tanks. It was bonding time with dad and it felt great to be a kid growing up in the midst of all this love and appreciation for the world around me.
Growing Up – The Concrete Years
As I moved into high school we shifted into an apartment. This was the start of life in the midst of a concrete jungle. My parents continued to maintain their mini garden on the balcony with gorgeous kozhi kondais (Hen’s Horn in English) and Sangu poo (Shell flower) which mom would use for her pooja.
It was during this time that I rescued two parrots with broken wings. Dad made some space beneath my study table for the parrots. Feeding them was fun and they seemed to prefer curd rice to nuts! It was always a pleasant surprise find a parrot nestled in my lap while I was busy trying to complete my homework. As the parrots recovered they would walk around the room and climb onto the curtains to get our attention. It was a sad day for me when they flew away after complete recovery. I had lost my friends 😦
Grown up!! (I think) – Concrete, concrete and some green
I dream of the day I can be closer to the wonders of nature. Today I am blessed to live in a house with a quasi forest for a back yard. The house is frequented by street dogs, stray cats and occasional monkeys! I have even ventured to grow a curry leaf plant and I am hoping to have some luck with it 🙂 The influence of mother nature on my life has been more than 100% real and I hope that future generations have the same opportunities or even better ones to love and enjoy her wonders.