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Musings

Crotons

By Kavya R K    

The pandemic, I feel, has made us very contemplative. We’ve begun to ponder over subjects that range from the grave aspects of life to the most trivial ones. There is also this category of thoughts that belong somewhere in the middle. They usually begin as silly musings but gradually transform and align with thoughts of greater dimensions. Although I’m not sure where to classify my current thoughts, I think that this very ambiguity gives them a place in the middle.

I have never been a keen observer of gardens. I love to spend time in parks, but someone would usually accompany me, and we’d get immersed in conversation. This used to keep me off the pleasure of savouring the blossoms, even though their tempting fragrance had always seduced me. However, those visits used to be brief and the acquaintance temporary.

For some weeks now, I have been taking back-and-forth cycle rides in my courtyard; thanks to us, the ‘obedient’ citizens, and the lockdown. One such day, I chanced upon the front row of decorative plants in my home. Until then, I hadn’t really paid attention to these. I was aware only of the flowering plants, rose and hibiscus, which grew at the two corners of the front yard. Like any other hopeless romantic, I also had an affinity for these flowering plants. I used to have imaginary baby showers and baptism ceremonies every time they bore a new flower. Although these were at the relatively unnoticeable part of the house, I used to spare some time to visit them.

Now this front row, which suddenly came into being for my eyes, had some densely grown croton plants. I realised that it actually made up the lion’s share of our front yard. I looked at it for a while. The croton leaves have always appeared to me as too chaotic and flamboyant. They have seemed to me quite undisciplined and shabby, because of the multi-coloured large leaves. They somehow didn’t fit into the norms of beauty I was conditioned to believe in. I used to feel that they lacked the sort of uniformity and harmony that nature upheld; something which should have been ingrained in the hues they were blessed with. But that day, the croton leaves held a different attraction for me. The variegated leaves seemed to breathe out a serenity I had never imagined them to have. The leaves were nestled close to each other, in a wholesome embrace that seemed to shield them from all adversities. Designed and coloured differently, no two consecutive leaves looked alike. Yet, the way they held each other, the way they grew wide, and withstood the direst of heat and rains, I realised, is the zenith of harmony and togetherness.

As I pedaled back, my mind reverberated with the voice of the crotons that echoed the universal concept of peaceful co-existence. The kind that demands us to accept the uniqueness of all identities and modes of being. That which relishes every single hue in the spectrum of humanity. A life that no longer insists on blossoms but learns to cherish the beauty of the bloomless. And therefore, the one that reconnects us to the relentless potential of nature where all it takes to grow, is a perspectival change.

Kavya R K is a Research Scholar at The Department of Indian and World Literatures, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Her writings have been published in The Hindu Open Page, readingroomco.in , and in the anthology titled “100+ Splendid Voices“.

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