Gardens, gardeners and garlands

Sunita Giri 10:47 PM |

Tihar is one festival that sees loads and loads of garland on the street side at the main shopping areas. In fact, the festive mood is so much that, now a days you can get the ready made garlands that is required for Tihar in your nearest grocery stores. Of course, to make a garland, one sure needs loads of flowers. Marigold is very popular flower among other flowers, to make garland during Tihar; as its good for all purpose compared to other flowers. There is another kind of flowers also which is equally popular during Tihar. Its a small maroon color flower and is chosen for the belief behind its longevity hoping, if sister put this garland on the neck of their brothers, their brothers life will be longer like this flowers.

Seeing all the garlands on TV and on the stalls ready for sell, only reminds me of my childhood in Bal Mandir and how plucking it and collecting enough for the tihar, especially to make garlands to do ‘Bhai puja’.

We used to have plenty of flowers to make garlands, may be more than enough. Every group of girls did have the prior planning to arrange the flowers for their need during tihar but other group of girls who went to collect the flower fist just used to spoil one groups plan. The early birds, always got the good flowers. I do not remember spending a single penny to make a single garland out of more than 100 or so. The front garden, which now a days wears so brazen and unwelcoming look, used to look a lot more vibrant and colorful back then, when I was in Bal Mandir. There used to be a lovely garden in the front of the Bal Mandir and it was as if, a way to welcome with a big smile to the all visitors; whoever visited Bal Mandir.

A gardener, used to take good care of this front garden. He was very hard working man and loved his work. It seems today to me that he kind of worshiped his work. He worked relentlessly on all kind of season on his garden.  He was an average  kind of person with average height of Nepali, lean and thin but very sturdy man. He used to lose his patience, tremendously; when he saw us stealing ‘his’ flowers. Sometimes, he used to scold us for that and sometimes, he used to give us a real good chase for plucking flowers from his garden. He tried to keep us away from his garden specially; using the rose plants of all kinds as a boundary in his garden, even though, it was protected by proper barb wires. But some mischievous children were smart enough to climb the boundary wall to sneak in, just for fun from the broken part of the garden. It caused him a lots of trouble, but that was his daily work life to face the urchins from Bal Mandir or nearby school that was within the Bal Mandir premises.

There used to be garden maintained by some boys - aged 10 - 16 years old - inside the Bal Mandir , which provided plenty of flowers to make garlands or do the puja also. But, this was the garden that provided us the major portion of the marigolds during Tihar to make garlands and also for puja. Then, there was the other gardens too, that was maintained by NAFA art gallery. It was even more protected than the front garden, with tall walls and then proper gate not just the kind of gates designed for gardens. Yet, the the keeper used to be shocked to see his garden totally empty after the tihar holiday.

Those days, Bal Mandir looked so beautiful and welcoming from walking distance as well as from the top. Yeah, it used to look bit of weary and deserted after tihar, as its the time, that brings the bell of the arrival of winter seasons.

Now, needless to mention, the garden looks so brazen and unwelcoming and the place where once vegetable garden and small garden used to be, wears so completely deserted, wild and unkempt look. Sad look without the beautiful and colorful flowers of all kinds.

Bal Mandir, definitely is a different place nowadays. Just a look with those gardens and it has a lot to tell us and seem to scream on top of it lungs to share so many of inside story of its office policy.  Just by maintaining its outer looks, which obviously I mean by maintaining it gardens, that do not have a single flowers now a days. Forget about the time, when there used to be all kinds and colors of flowers to make it a beautiful garden to welcome all the visitors.

The beautiful and lovely garden have stamped in my mind, as a good memory from my childhood days.

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