Monday, February 20, 2017

Insignificant acts of goodness

I love pets of several kinds, from furry animals to flowering plants, decorative plants, succulents and herbs. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see something grow and help it in some way to do so. Though I live in a PG at present, I brought a tiny Tulsi plant from home in a small pot to give me some company. I live on the first floor, but the best place I could find for it was atop the compound wall. The owner did not have any problem with it as they too had a small space right outside the compound with a few plants of their own.

Every morning, as I went down to have breakfast, I would water my Tulsi without fail. I would carry a mug full of water, but as it was a small pot, I observed that it needed just half of it. Instead of carrying it back, I used to pour out the remaining outside the compound onto the space where plants were kept by the owner.

Soon enough, it put out new branches and leaves. I was really pleased. As it grew, I noticed that its leaves  were less green and almost violetish in their appearance. I googled to find out that this was actually the 'Krishna Tulsi' variety and was slightly rarer than the green 'Rama Tulsi' variety. The plant put forth flowers too- tiny, beautiful, violet flowers. It is believed that these flowers are very dear to Lord Krishna, so I used to cut them out very carefully and offer them to a photo of Lord Krishna I had in my room.

While all this was happening, Tulsi had a new visitor. A sparrow used to come every morning and sit near the pot waiting to drink the run-off water from the plant. Actually, the pot in which Tulsi was kept was made of stainless steel. Probably the sparrow had noticed its own image on the pot. Every morning, it used to sit right next to Tulsi on the wall and go around it for an hour trying to make friends with the bird on the other side. It even used to peck at its image sometimes. On weekends, watching this cute happening had become my constant recreation. This continued for almost a month before the sparrow went away. Maybe, it figured out that it was a reflection after all.

Sometimes, there were unwanted visitors too. A spider spun its web around the branches and fed on the juicy leaves and flowers. I didn't want to use any chemicals on the plant. After a bit of reading up online, I got to know that crushed neem leaves mixed with water can keep away insects. So, I brought some leaves from a nearby tree and soaked overnight to extract its juices. I washed the Tulsi leaf-by-leaf in the neem extract and sure enough, the spider did go away and Tulsi became healthy again.

I continued to pour water every morning and Tulsi was doing well for almost a year. But recently, I noticed that many leaves were wilting and Tulsi looked weak. One Sunday, I went down to wash the plant and realized that probably I had been too busy to notice that the spider had taken hold again and this time, it seemed irreparable. I washed it nonetheless and was cursing myself at my own negligence. Leaves had turned brown and were falling off. Tulsi wouldn't last long and it was all my fault. As I kept reminiscing sadly of the good days gone by, my PG owner showed up. "What are you doing ma? Cleaning the plant?" he asked. "Yes uncle" I said. "Why don't you keep your other plant also in a pot and take care of it" he asked. "Which other plant?" I was confused. "Didn't you see, there is a Tulsi plant right outside the compound below where you keep your pot? Come, I will show you" saying so, he walked outside to the spot. I ran behind him. He pointed out to a tiny plant amongst several others, making its way, competing for the sunlight. Sure enough, it was a Tulsi, the same variety as the one I had kept in the pot. The seeds might have fallen from above and the little water I poured might have helped. That moment, I was happy beyond words. Tulsi would live, in another form, But it was not just that. I had always heard that we should keep doing good in every small way we can. Though it might seem very small and insignificant today, someday it might all add up in ways we never could think about. Now I knew that was so true. It had all added up to this single moment of pure happiness. I resolved to take good care of my new found tiny Tulsi and also increase and intensify my insignificant acts of goodness.