Ladies usually receive flowers from many admirers but unfortunately, I never had any admirer from whom to receive flowers. However, I have been fortunate enough to experience two exceptionally touching incidents which I think is equivalent to hundreds of occasions of receiving flowers.
While waiting at a traffic signal on my way to office a street child approaches me with a bunch of roses in his hand. I look at him sternly and say in a serious voice, “Can’t buy flowers now, I am not going home”. He plucks a rose from his bunch, gives it to me and says, “This is a gift”. I take the flower involuntarily, surprise, joy and amazement bubbling up inside me. The signal changes and I move on.
Whenever I remember this incident I feel happiness filling my heart at the unexpected, wonderful gesture of this innocent child.
I recall another incident of receiving a gift of flowers from a most unexpected quarter. The institution where I worked was housed in a wide spread out ‘E’ shaped building. It stood on 3.3 acres of land. The gardens were designed and landscaped by no other than our eminent botanical specialist, Professor Dwijen Sharma (1929 – 2017). The garden walls were lined with tall, towering deciduous and evergreens like debdaru, chambal, chatim, khrishnochur, radhachura, nageshwar and many other trees. The grounds were interspersed with ashok, kodom, nargis, panthopadab, keora, brioniya, various fruit trees and flowering shrubs. Professor Abdul Matin, one of the founders of the institution often used to reminisce that the gardens are like Wordsworth’s and not Pope’s. It was a pleasure to roam around such a place, pottering about the plants and shrubs.
Jalal, the guard cum gardener who took care of this botanical haven knew of my fascination for this wild, beautiful place. He helped in planting many of my favourite flowers there. During a long vacation he suddenly arrived at my house carrying a huge bunch of giant spider lilies (Crinum Lily). He explained that since everything was closed the flowers were going to waste in the garden so he decided to bring them for me. It was a kind and unexpected gesture that touched and overwhelmed me momentarily. However, its effect has been permanent. The appeal of natural beauty combined with humane gestures has left a profound everlasting impact on my mind. Recollecting these incidents Wordsworth’s oft quoted lines always come to mind:
“For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.”