16 October 2007

Precious gifts

She looked at me with barely supressed tears in her eyes.

We were both, at that moment, looking at a gift she had given me six months ago. I could see that she could barely control her tears at just how much I'd cherished her lovely gift.

The day I turned 21 (and let's not go into just how long ago that was), my neighbour came over with a gift. She gave me a plant. A lovely little plant, in a decorative pot. She asked that I cherish it, and that it was a gift from her and her family.

I talked things over with the old man who helped around the garden at home. He said that the little plant wasn't too healthy, somewhat sparse and scrawny, and that it would need a lot of care and nourishment. I took it up as a challenge. I watered it everyday, manured it as per the old gardener's instructions, kept it in a nice part of the garden where it would get lots of light and air.

In six months it was three times as large. It was lush and healthy, but the old gardener and I thought that the leaves weren't growing very well. I bowed to the old man's judgement when he said it was probably a 'fancy hybrid', which was why the leaves weren't growing as well as they should.

In the meantime, the family next door had moved away to another neighbourhood, and contact was limited to the sporadic phone calls. Until the day the lady of the house happened to drive by her old home, and dropped in for a visit. We were catching up on all neighbourhood news, and I was waiting to show her just how much I'd cared for her gift.

I told her that I had a surprise and would she follow me outside, please?

I lead her to that sunny nook in the garden and told her to look. She was a little puzzled as she looked around trying to figure out what it was that she was that I wanted her to see.

Then it happened. I saw the light of recognition in her eyes. She remembered that really pretty terracotta pot. And then her eyes brimmed with tears. Her little plant was thrice as large as it had been six months ago, and had way more foliage.

She turned to me and said, "You know, I worked 10 years on that little plant before I gave it to you." Wow! That was really something, and in three months, I outdid what she'd achieved in ten years.

Then very gently, trying her best not to cry, she said, "Maybe I should've mentioned that it was a bonsai."


antrix said...

Fantastic! All O Henry style, just as I like it :)

Tys on Ice said...

hahaha! i dont know if i shud wipe that lil tear that was abt drop untill i read the ending....vidya, u take the cake...

Preethy said...

HA HA!! Has your neighbour forgiven you?

Vidya said...

Antrix: thank you, thank you... i'm a huge fan of the master!

Tys: maybe you should laugh... she cried

Preethy: that pot is still there at home in Mysore, with the remnamts of the plant formerly known as bonsai. maybe I should get around to taking a pic and posting that :)

mummyjaan said...

Oh my goodness, lol, what a twist. Is this really true?

Would it ever be possible to prune it back to its small size again?

Joy said...

This was hilarious. You know you have made a breakthrough, Maybe patent it.

Talk to the hand said...

Hi...just curious...u seriously did not consider the possibility that it could be a bonsai???

Vidya said...

@ mummyjaan: apparently no, it was beyond repair.

@ Joy : patent how-to-kill-ten-years'-work-and-supersize-a-bonsai?
Actually, its a good idea, but somehow I dont see myself retiring on the proceeds from that patent :D

@ Talk to the hand: I should have... but I was not as old or as wise as I am now :D