Friday, March 14, 2014

The Gift of Nature

image source: google

The lush green trees
They stand tall and proud
The almond shaped leaves
They whisper, they swish with the music of the winds
The fragrance of wet mud
It’s earthy, it’s rustic
The mighty tides of the sea
They go high; they go low, just like various phases of life
The sound of chirping birds
It’s happy, it’s melodious
The colourful flowers
Blushing pink, calm lavender and radiant yellow
They are vibrant; they are effervescent, never failing to bring a smile on the face
Such is the beauty of Mother Nature
This precious gift should not be wasted but be embraced

A feeling of peace is what one gets when he/she is close to nature. A very common example that each one of us must have experienced is that a tree’s cool shade always brings respite on a hot summer day. Walking at the beach or on the grass bare feet is unique and incomparable to a walk on the road with the shoes on. The gift of nature is very special and thanks to my parents who have inculcated in me a sense befriending that gift from the early days.

Everytime I make a road journey, I fondly remember my childhood days. My dad simply loves travelling by road especially driving a car, stopping over at some restaurant on the highway, singing songs and playing games to the final destination.  And during our childhood that gave my mother an opportunity to introduce nature to us (my sister, brother and I) and impart education in a fun and interesting way. 

I remember once we were on a road trip to Maharashtra and my mother asked my dad to give the journey a small halt to show us the onion farms on the side of the road. She informed us that onion which is commonly known as pyaaz in hindi language is known as kanda in Maharashtra. Then there were these trips to Punjab where we came across sugarcane farms. 

The other activity that our mom did during a road journey was that she asked us to name every animal we spotted during the trip. From camels to elephants and dogs to squirrels we saw them and named them. I got so used to it that if I spot an animal now during a road trip I by default say “look that’s a camel there” and cannot help myself looking at it till it is finally out of sight.

My mother always tried to teach us the theory from text books with some practical example. I remember her telling us the difference between a bush and a tree by showing the two to us. She used to make us feel the tree with our tiny little hands and then described its different parts, the wrinkled bark that spoke about the tree’s years, the branches; long and sharp, the roots; strong , the leaves; fresh and green, and the flowers; colourful and vibrant. She helped us differentiate between different types of trees by understanding the distinction in the pattern of their leaves. 

My mother had got the gardener to plant tomato, and orange seeds in a pot. The idea of seeing a little tomato or orange (narangi) being grown out of that plant had fascinated me so much. The plant bearing that fruit was like birth being given to a child after all that nurturing.
Moreover my mom had hung two clay pots in one of the balconies of our house. My dad used to put a portion of grains and some water to bring the birds some respite during the smouldering summers. I had loved watching them sit at the pot’s brim and quench their thirst. It was an inexplicably beautiful feeling; the feeling that comes from giving.

Another wise decision that my parents made was that they sent me to an amazing school. The school had a huge forest area. From some wild vegetation to guava and mango trees the school’s green belt had it all. We often spotted peacocks and peahens playing around the hostel area or simply resting on a tree. The school had extremely well pruned gardens with colourful flowers which was a delight for the eyes.
One day we used to study about the camouflaging ability of chameleons in science class and the next day we could actually spot one changing colours to suit the desired background, green against the plants and an earthy orange against the ground. 

I had only seen a ladybird in the textbooks till I found one in my school cat-walking in the mud. I still remember holding the delicate creature carefully in my hands, making a special box with tiny holes to take it home without letting it die due to lack of oxygen and then showing it to my mother. The moment I reached home I quickly took it out of the box and held it in my hands. My mom and I admired its exquisite red body with those tiny black polka dots all over and then freed it in to my garden.

The school and its surroundings had always played an integral part in helping the students stay in touch with Mother Nature. We were always encouraged to plant more trees. After all these years, since I finished school, I still boast about my school to my husband and why shouldn’t I? :p

There are innumerous pretty little things about the nature that go unnoticed by us in our dailu lives. It is only when we sit and observe our surroundings we realize how special nature is in its own peculiar way and learn to appreciate it. My parents and the school I went to has played a mammoth role in helping me develop a bond with nature and its beauty. The fun and interesting activities that they conducted helped me value the gift of nature and respect it. I feel blessed. When I’ll become a parent, I plan to walk in the footsteps of my parents and encourage my kids in the same way to embrace this invaluable gift. 

P.S.: The road journeys were always made special with a few paranthas (fried Indian bread) twisted into rolls with some fresh fruit kissan jam for the kids (even now as an adult I still love to have it :p).

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