You Cannot Tell from the Show

The pandemic refuses to die. The excruciatingly slow growth of coriander I planted weeks ago, parallels the fear and loath with which people are dragging themselves, out of the safety of their homes, to work. My spinach, similarly, seems to be in perpetual quarantine.

“See how they are refusing to grow… I am confused between my pain and theirs” I cried over a video-call with my brother. He laughed wickedly, instructed me to water the coriander plants often, and expose them to more sunlight – advices I dutifully followed. Unable to recognize my Corona-sized spinach plants, he suggested I change the seeds and try again. Then came a key revelation – he had used desi varieties of spinach seeds to get the luxuriant growth he proudly photographed and whatsapped to me weeks ago…. and not the ones from the multi-seed mix we both had bought over Amazon. Huh.

Then I showed him my bitter gourd plant which has out-heighted me and also the vigorously growing bottle-gourd climber. Both are sheer joys to behold for the debutante planter in me. “Mine did not grow; could not survive the rain”, he said passingly, and my mind hit a pause, and then came light.

Give yourself credit. For every one thing we are not able to accomplish to aspired standards, we do five other things very well. Let us realize and recognize those. A tunnel vision with failures at the centre is a big NO. Count your blessings, persist and persevere.

Be informed but not obsessed. We look around and in every sphere of life there are people and institutions engaged in same or similar pursuits as us, and doing well, doing better, or doing different. Be informed, learn from their experiences, but write your own story, as only you can write.

Sahajam karma kaunteya sa-dosham api na tyajet
Sarva-aarambha hi doshena dhoomen-agnir ivavritah

The Bhagvad Gita: Chapter 18, Verse 48

[One should not abandon duties born of one's nature, even if one sees defects in them. All endeavors are veiled by some evil, as fire is by smoke.]

Truth often comes in layers. We have always been cautioned – looks can be deceptive. Today we need not look farther than our palm for a proof-of-concept. Social media is so awash with storytellers (besides trolls, of course) that you are salivating salt by the time you screen off. Still we prefer to stare at the one-eighth of the iceberg above water, and that too not the Hemingway-way, and worse is, we judge – ourselves and others. Dig deeper and plough wider if something interests you, but beware of the analysis-paralysis whirlpool.

In all walks of life, the pitfalls of both under-comprehension and mis-comprehension are many. If the pitching is not self-evident, we impose our context on people, situations and things in a hurry to close the mental loop and lock our impressions. Over-simplification results in mis-reading of efforts and intentions and we miss out on learning from the lived-experience.

False positives and false negatives taken care of, am off now to my safe curtilage for some cathartic gardening… time to spill the beans!

Published by Bharati

I am a simple, happy person. My life is enriched by family, friends, co-workers, and other co-travelers who have helped me see through a rather difficult childhood, a self-obsessed youth, and the dreamy thirties, till reality hit in the forties. Here and now, nearing half-a-century of living I am grappling with answers to 'Who Am I' and 'I Why'. I have been working in the field of community development for over twenty years. My search for meaning is aided by reading, writing, drawing, listening and observing.

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