From the Lanes of Old Delhi -Bloom Where You Are PlantedThe Might of Pen
“Paudhey le lo, Paudhey”, this is how hawker used to call at the top of his noise to sell saplings in streets of my Old Delhi home. I remember how I used to nag my mother to buy some from ‘maali wale bhayya’ every time he used to come. It was such a fun to stand beside ‘ammi’ to watch her negotiating with him, anticipating ‘who will finally win’. After much of fussy disagreement and agreement, he used to submit finally.
His cart used to be loaded with many plants and their pots; small, very small, big, and quite big all were there. Plant of a particular size used to be in its respective pot size. It caught my attention one day that some plants were not in pots; instead, their roots with a little soil mass were simply wrapped in some chaff. I wondered how they could grow in that little soil. Later I got to know that these container plants are grown in a special potting mix, as the actual garden soil is too heavy for them. It may compact roots, cutting off their oxygen. It might also hamper the growth of sapling because of weed seeds.
“How perfect our God is as the creator who has spelled His signs for beautiful lessons for observing eyes.”
After spending more than two decades in Old Delhi, today I can comprehend the analogy of life with those plants. While growing up, I always dreamt of open sky and fresh air. Sometimes while staring at the small square piece of sky visible from my courtyard on the ground floor, I used to wonder if the sky was that much only. Perhaps I was like that young sapling, which was too small to be placed in a larger pot with garden soil. As I kept growing, my roots kept extending, and my caretakers kept providing me larger pots.
I believe that all of us are destined to born in some particular soil, and we are accustomed for that only. If you are born in Old Delhi, you may not be where you want to be in life just yet. Nevertheless, you eventually get to where you want to be, only if you continue to grow. Sapling growing in chaff might have doubted its future. Why didn’t it stop growing its roots questioning its destiny? Why didn’t it complain of not having a pot when other plants had strong large ones? However, it kept growing until it was eventually transferred to the larger pot and then in garden soil. Would it have been stopped growing, it would not have reached where it wanted to be.
Living in storm-tossed Old Delhi definitely, comes with many struggles. With a choking feeling of suffocation amidst of crowd and depilating infrastructure, life is hard there. With compromised facilities, Orthodox surroundings, hanging wires and leaking sewage, the walk of life in its lanes might not be so smooth. However, we should realize that we can’t always choose the cards we have been dealt, however, we can learn to play them. We should trust the dots; they all will connect in future.
“Keep your dreams alive like the tender sapling that keep outgrowing its roots inspite of the uncertainty for its future.”
While writing this piece, suddenly an image surfaced from memory. I can recall the vivid image of a small plant with green leaves and a beautiful flower. It was growing out through a crack in the concrete in the wall of ‘Laal Masjid’ in Ballimaran. Despite all odds, the seedling found the way out through the crack.
Did they never observe the sky above them: how We built it and beautified it; and it has no cracks, and We have spread out the earth, and have set upon it firm mountains, and have caused it to bring out plants of all beauteous kinds? All these are to serve as an eye opener and as a lesson to every being who is prone to turn (to Allah). [Qur’an; 50: 6-8]
For many of us living in Old Delhi, the New Delhi is the only prelude to openness and outside world. We have so many reasons to complain about Old Delhi. However, we do not realise that where we are now is enriching us with vital life lessons for our next adventure. Our Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows our perfect position to be placed in. Maybe we are a tender sapling, and the pot mix is preparing us for the garden soil. Our current situation is teaching us to deal with the kind of life we will have one day. For our own incapacities, sometimes we resort to excuses and complaints. To truly blossom, we must stop complaining, and must focus on our growth.
Let us bring out the best of our situations. Let us bloom where we are planted.