I had just finished my 12th Boards and had two months of pure freedom before the results catapulted life into an unknown territory. My father had been posted at the then summer capital and home-town for a year; so my mom and I packed our bags and left my childhood town for good to join him there.
The quarter that my father had got was almost at the outskirts of the town and very few families lived around it. The house overlooked a temple atop a hill in the distance and the roads were broad, lined with trees and empty even during the day. We had a massive kitchen garden with snakes and other crawling creatures living among bushes and a huge lawn with a well tended garden in the front. My father chose the flowers and maintained the garden himself. He had created this big area on the left for a rose garden and had handpicked rose plants from nurseries across the town. He gave me this patch to look after as my job for the summer.
I loved tending to the plants. I used to spend hours in the morning and evening watering, de-weeding, de-bugging, pruning and adding manure to these plants. All of the plants bloomed – in amazing variety – red, pink, yellow, double shades, king sized, creepers, tiny white ones and wild bunches. Except one. I waited for this plant to flower. A week passed yet nothing happened. I was dying to see the colour of this particular one. My father said it’s probably a barren one and wouldn’t flower. He wanted to pluck it out but I just couldn’t let him do that. I started to whisper to the plant, urging it to grow and flower….days passed and then it became my best buddy…I used to tell it everything, what happened in the day, my hopes, my fears of shifting to a new city. Then almost two weeks before the Board results, I detected a tiny bud.
The bud took up most of my time – I was paranoid that it would die. And then the Board results were announced. In the ensuing mayhem and a depressingly average score, I forgot all about it. Just a day before we were to board the trains and head northwards towards a very uncertain future, I dashed to see the rose plant. And what I saw simply took my breath away – one single rose of the loveliest purple shade with an almost bluish hue to it. If I didn’t know that blue roses don’t grow naturally, I would have called it a blue rose!
It stood out amongst a plethora of colours, as if to tell me not to lose hope – that patience and labor of love would throw up miraculous results like this always. I felt alive and happy when we took the train out of my beautiful home-town and childhood life forever.