A Walk in the Garden…

Dr. Navniit Gandhi
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Our garden in Salmiya is an exciting learning-place… Every walk in it, teaches something every time… All gardens probably teach and give us amazing glimpses and clues about life, people and this entire world of ours. Well, our garden in Salmiya does the same, and in abundance too.

Most of the times when we take a walk in the garden, we are awake but we do not see much because the mind is preoccupied with thoughts. If we take a walk with a conscious and alert mind, the sights and surroundings can give us many a insights. There are the old people, the young and the younger; there are the men and the women and children; there are those who are well-dressed and obviously very well-off, and then there are the not-so-privileged in terms of wealth; there are the simple ones and the stylishly dressed ones (found even early in the morning!) and, of course, there are many a mix of nationalities visible too.

Just as all of us co-exist in the Universe and move at our own rhythm, so also in our garden—all seem to move ahead, choosing their own speed and pace. There is the lot which is in a hurry, and there are those who actually stroll in the garden. There are those who absent-mindedly change their pace as they look abstractedly ahead and there are those who talk the walk! Everyone also chooses whom to walk the steps with. There are those who prefer to walk exclusively with their spouses and then there are those who are kind of happier to walk with their friends or acquaintances. Probably, some spouses are unavailable in the mornings or evenings or busy or disinterested but we manage to find company, nevertheless. Then there are those who choose to walk alone… Some of them seem to be lost in thoughts and some others, in the music or lectures that they listen to. Some keep looking at all others in all directions—probably searching for someone or for something. There are also those who ‘forge’ friendships in the garden and sometimes, these garden-pals remain good friends for years to come. All or any of the options could be a choice or a compulsion. However, the point is that we learn to manage and move on and enjoy the walk with what and whom we have… Isn’t this a simple yet essential lesson to learn in life?

Just as the seasons change in our lives and in the Universe, the changing sights are evidently felt in our garden too. Seasons change in our minds too, don’t they? There are days when the bright little yellow Arfajs can be seen dancing everywhere, and the grass is plush green and well-manicured. And then there are those days, when all around the look is barren and bleak. There are evenings in the garden when the hustle-bustle of life is too evident—what with all the screaming and yelling by kids as they play and run and burst out from nowhere. The week-ends are a lively sight in our garden too, with families and friends coming together and spreading themselves out lazily on their mats and relishing the meals that they have brought along. There are days in our lives too, when the days seem festive and all are in the mood to be gaiety and then there are those bleak ones… The point to remember is that all days pass…

And just as there are some of us who celebrate but forget to pick up the trash that we leave behind, so also in our garden there are some of the same kind. We enjoy and laugh and eat, but do not care whether we have left a clean space behind… And just as there are some amidst us, who by choice or by force are destined to pick the trash that others leave behind, there is that army of cleaners in the garden who can be seen breaking their backs—more so, on Sunday mornings. For the sensitive ones amongst us, a walk on early Sunday mornings imparts this lesson-of-life. Such sensitive folks can be seen jerking their heads in disbelief even as they frown at the wrappers, leftovers and cans thrown everywhere, including deep inside the bushes. If only some parents could teach some right lessons to their children; if only we did not leave trash at places and in relationships which have given us joys—our world would be a better place. After all, we have to walk on the same paths again…

Each one comes to the garden not with the same motive. A similar truth dawns on us in life too. Each passes through life, focussed at one’s own purpose. Some come to the garden to simply take a few hundred steps in leisure…just to feel the breeze caress their cheeks and to feel the grass beneath their feet. Some count nearly every step they take, for they have goals to reach in terms of the calories they have decided to burn every day… Some keep no account of the miles they traverse, and keep running. They run or walk, just for the joy of running or walking. There are some, who visit the garden with the sole purpose of socialising… Families and friends make plans for the next movie and dinner, as they sit in a huddle on the grass… Some can be seen laughing and chatting heartily—for they come to the garden to feel cheerful while a few can be seen sitting on one of the benches contemplating in silence. The housemaids can be seen taking a brief break and a few breaths at leisure in the garden as they move from one set of chores to another.

If one happens to listen to some of the conversations in the garden, they are either deep or shallow, in the same way as the depth and content of our talks varies in real life. Of course, you guessed it right! The hottest topic which is always trending with the feminine folk is either what the mother-in-law is up to or kids and their issues in the school or what a maid has done or not done. And then amongst the men, one happens to overhear the mundane discussions on the weather, business, exchange rate, or even the office politics. Sometimes, the topics and the gender get reversed as well. And on a few rare occasions, some real wise and philosophical words happen to fall on the ears which simply melt the heart and one experiences that Aha! moment.

One fine day, while sitting on the bench in the garden and almost cursing the hot weather—the sprinklers started all of a sudden and a waft of cool air gently knocked at the cheeks... I looked up and smiled. It was a cue… Yes, this is what life is! When the heart is parched, a sprinkler catches us unawares in life and brings joys when we hardly expect them. Such flashes never fail to soothe a troubled mind…

Strange isn’t it, that if only we are aware and conscious of our surroundings—there are lessons to be learnt everywhere; even in a garden. The most essential ones being: that there are and there will be all kinds of people always around, that they will have their own pace; that you will have to give way sometimes and make space for the other to move ahead; that talks shall differ and so shall temperaments; that a special place for children to play adds spark and cheer to the surroundings; that if we do not throw trash mindlessly—pleasant sights will await us on the same paths; that the moments when health is priority are as precious as those when a simple mat on the grass, a few falafels and tea can be a memorable picnic… Life has a lot to teach, and any and every place can serve as the classroom. All of these and many more glimpses can be ours, without having to read dozens of books or following mentors.

Just take a walk…

Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academic, and a freelance writer/columnist. She has been writing extensively for several newspapers, magazines, web-portals and academic publications and has authored five Books, till date.
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Express your comment on this article

Posted on Monday, January 8, 2018

I am a regular Salmiya garden walker in the evening since 2006. Have seen most faces for several years while some are absent for a long duration (assume that they have left Kuwait). The garden is very nice for the nearby residents. Come Thursday and Friday, Arabs visit and make the place utter dirty.

Posted on Thursday, January 4, 2018

Great article, and people who walk in salmiya garden can indeed relate to it very very much

Cheryl Fernandes
Posted on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nice Article

Posted on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Just reading this article transported me to the garden. Love the way you write, Ma'am !

Posted on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nice Article..God Bless.

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