A Gardener’s Tale

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I meet my father on the porch. "Father, it’s a nice morning."

He grins. "We don't give a damn about nature in this part of the world. All we care about is plants." He speaks between chewing twig that he is using as a tooth brush.

The only person that has no work is me, myself. Too proud to do menial labor, I squander my time. I'm overtly surprised, how my father - who has seen places, met people, read books, and knew things - is compatible with a rural life. After he retired, I had wanted him to remain in Kathmandu, freelancing in papers and writing memoirs, autobiography and even novels. His story, plot and characters - when he revealed to me - had looked promising.

I cross the lawn and walk towards vegetable garden, my mother is watering the plants. “Want to give a try?” She asks. But before I could say yes or no, she hands me the water pipe. I watch plants soaking in the water, they dance.

“Mum what is the best thing you like in this garden?” I ask not because I want to know something but I want to start a conversation.

“Eggplant,” She laughs. Seeing her laugh, I laugh. She knows I don’t like eggplants.

“Mum, why don’t I see any cucumber, here?”

“Every dog has its day.” What does that mean? I turn to look at her. She is weeding, hand fork and trowel in her hands, her head askew.

“Mum!”

“Don’t pester me boy,” she says without looking at me. “Cucumber gets cold and easily dies in winter.”

“Mum, what are we going to do with these all cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli, tomatoes...”

“Eat.”

As if in a cue, I pluck a tomato, and take a deep bite. "Do you think I’m Kumbhakarna?" Kumbhakarna, identifiable with my face, flashes in my mind. This mythic eater in the epic called Ramayana slept six months only to be awakened by aroma wafting from food brought into his chamber.

I laugh.

“Mum, how long are we going to do the gardening?”

“Until the sun is warm.”

“And when’s that?”

“Ten, or perhaps 11.”

“Mum!”

“Ten, alright. Happy?”

I push the wheelbarrow as I walk away from the garden. “Mum, its ten fifteen!”

“Okay, I’m done.” She stands up and rubs her palm. “Turn off the water pump, alright.”

From garden to the lawn and then to the backyard, it takes almost ten minutes to reach at the compost pit. I moan as I stretch my body. Father laughs, I laugh. Father, who had not even washed his socks before he retired as the editor of a news agency, is now shoveling manure into a wheelbarrow. He says, “Throw that stuff into the pit and take this one to the garden.”

“Dad, how long are we going to work?”

“Until your mother calls for lunch.”

“Dad, mum is still in the garden!”

He stops, perhaps to take a deep breath. “You know, our ancestors had helped the Great Prithvi Narayan.” Ugh, not again. “And also the House of Ghurkha.” This is not the first time he is telling me the story.

What does this mean to me when a great-great-great grandson of Prithvi Narayan has been forced to abdicate the throne? He has even shown me a torn page of a document, safely stored as a coveted prize, stating that a certain king had burrowed three thousand rupees in gold from our progenitor and given them this farmland as a token. What is this legend to me when I live in a Republic?

Father is shoveling again, I’m pushing the wheelbarrow. At 60, father has given up his tryst with journalism for his family occupation - gardening and livestock business. At 30 I’ve given up my job in Kathmandu and tying to follow father’s footsteps.

“Potato harvest has become a disaster this year, but cauliflower and tomatoes fetched me a good price.” In a remote village all he thinks is about his garden. A publication had accepted his manuscript, but he retired from Kathmandu.

Tomorrow morning I have to go to the market to buy seeds, in the afternoon I’ll scrap the terrace and till the soil, and in the evening I’ll plant, beans, peas, zucchini and what not. I’m also a gardener now, burrowing time to create an identity.

Source
Untitled by Kiran Manandhar, photographed by Vinaya
Untitled by Kiran Manandhar, photographed by Vinaya | Source
Source

The garden love

The morning is bright. I walk into the animal shed with a bucket, trowel and rake. I scrap dung from the floor and fill the bucket. Then I walk towards the bio-gas plant, empty the bucket into the blender, pour another bucket of water and churn the mixture of dung and water. Every day I have to do this otherwise there will be no gas in my kitchen. ‘Clean energy,’ I smile at myself.

At the plant outlet, I shovel bio-waste from the pit and fill the bucket. Then I walk towards the vegetable patch, sagging on the left side with the heavy load. Right at the garden, I unearth a plastic can from the soil and pour its content in an empty bucket lying on the freshly tilled ground, and then empty the bio-waste from the bucket into the same can. This mixture when let to decompose for two weeks will be useful as organic insecticide and compost for my plants.

Two hours later, I’m at the deck. Mother peeks through the screen door. "Done with running, laughing, crying. Kissing your tomatoes, cauliflowers.”

Sometimes she is too sarcastic at what I do.

*

In a coffee parlor, the woman sitting next to me was Maya. She went on touching her lips, smoothing her long hair and ordering a cup of ice mocha. She was talking about history - Prithvi Narayan and Prachanda, the one who unified the modern Nepal 238 years ago and the one who waged a war to topple the State. She placed her hand on my knee. “Do you ever think about what would have happened if the Maoists have won the war?”

While I was paying, Maya was sliding her long index finger around the rim of her cup and then licking it. She said, “The price of oil...It’s almost like we’re living in wartime.”

“But we are,” I said, “we are living in wartime, the war between the Communists and the Democrats, between the Monarchists and the Republicans.” And then her finger stopped, she looked up at me and said, “Oh, I know, but I mean really at war, like you and I are here.”

I was a typical urban guy and I just began loving Maya.

*

It’s a warm afternoon, but there is no time to squander. I'm warming my stretched back, standing below the water tank. I turn on the tap and gaze water running into the transparent pipe. I almost run towards the vegetable garden. The sprinkler is rotating, hurling thin jet of water into the plants. I watch my plants, dancing rhythmically, enjoying the rain. Tomatoes are flowering, radishes and carrots getting taller, their white and red roots poking out of soil. Cabbage and cauliflowers are so young, and tender. I must be very delicate to them.

With the sprinkler - still rotating on my hand, soaking me thoroughly - I walk little farther. I have to treat my plants equally.

*

What was Maya - a long time cynic about men and their ways, disgusted with capitalism and the smugness of the shopper-citizens in a country ravaged with a decade of Red Army, and sick of the story of the nation-building in progress?

One day she popped in my room. "I'm breaking off,” she said. We had been together for more than a year.

“What’s wrong with me?”

“There’s nothing wrong with you,” she said averting my gaze. I felt to meet her expectations, perhaps.

The following day, I packed my rucksack and took a bus. During the 12 hours journey, I began thinking about possibilities, but in vain. But then when I saw my father’s farm, an idea struck me.

Life in the farm

In the village evening comes soon, not with the cacophony and blinding glitters of city, but plants and the earth titillating me; ephemeral sound of birds twittering birds, mooing of cows…

With a hand fork I uproot weeds and toss into the wheelbarrow. My plants need neat place to grow healthy. A while later, I take a hoe and scrape the terrace, the saplings need breathing space. I stretch my body, take a deep breath, and dig again.

I’m done for the day. Standing at one end, I look into my garden. I caress the tomatoes. The ripe fruit makes me smile. Cauliflower buds are white, pure white.

I sniff cool breeze. Flowers, vegetables and raw earth invigorate me. Love that is.

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Comments 71 comments

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Rajan, though all my life I have lived in a city, my family has been farming since generations.

Sometimes I also call myself a farmer.

Thanks for reading and leaving appreciative comment.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Hi Vinaya, you certainly have a knack for telling tales! I have lived most of my life out on a chicken farm in the countryside growing fruits and vegetables too. I can relate to this. You have the makings of a novel writer, trust me.

Voted up and all the way across except the funny one.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Ava,

Problem with human beings is we try to complicate simple life.

Thank you very much for your comment.

Cheers


onlooker 4 years ago

Life can be so much simpler than we make it to be. I wish we could all experience going back to those times which still exists. This is beautiful Vinaya, thank you.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Hello Christy, thanks for reading and taking time to comment.

Cheers


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

The garden provides so much beauty and wonder. Good hub!


Magdalena Wiklund 4 years ago

You´re a great author able to create great pieces of painting in my head, all painted with your words. I love your contrast. We don't give a damn about nature, just plant... well done!

/Maggie

http://swedishmaggie.wordpress.com


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Hello Tina, I love doing gardening, gardening has helped me survive loss.

Thanks for reading and leaving wonderful comment.

Cheers


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

Gardening is one of my favourite moments too. This story is so good and you make the garden and the people in it, alive with all the details. Great story and I enjoyed to read it!

Tina


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Hello Maya,

Thanks for stopping by.

Cheers


Maya 4 years ago

It feels great to read such a beautiful story from Nepal. Well done Vinaya.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Jackie

Thanks for reading the story very closely. I appreciate that.

Cheers


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I totally understand these feelings and this love, very beautiful.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Arren, thanks for reading and leaving appreciative comment

Regards


Arren123 profile image

Arren123 4 years ago from UK

Lovely hub, thanks for sharing :)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Sunny

thank you very much for leaving a wonderful comment. I have also often observed, hens can sometimes be very secretive about laying eggs.

I'm in Kathmandu, and I'm missing my farm.

Regards


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Dear Vinaya,

You have found such a rich life on your fathers farm. I wish I could see it as you describe it so beautifully. One day you will find a love that will share your interest and love of nature beside you. Thank you for sharing this wonderful hub..Your mother's wit is so refreshing...I am yearning for spring already..A couple of my chickens have decided to lay eggs other places so it is a guessing game as to where they have laid..I am not sure why..and now a couple are brooding...I have to lift them up to get the eggs..lol I have some Kale that is coming up now..the life in a garden is such a blessing.

Sunnie


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Terry, thank you very much for coming back.

Have a wonderful 2012.

Regards


Terry27 profile image

Terry27 4 years ago from The Place Called Love

You are welcome, Vinaya. I'm glad to have made your day. It brings me great pleasure to follow your work.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Terry, thank you very much. You have made my day. Thanks for following back.


Terry27 profile image

Terry27 4 years ago from The Place Called Love

I very much enjoyed this story Vinaya. I truly enjoy connecting with nature. She has a lot to wisdom to share with us.

Great pictures as well.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece with us.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Cocoa Fly Fishes thanks for coming back


Cocoa Fly Fishes profile image

Cocoa Fly Fishes 4 years ago from Wherever the fish are!

Namaste, & you are most welcome, my dear!

Your writing is a blessing, a slice of life that we can savor.

Do keep writing & sharing!

You & yours will continue to be in my daily meditations.

Sat nam.

Warm regards...Cocoa Fly Fishes


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Hello Cocca Fly Fishes,

Thank you very much for reading the story very closely. Your interpretations brought smile on my face. I'm blessed and honored to find a reader, supporter and a friend like you. Thank you very much for leaving a wonderful fan mail (and also sending me appreciative email)

Regards

Vinaya


Cocoa Fly Fishes profile image

Cocoa Fly Fishes 4 years ago from Wherever the fish are!

Dear Mr. Ghimire...

Thank you so much for sharing these precious moments from your life! I am deeply touched by your ability to see what is, unclouded by illusion, & to report it all with warmhearted compassion.

This hub has mede my day even more beautiful; may you receive equal beauty for the gift that you have given here.

As an inveterate gardener, I was thoroughly delighted by the passages describing your lovely garden & crops. Your facility with dialogue is impressive, too! However, between your father's dry humor, your mother's impishness, & your own love of gardening, I suspect that you hAve wonderful raw materials with which to work in the dialogue department! LOL

Regarding Maya, may your heart heal. You recognize that relationships do not end, really; they simply change. Adjusting to the change is a process, & I will hold you in meditation as you move forward in life & in love.

I will enjoy reading more of your work, sir, & look forward to those moments. Reading your work will be a treat for me when I accomplish enough of my work to "earn" a break.

You will not mind, I trust, that I have marked this hub "Voted Up", "interesting", "beautiful", & "funny".

Namaste.

Sat nam.

Warm regards...Cocoa Fly Fishes


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Hello Rosie, thanks for reading and leaving a wonderful comment.


Rosie writes profile image

Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

You have a beautiful style of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed your piece. My life is very busy and sometimes I wish for a slower moving lifestyle. I do have my small tomato garden and my quaint little pond.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Debby, thanks for reading and leaving a wonderful comment.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Debby, thanks for reading and leaving a wonderful comment.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Debby, thanks for reading and leaving a wonderful comment.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Vinaya ~ Such sweet writing of your rich earthy life. I will take Epi's cue and also post to FaceBook. Many will enjoy this read. Blessings, Debby ~~ DONE!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Thelyricwriter,

"distinguished writer?"

Wow I'll always remember your words my fellow writer.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Great stories Vinaya. You have really become a distinguished writer and your readings are always a joy to read my friend. Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Epi,

I have never seen my favorite artist perform live. You saw Zeppelin in 1974, I was born six years later. Nevertheless, I enjoy recorded version these days.

11:58 PM, Kathmandu


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

..rock on brother - I saw Led Zeppelin live at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada back in 1974 in their last Canadian tour and I was (lol) 16 years old .... lake erie time 12:56pm


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Epi, you are such a wonderful man, your appreciative comment really delighted me. Thanks for your visit. I'm honored by your presence.

I'm listening to Led Zeppelin tonight. Achilles Last Stand at this moment.

23:15 Kathmandu.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...I am pleased to see you receive so many fine comments here for your masterful writing style and this wonderful life affirming story - I would say that the pictures really help frame the mood along with your words and I feel like I'm in a film and you have taken me away to another world - well I will take your hub away with my me and post it proudly to my Facebook page with a direct link back here ......lake erie time ontario canada 11:31pm and what are you listening to these days - I always love when you sign off with your song list.

My one tonight was Brian Eno's Music for Airports and a really nice acoustic guitar compilation ......


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Movie Master, thanks for entering into my world.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Gardening is my love and passion - it's rural life for me!

I always enjoy reading about your life, thank you for sharing and voted up.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Thank you for coming back. Regards!


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

Vinaya, I would have been following you sooner but when I first started hubpages I pushed the follow button on the articles I was reading. So now I am going back and finding those hubbers I wanted to follow and push the right button. Thank you for following me.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear mljdgulley354,

Thank you very much for reading my story, and of course for following me.

Regards


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

Vinaya, working in a garden is a very relaxing event for me. I don't like eggplant either but I remember my grandmother growing it. My garden gives me serenity when I work in it. Loved your story.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Vinaya, I appreciate you so much.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Storytellersrus, thanks for finding me, other wise how could I find a brilliant writer like you. Your comments are very valuable to me.

I'll always remember your words: ethereal.

This is one of the best comments any writer can get.

Regards


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Vinaya, what a wonderful first hub for me to discover! Are they all this visual, this philosophical, this rooted in the earth? You are truly son of your father. I love everything about this piece. So sensitive, ethereal yet practical; I am in awe. I will learn much from your writing style... from you. Thank you for your comment on Tom's winning poem, that introduced me to you.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

b. Malin, thank you very much reading and leaving a wonderful comment.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

This story of yours Vinaya is so Rich and Rewarding a read. I love your stories, they give such insight to your homeland in Nepal. Along with the wonderful Photos it's a real treat.Thank you for sharing my Friend.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

blaise25, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you enjoyed this story.


blaise25 profile image

blaise25 5 years ago from close to you...

I enjoyed this. Reminds me of our little farm and the simple life in there. The photos are awesome as always :)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

@Martie, thanks for reminding me my farm again.(By the way, I'm in Kathmandu at the moment) Thank you very much for reading and commenting.

@Sueswan, thanks for your feedback. My ancestors were farmers, so are we. Like an animal tied to a pole, where ever we go, what ever we do, but at the end of the day we come back to our farm.


Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi Vinaya

Gardening is your love and passion.

Like you, I don't like eggplant. :-)

Voted up, up and away!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

How would I like to have some of those fresh vegetables now... with mayonnaise. This is such a vivid story, Vinaya, I could smell that farm of yours. Voted up and awesome.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Frank, your words are always sonorous to me. Thank you my friend.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

VG I admit you are a carpenter of tales Up and awesome


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

september girl, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you loved reading this.


september girl 5 years ago

I loved this one, of life in the garden and how you learned to appreciate it! : ) Thanks for the share!!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

jenubouka, thank you very much.


jenubouka 5 years ago

Another great and wonderful story rich with love and detail. Thank you


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Shanaya

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you read and commented.

Happy Thanksgiving


shanaya profile image

shanaya 5 years ago from Living in my Own Dreams:)

Hello Vinaya! A Great Hub with full knowledge. Thanks for sharing with us. Enjoyed and Loved reading it. Pleasure to meet you here.:)

voted up, awesome, interesting, useful.

(:???Happy Thanksgiving???

with lots of Respect

from SHANAYA:)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Rosemary, thanks for sincerely following my hubs. Thanks for your compliments.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Another good read Vinaya. Thank you for sharing a little more of your life with us.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Eddy

thanks for stopping by.

Regards


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A great hub and thank you for sharing and here's to many more to share on here.

Take care and have a wonderful day.

Eddy.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear Flora, now I understand. (well actually I did not have another entry for the contest) Contest or no contest we can always publish on hubpages.

Thanks for sharing your life. By the way I divide my time between my farm in a village and Kathmandu. I wish I could have earned more to support my travel.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I think Snakeslane meant that there was another half hour left in the contest after you published this if you had another entry.

I live in a place that is part rural, part city. Farmers live on the outskirts of the city. I need lots of nature around me. But I also need to be in walking distance of everything I need 9I don't drive, so rural only woldn't work for me.)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Hypenbird, I loved your inputs. Well actually, I took lots of care not to ruin the rural life.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

The young one has come to realize the costs and rewards must balance. Myself? I love a rural life.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal Author

Dear snakeslane, thanks for your compliments.

PS: half an hour for what?


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

I really like this Vinaya Ghimire. I can so relate. Regards, snakeslane ps you still have another half hour.

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