“Only you can bring back an almost dying plant to life,” my roommate said to me when I shared the above picture with her earlier this week. I felt really happy listening to that, it’s these human feelings and joy that fuel me on most days.

She gifted me this beautiful orchid plant last year. It had 6 blooming orchids and a few buds. If one has seen orchids closely, one would know how beautiful these flowers are. The petals are glittery and the centre looks like a pearl covered in magnificent petals.

I did not know much about taking care of orchid plants, I learned how to water orchids. The plant needed to be shifted to a bigger pot, but it required a special kind of planting mix. I didn’t get a chance to replant it and weeks later the buds and flowers had shed. For months we waited for the orchids to bloom. Only a dry stem and a few leaves which were lifeless and slowly turning yellow were left. I kept watering the plant in the hope of someday giving it a new home.

Occasionally, I checked it’s roots and they were drying up, the soil/potting mix had dissolved and I noticed a fungus growing on the roots, the leaves were damaged as well. It bothered me. It was a sweet gift and a living plant which was dying in my own room on my study table.

It had been over 6 months, the orchid always stayed with other little plants I have at home. I love all things sustainable, recyclable, reusable and reproducible. From 3 small succulents, I grew 9 home plants. All of them are baby-size fits for a study table or a windowsill.

It’s like a small project, the joy of helping something grow is ineffable. Coming back to the orchids, I finally bought the orchid plant mix. One fine day this February I repotted the orchid in a bigger and more durable pot. At first, the plant looked dead but when I dug further (metaphorically and otherwise) I saw life.

I cleaned the roots as per an online tutorial, wrapped them around potting mix and put it in a perforated pot and then in a china pot. For orchids to grow well, the soil should not hold water, it has aerial roots and they absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. It is important to not sag the soil with an overwhelming amount of water and let the roots breathe; the water should drain through the potting mix and not hold up.

I had to remove damaged parts of the leaves and pluck dead leaves and roots. Once I learned new roots and stems were blooming, I isolated them from fungi/rotted roots and supported the stem with a stick. Honestly, the roots were creeping me out, nonetheless, I handled them with bare hands.

Days later, I saw a beautiful blooming orchid and was ecstatic at the sight! The flower is healthy to date and the buds look promising. I really really hope that they keep blooming and grow fearlessly. Looking at the blossom, I had to acknowledge the power of love. It was love and care alone that let the dying plant come back to full blossom. No matter how broken, dejected, forgotten or damaged; love and care heal all. One had to believe in it to help it come back to life, ever more beautiful, giving and compassionate.