What is a plant? A myriad of opportunities-Food for some, Prey for some, Life for some. Death for some. Can we imagine our lives without plants??? Yes, I did most of my childhood-Sounds weird right-here it goes….

As a kid, I hated plants/trees/any form of greens as food. Anything living in Green was the immediate cause of my anger(remember the  Onida Tv ad of the 80s-Neighbor’s envy owner’s pride-yup that envy was me-Pride was green everywhere).

I would imagine myself as the One-horned Gremlin having a vacuum sucking up all the plants, and trees and making them disappear off the face of the earth-Ha ha The Evil laughter on my face post the imaginary disappearance of plants was Equal to ten-headed  Ravana’s evil glee-Ha ha aha.

No amount of bribing, cajoling, or treats from mom would make me eat a plant-be It – Palak dal/ methi/love one plant in a garden. Sometimes I would think Mom loves the Palak, methi, more than me so much that I would consider myself adopted. Hmmmph.

My most irritating job was walking to and from school going by a bushy, garden path. Those green goblins’ eyes when they can crush my legs, scratch my thighs, and laugh a silent laugh-Like Hey Karen we did it. Our hater is injured.

This cycle went on for a couple of years-Mom cajoling me to eat healthy greens to get strong and also how plants release oxygen while they take in our bad air co2, and how they are needed for us to survive. But no amounts could make me love plants-edible or otherwise.

All this changed one-day suddenly-It started pouring out of nowhere-the heaviest rain of a decade. Water everywhere-nothing else-B people running helter-skelter to a nearby shelter to escape getting submerged.

Schools that were caught unawares started suddenly sending kids away-No mobile those days meant people had to see the water levels and start off to schools to get their kids. everyone was in literal panic mode. Rains of this kind were unheard of, unseen of -As if skies had broken apart to release all that was pent up.

Now you would wonder why all this brouhaha about rains? And where was I?

So I like everyone was running like a mad cat trying to escape the water and reach home as fast as I could. Mom couldn’t start from there as it was flooded-so she did the only thing she could-Pray to God that I reach somewhere safe. Dad was stuck too at his hospital & couldn’t come looking for me.

So here was this ten-year-old partly wet, scared to her wits, not knowing what to do girl who could only see water up to gobbling her if she didn’t move-Move but where?

Fortunately, a group of senior students came out of nowhere and huddled a few of us with them pulling us with them wherever they sensed they could go-we went nearly half a mile and then hit a high ground-And behold what did I see?? A huge tree with its many branches hadn’t been hit by the rain/water -We all were huddled under the same monster I so despised till then. The huge many branches and trunks provided perfect cover -some even climbed it and sat. I just sat on a branch that was above water aided by seniors of course.

The whole gamut of emotions going in my mind was enough to write a gazillion pages of a book-so will just stick to a few-From what me under a tree??to Yes Me under a tree to Ok me under a tree.

The drama ended a couple of hours later and we were rescued by some disaster teams who whisked us to our homes slowly.

Reached home in a state of shock, panic, and confusion…..how’s whys still lingering ….

Slowly all hate disgust mistrust turned from Ok I tolerate ok I coexist now I can’t live without them.

Me hating the tree/plants so much and still a tree save me shook all my misgivings about them-

Today, as I look back-I, have only tears of gratitude for that tree. Tears of love. Tears of it rescuing me despite not getting anything back.

This my friends are plants -generous givers -not takers-if they take anything it’s our mistrust, our bad air, our bad treatment & what they give us-Oxygen, love, calm, a sense of belonging,

Let’s all plant more plants/trees-who knows another Radha is waiting to be rescued.

PS-Palak dal is now my favorite. I have it almost every day.

Also the huge tree still is very much there albeit trimmed up a bit!