Monday, April 22, 2013

American ♫ Desi Girl ♫

Chapter 10

Unaccustomed Earth

Mama had ordered a huge shipment of tulip bulbs from a catalog and they were sitting in the driveway next to the freshly dug earth that displayed a shiny earthworm or two. Nanima had promised to help. Her knees hurt when she sat on the ground so she had brought along her special gardening tool, a low stool on wheels!

“Hey Grandma, Nanima, what is worse than finding a worm in your apple?” asked the LP.
“Finding half a worm in your apple?”
“Ooo you knew that one already.”
“I was once a child just like you are now.”
“You had riddles back in your time?”
“No. Just silly questions.”

The two kept up their banter, the LP now thirteen still acted four around her grandmother. That was an accepted fact between them, their little inside joke.

Four hours and two aching backs later the tulips had been duly embedded in peat enriched soil drizzled with water and bulb fertilizer. Now it was time to sit back relax and replenish.

Grandma had a thing for tulips she said. They came in boxes each year from another place, another soil, having known only that before they got here, knowing now they would never see the sky that same shade of blue again, never hear again the sounds of the old familiar garden, nor feel the tread of the old familiar gardener, Baghban. They had been transplanted, just like she had been.

And as Mama sat down with her cup of ginger tea the doorbell rang. The Kumars at number 42 had sent their son over to deliver a platter of steaming fresh dhokla. Mama thanked them profusely. The lady said she’d seen them toiling in the yard and knew they’d enjoy the little surprise. Mama promised her the first tulips that bloomed that season.

Allusions:
Unaccustomed Earth — book by Jhumpa Lahiri
Baghban — Bollywood movie
The Kumars at no. 42 — T.V. show