Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Gardener

In our younger days we (my elder brother AVL Rao and me) always dreaded one particular job. It was the job of removing the weeds in our house garden. This used to be a tough manual job assigned to us by our eldest brother Ramakrishna Rao (AVR). He was highly interested in gardening as a hobby. People from our village appreciated his skills in maintaining the beautiful garden at our Adekhandi house. There were rare varieties of flower plants in our garden. The visitors to the house always used to praise the beauty of our wonderful garden. Some of them even used to call it a Mini Lalbhag!
We had absolutely no objections for our beloved eldest brother garnering all the attention and praise for his hobby. But we always felt that he was getting this sole credit at our expense. None of the visitors ever felt that the total absence of weeds in our Mini Lalbhag was a contribution by the two of us! Oh! How much suffering we had to undergo while removing certain weeds! There used to be plenty of a particular type of weed called ‘Touch Me Not’! This was called “Naachike Mullu” (Blushing Thorn) in Kannada. Our fingers used to bleed heavily while removing this thorny weed. It was not unusual to see tears rolling down our eyes due to the pain inflicted by such weeds.
Our eldest brother was a tough taskmaster. He would not only entrust the work to the two of us, but also conduct periodical quality checks on our performance. He would take us to task even if he observed a minor weed among his pretty flower plants. Most of the times our misery used to be such that we never appreciated the beauty of the flowers in our own garden. Besides, many of these weeds would reappear after some time. It meant another round of removal of weeds for us. In other words, this was a repetitive periodical job for the two of us. We even felt sometimes that we were bonded labourers under our eldest brother!

AVR's gardening hobby increased over the years.  He used to bring seedlings from several sources and plant them in our house garden.  Our Adekhandi house had several species of rare plants, which the visitors to our home enjoyed and appreciated.
The Real Gardener
Our eldest brother was quite good in his studies. But keeping in tune with those times, our father thought that a pass in lower secondary examination (LS) was more than enough for a village boy. That qualification was also quite sufficient for a village school teacher which was thought as a standard job for a village boy of those days. So that was it. He had to curtail his ambition of going for further studies.
In course of time my immediate elder brother (AVL) also completed his fourth standard. In his case my father perhaps thought that a fourth standard itself was more than enough. He was made to sit at home and engage himself in assisting in agricultural activities.
It was my turn now to join my two elder brothers. By that time our elder brother had realised that there was no future for our family unless we went for higher education. He took it as a challenge to see that his younger brothers got what had been denied to him. He took a decision to make me continue my education further. This was inspite of the fact that he had limited resources at his command. I was first sent to the Middle School. After some time AVL was also made to revive his education career at the behest of our elder brother. I should say that this decision of our beloved brother became a turning point in our family affairs. Our brother supported us knowing fully well that our family could not afford to offer any financial support. Eventually both of us completed our graduation to become the first persons in our village to achieve this distinction.
Today our beloved eldest brother is not with us anymore. But the educational foundation he laid for two of his younger brothers has enabled our family members to stand on their own feet. All of us are comfortably placed financially – thanks to this Gardener who nurtured the two of us just like he brought up the flower plants in his beautiful garden.

AVR in discussions with the famous Kannada singer B K Sumitra
(Standing in between is my younger brother Madhava)

As a tribute to my brother it may not be out of place for me to present below two of the flowers from our house garden:

The Brahma Kamala (Night Queen) and the traditional Jasmine flowers at their full Beauty


Govinda Rao said...

Developing gardening habit refreshes mind apart from pleasant look around the house. AVK's eldest brother's interest of those days is laudable.


Narain said...

Shri AVR has enabled the younger siblings to weed out the ills of life for achieving great heights by equipping them wit the most important resource of education. Such foresight is the hallmark of a leader which will take the families to the path of prosperity and enlightenment. We salute you Shri AVR as we reminisce your noble deeds.

AVK Murthy said...

Thank you NN and BGR

gtholpadi said...

Very nice, maava! The analogy of nurturing the garden in the youth, and nurturing the family later in life, is wonderful and went straight to the heart.

AVK Murthy said...

Thank you Gowtham.