February 14th, 2018

Memsahib vs Mali

Every day, I open my morning paper hoping against hope that it won’t depress me with its news.

But that hardly ever happens.

Rape, death, communal tension, politics as usual – there they are, day after day, wearing down your spirit, so early in the day.

Today is no exception, so I’m doing that cowardly thing again, and ignoring the news, and shall instead chat about my garden.

Much more satisfying.  Well, for me, at least.

February is, I think, the nicest month in Delhi, with a combo of good weather & all the spring flowers out, so it’s a good a time as any to potter on my balcony and on my roof terrace, dead-heading away, and irritating the mali (gardener).

The dear man very much wants to do things HIS way, and HIS way does not include proactively looking after my pips and kernels and seeds and “jungli” cuttings that spoil his arrangements of plant pots, all in a row, each one containing one bloom.

Like so.Mali likes regimented displays.

Today, however, I count as a triumph.

My nagging finally paid off and the mail grudgingly trimmed the cacti that had grown so long and straggly (& downright ugly, if the truth be known) that they were becoming a danger.

As a sign of my above-the-fray maturity at this rare triumph of Memsahib over Mali, I forbore to comment on the blossoms on the lemon tree.

Those of you who have read my pottering posts before, will perhaps remember that the lemon tree on my roof terrace – that has Actually Produced Lemons, I’ll have you know – is a source of good natured dispute between Mali and yours very truly.

During the years when the tree produced nothing, Mali openly sneered at it, and my devotion to it.

Memsahib, you planted it from pips, nothing will ever grow, you don’t understand, etc etc etc.

Then, of course, came my moment of triumph, a few years ago, when the dear shrub produced lemons.

(Only a few, admittedly, and not terribly juicy, admittedly, but lemons they were.)

Dear old Mali’s tune changed.  No Memsahib you don’t understand (he says that a lot). This is not from your pips.  I planted it.  It’s a graft.

And so it goes on, good-naturedly, year after year.

Anyway, MY lemon tree has a few tentative blossoms, so I’m optimistic.

The kumquat tree is also in bloom & producing fruit, so at least we won’t starve.

The lemongrass has been cut back, which is a tad worrying, since it’s my afternoon tipple.

The marigolds are in full, jolly, in-your-face bloom, bless ‘em:

The roses are looking lovely:

The bougainvillea, of course, just keeps on doing its glorious thing. This really is such a brilliant flower for our Delhi climate.

The hotter it gets, the more it blooms.  Such a star:So, yes, on my balcony & on my roof terrace, at least, all is most definitely well with the world.

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