Zeenath Jahan

When I was a child, we had a large garden and every Thursday the gardener flooded it with canal water. I remember running about in the dirty water in my petticoat before being taken in for a good scrub. This was one of the little pleasures childhood is littered with; pleasures that an adult mind could never understand. Ofcourse, since the garden was large, and the canal water brought in all sorts of plants that had no business being in a 'garden', there were masses of dandelions that bloomed each spring.

Mummy told us the dandelion seed-heads were fairy clocks. I believe her and never tired of blowing on them to tell the time in fairy-land. That was the time she was still with us, before she went away and I learned that people to desert the ones they love, before I learned not to trust.

As time passed I grew up and was married and had a garden of my own. It was large too, and was irrigated by canal water. It was impossible to keep the wild flowers out but I preferred it that way. I loved the dandelions, the forget-me-nots, the daisies and the wild hyacinths dotting the grass. I loved the natural, 'wild' look as though Nature herself had planted it for me. Ofcourse, the dandelions were my favourites and I taught my children to tell the time in fairy-land.

Each spring the dandelions bloomed and my heart lifted with joy. The more the garden was carpeted by dandelions the happier I felt. Spring was not spring without the dandelions. Maybe, my joy reflected that earlier period of my life, the period of my innocence when the world was dependable. Everyone who knew of my idiocyncrasy and were amused by my joy in the blooming of a 'mere weed'.

One day my husband decided the garden needed a facelift. He brought in a gang of labourers and all day they sat, shoulder to shoulder, pulling out the dandelions by the roots. When I found out what was happening I was horrified. My precious plants were being destroyed. Dandelions were precious where I was concerned! I begged and pleaded for my dandelions to be spared. But my pleadings fell on deaf ears. I was told I was mad and that weeds had no place in a garden. Next year spring came, but there were no dandelions in my garden. There was n ojoy in my heart. How could there be 'spring' without the dandelions?

More years passed, years without a Spring. Then one year I secretly collected some dandelion seeds from the golf course and sprinkled them in my garden. Slowly, gradually the dandelions returned to my garden. This spring my garden was ablaze with the harbingers of joy, my dandelions prophesying a new beginning.

This year the dandelions returned to my garden in full bloom. This year spring came to my garden again.

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