Some weeks ago, one morning like on most other days, I finished the after-breakfast clean-up and looked up the clock before heading for a bath. And then I stopped. It was 9 am and the mason and his helpers had not shown up. I looked around and Ragu and Aum were missing too. As I walked into the farm searching for them, I heard a couple of strange voices. And then more. And then more giggles. And there was Ragu in the opening with some ten folks – each holding 2 or 3 saplings in their hands and shouting Happy Birthday! The mason who was busy digging pits just turned back at me and smiled.
So Ragu had procured saplings the previous day and hidden them at a neighbours’. And friends from near-far had come in early to get their hands dirty. The mason and helpers had pitched in quite happily. In the evening 6 more friends came in just like that and they made sure the saplings were mulched well. Ragu’s parents were visiting and so was our pal Yaniv and it was quite a party. In the evening we made some sweets and snacks to share with 20 plus folks as a simple sign of gratitude.
After every one left, it dawned on me that now I have to take care of dozens of saplings planted in a remote corner of the farm – at least till the next rains. Mid-Feb to mid-March is one of the 2 hottest months in this region and I wasn’t sure if even 4 or 5 of them would survive. And just a couple of days later, we had 4 days of heavy, unseasonal downpour. As Ragu would say, plant them anyways..either you will find the strength to care for them or the heavens will open up.