Etched in the memory of every child from Generation Z will be the summer of 2020, when they looked from their balconies and saw Garden City’s trees in full bloom and streets covered in colorful carpets of spring blossom.
“Overnight, we were told we don’t have to go to school for the next few days. Joy knew no bound, but what did we know about being at home and soaking in the simple joys of life? Never had our generation experienced time pass like the steady gait of a horse.
Between more time than our PlayStation could handle and less play time than we wished for, I was left with no option but to explore uncharted territories that included a window overlooking neighbouring trees and a wishful terrace garden.
Needless to say, the terrace garden was more exciting. Where one would hope to see red cherry tomatoes, I saw plants struggling to hold on to their green. But dare that deter me! We had learnt all too well that plants fill up on sunlight in the process of photosynthesis to sustain life… My tender hands toiled all day to make sure the plants followed the sun and were watered twice a day.
It wasn’t too long before mother found out what I had been up to. And no, it wasn’t because of my seemingly successful attempts at gardening, but because there was a sudden spike in the household water consumption. When she saw the terrace look like we had well-entered the monsoons, her fury knew no limit. That night, I learnt a lesson I never thought would have to be learnt – ‘How to use water’.
The following day onwards, I was allotted two buckets of water a day for all my activities, which included my daily routine and of course, my new found hobby. To be honest, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Going from long showers to quick bucket baths and from leaving the tap on while brushing to using just one bottle of water for the task, I realised this is what we have always been talking about at school – save water!
Much to my amusement, I found that my comfortable transition into the punishment left my parents rather impressed. However, they didn’t seem to care much about my terrace garden. They would drop into my shrubbery every now and then, more so to look at the neighbouring tree. I didn’t understand what was so enchanting about the tree that it made my mammoth effort to revive our garden look small.
From what I overheard, it seems they were excited to see sparrows nesting on the tree. What? A tiny little bird? I couldn’t care too much! But I did smile along when they showed me this bird, which apparently decided to make an appearance after ages. It was a pleasant evening, though. Just being there as a family and appreciating the colour of the sky!
When morning dawned, things weren’t as chirpy. As watched on our television, an announcement by the Prime Minister made it clear that we would have to continue staying indoors. By this time, I was enjoying my days with my PlayStation, my ambitious tomato plant (although I wish it’d reach its fruition faster) and brief glances of this little bird that I had come to look forward to. And with limited opportunity to venture outside, my mother
finally saw promise in my terrace garden. Now, we have some more plants in the mix – including chillies and coriander. I think that was the first time I taught my mother something – “How to make the best out of the resources we have”
In this fast-paced life we have built around ourselves, we don’t often get the opportunity to value the simpler, more vibrant things in life. While we stand strong and united in our fight against COVID-19, it comes as a breather that it introduces a much-appreciated pace that can actually enrich our lives.