Submitted into Contest #86 in response to: Write a story where flowers play a central role.... view prompt


Contemporary Desi Fiction

Laal Baagh!

The beautiful green botanical garden in Bangalore which is the heart throb of Bangaloreans!

The long rows of trees encircled by bunches of flowers all around makes you feel that this is the Paradise and you are the receiver of the best gift from the Creator.

When the Spring springs from the cycle of seasons, I go around and around this garden unmindful of my existance and the world around.

My parents named me Ajay.

I have blissfully crossed 21 Springs so far.

I am a commerce student but I feel that my teachers are the trees in this garden.

Flowers! Flowers! Flowers!

The colour of a Rose enchants me like a fairy does a young prince in a fairy tale.

The smell of jasmine flower spread in the cool breeze lifts me into a dreamy world where damsels bathe you with flowers.

The very structure of a Coronation flower makes me feel like a Young Sultan of a desert Kingdom wearing this beautiful flower as my crown.

My friends call me the flower man (d).

Nature and the human are not different from each other.

I know that each flower I see, each flower I smell and each flower I touch responds with the same level of emotion.

Suddenly, One fine morning, Shwetha entered into my life.

In the same garden, amongst the group of flowers.

“ you seem to be a lover of flowers!” she told me smiling.

“ err,....yes.....,I am” I looked at her. She resembled another blooming flower.

“ I am watching you for the past few days. You are so deeply indulged in your flower watching that you see nothing around”.

“ Yes indeed! flowers are my world!”

“ I am Shwetha from Jayanagar. I am studying B.Sc, computer science in Mahaveer Jain college.”

“ I am Ajay,studying B.com ,second year in Presidency college.”

Subsequent meetings continued. She is fond of music, dance and Kannada literature.

She is emphatic in her expressions and is a cute blend of modern life and Indian tradition.

I could smell that she likes me.

My father, an IAS officer, who considered me as an unpractical man and my mother a professor of English literature, always are worried about my future.

Her father a businessman and her mother a social activist seem to be very confident about the bright future of their daughter.

One day I took Shwetha to my home and she spent nearly three hours with my parents.

“ Very smart girl! Good at execution of all jobs!,” my mother told me after her departure.

“ For the first time in your life you seem to have befriended an intelligent girl” my father told.

I met her father one day and he advised me that your thoughts may fly but your feet should stick to the ground. “Flowers are to see and enjoy but not to eat my boy!” He patted my shoulder with a big laugh.

I could understand that at both levels assessments are being made regarding our marriage and life after.

But we both did not talk anything about the same till date.

She started wearing a flower in her hairlocks everyday she met me.

“ How do I look?” she suddenly asked me one day.

“ err....you look....look ....beautiful. I think that.....

that.....I am....not”

“can I tell you how you look?,”she asked me with a hearty giggle.

“ Yes.,...please!”

“ You look like an idiot!” she laughed aloud with a glitter in her eyes.

I was taken aback. “ Me? An idiot?”

“ Yes! because an idiot is a person who does not know that he is handsome even after seeing himself in a full sized mirror”

I felt elated and hoped that she will be the flower in my garden that never fades.

I failed in my final year examinations. My father admitted me in a coaching institute. He advised me that I have to change my attitude and activities. I nodded my head approvingly.

Shwethaa got a job in a multinational company in Bangalore in campus selection. She became very busy and our meetings got reduced. Even talking over phone was difficult because of her busy schedule.

I tried to concentrate on my studies. But my visits to gardens, ponds, hills did not allow my nature-thirsty eyes to brood over the thick black worms called letters in my books of study.

One day Shwrtha met me at my house. 

“ Ajay! Come out with me! I wish to have a stroll and talk to you”

We came out and sat at an isolated place.

“ Ajay! You know that I love you! I want to marry you and live with you.

But not like this!”

I gazed at her and asked ,” what do you mean?”

“ look Ajay! Life has so many dimensions! You can not always be a flower man and wander in a dreamy world. I want you to be a Man of talents, intellect and dashing. See I joined my company two years ago.

I mastered the software system and I have become a team leader within a short time. My colleagues, subordinates and superiors respect me. I want you to become like me in any field or even excel me. Please stop roaming among gardens and wasting your time and life”.

I sat in silence. I know that she was right. Absolutely right. She wants me to become a man of real life and share the pleasures of materialistic life.

“ I understand!” I told her in a low voice.

I could see tears in her eyes when she departed.

Somehow I completed my studies and joined a job that gave me some income that is peanuts in comparison to the income of Shwetha.

I could not make break-throughs in my career. My Mother one day told me that my father at my age was a champion in all activities.

I understood that I am supposed to be a race horse.

And I need not say to every one of you that Shwetha left me and married a handsome, strong, intelligent and talented race horse and settled in USA.

I am in Laalbaagh!

The beautiful botanical garden with all greenery encircled by bunches of flowers around.

The Spring started just yesterday.

The cool breeze in the morning spreading the smell of different flowers touched my body thus arousing mirth in my soul.

I gazed at the flowers around me. Roses! Roses!!

These flowers do not go to school.

These flowers do not go to job.

These flowers do not earn money, eat drink and dance in drunken mood.

These flowers do not love and marry race horses.

They blossom and spread beauty, smell and happiness.

They live and love.

This little rose loves me and I love her.

Oh! Rose! My little Rose!!!

March 23, 2021 08:07

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