MIDWAY : Back to gardening

Swapnil Acharya

We have been fully adapted to the modern Kathmandu neighbourhood. We were given all

the facilities and standard care as we grew up. We’ve had finely done rooms, clean household and as we would like it, a ‘neat’ atmosphere to live in. The only exposure to soil, dust and mud is outside the house or in the kitchen garden. But a garden is not a reason to feel unhealthy. We hardly ever go there to look at what’s growing. It’s dad, mom or a hired gardener who does all the gardening for us. We all love to grow our own vegetables to overcome the towering prices. We grow gourds, squashes and pumpkin-sprouts. Some even dare to grow corn and beans at the backyards. I recently decided to help out my parents at the kitchen garden. I held a trowel in my hand, which gave me a feeling of Han Solo. Wow, I was going to conquer the kitchen garden! The whole thing sounded so adventurous. Eventually, my mom suggested I uprooted the weed growing around an okra shrub. Then I plucked a few pumpkin-sprouts and there I was. But my arms and chin were itching as though they were set on fire. That’s it, okay I am out of this, I announced, dashing for anti-allergic medication.

It happens all the time to all those to whom gardening is not a cup of tea. We, the Johnson’s-baby-generation, confined to the room, are just too delicate to go out in the farm. We played with legos and told to keep away from the hard soil and plants. We have all evolved as a soil, pollen and plant hair allergic generation. But I find it amazing to see farmers working at highly shrubby areas, inside cornfields or planting rice in swampy leech affected areas. To them nettle sting is nothing. It’s all because of exposure. Allergy and dirt notwithstanding, gardening has its benefits. So I decided that I must continue to spend time between the plants. It was itchy for some days. Then a miracle happened. I was resistant to all garden allergies. Now I have no problem going back to the garden. I have developed a habit of spending some time there every evening. It leaves me feeling refreshed and charged. It’s now so much fun. Last evening, I noticed the first sprout of a French bean creeper I implanted. I was so happy to see it germinate.