We have a small garden next to our house where my m-i-l has her collection of plants –flowering, ornamental, fruit-bearing etc. That’s where we get our everyday quota of a small basketful of assorted flowers, just enough for the daily pooja. Also we have 2 kaNagilu flower plants just outside our gate (dunno what they’re called in English nor their taxonomical name, the small flowers are available in white and pink varieties, their leaves are long and coarse – while we were kids, we’d strip the plant of these leaves, hold two together at the ends, and do a pull-push action to make this distinct phat-phat noise 😀 phew! if u’ve still not gotten it, just forget it!), these were also planted by my m-i-l several years ago.
Now, everyday for the past few months, mostly it’s me who does this chore of picking the flowers for the morning pooja. I do it any-time between 7-7.30 AM. Of late, we noticed that there were very few kaNagilu flowers adorning the plant. Apparently somebody was picking these flowers early in the morning. One such morning, when I opened the gate for our maid, she asked me to pick the flowers immediately. The ladies returning from their morning stint at the nearby temple were the culprits she said; they would pick most of the flowers, leaving behind a few (how charitable, u should say!) so as to not arouse our suspicions. That day the mystery lady(ies) went flowerless. Next day, what did we see?! 6.15 AM, and the flowers have disappeared. Evidently the lady(ies) had picked the flowers en-route to the temple! How scheming can one get!
The neighbours behind our house too have several flowering plants, several of them just adjacent to our compound. While I am in the garden, several times I see that there are flowers in their plants too, very accessible, handy to pick, nobody would even notice if I pick one. But never have I been able to bring myself to pick even that one flower. Somehow, it doesn’t seem right. My conscience forbids me from plucking that alluring flower.
That’s when I wonder; don’t those temple-going-otherwise-pious god-fearing ladies have a conscience? Don’t they pause to think – probably in their hurry to adorn their gods with multi-hued flowers, they’re possibly the cause for that house’s bare looking pooja–room that day? What is the big deal, one might say! All gods are the same at the end of the day! (?!!) But it is big deal, I say. What is it that prompts such people to pluck flowers from people’s homes? – people who have invested their time and efforts and love in getting these plants to the height and the flower-bearing state that they’re in. Don’t they feel a prick – a teeny-weeny bit at-least? phew! I just can’t figure them out!