Mitkoo is not making a model of the Himalayas. He has spread out an old cotton saree over stakes to protect young gerbera plants in the flowerbed! The October sun will scorch these plants if they're exposed to it so soon after they've been planted. The cool nights and the morning dew are helping them come along nicely, though!
'There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.'
The last three lines of this rhyme were often quoted at home when I was a little girl. I always hated them, because they applied to the only little girl in a house full of grown ups and older children: me. And why did it have to be a girl in the poem anyway? I just found that out. The poet Longfellow composed and sang these lines to his baby girl as he held her in his arms!
This poem is what comes to my mind every day in this month of contrasts, October.
The mornings are chilly and clear, and they seem to promise that the cold weather is on its way. By eleven, the sun is scorching down from clear post-monsoon skies, and the heat, glare and humidity are enervating. By four-thirty or so in the evening, it is pleasant and the daylightlight is soothing, almost golden. Within the hour, the sun has already set, and it is pitch dark!
The early sunset is because of our eastern location. We're by no means the furthest east in the country, and in those places the sun must set even earlier. Tea gardens in Assam, the first state to the East of us, have worked their way around this problem and they have followed something called 'Garden Time' for years, which is one hour ahead of Indian Standard Time.
These flowers from our garden are themselves an embodiment of contrasts. This arangement of bamboo orchids and ixoras echoes the colour schemes of the paper flowers my mother would make and string up for her 'Kolu'. See how dark the shadows are in the second picture?
And this lovely flower which we value more for its scent than its appearance is called Coral Jasmine -- 'Pavazha Malli' in Tamil, and 'Sheuli' in Bengali. The two colours do seem to stand for the heat and cold that the flower's blooming season brings!