Last year, a friend of mine gifted us with a small plantlet. A beautiful little plantlet. The kind I hadn’t seen before. Looked exotic. Looked beautiful. Snap dragon it is called. I was thrilled. Who doesn’t like beautiful, little flowering plants? It upped the ambience of the house a notch. And I’ll give my friend that. Seems like she had put quite a lot of thought in to this wonderful gift. When you are just starting off in a new country, in a rented place, small additions like these are really what make a house look more like a warm home.
This small little plantlet grew, flowered and bloomed. Small, pink flowers whose petals opened like a dragon’s mouth. Each time we saw a new bud popping, we ooh-ed and aah-ed. We marvelled in its beauty. If this plant was a girl, it would have felt vain over how beautiful it looked. At any point, it would have 10-12 flowers in full bloom and half a dozen or so of buds waiting for their moment in glory. The contrast of pink and green. What’s not to like? The plant grew in size. We kept trimming away at the dried, withered edges. It was branching out so fast, that within no time we had to tie a thread around the little stems to keep them from bending sideways from the weight of the flowers.
Then came winter. The plant withstood the stormy winds as it did the cold, harsh weather. That little thing fought with all its might. It did start looking a bit dried out and worn out, and showed a few signs of fatigue. But we kept trimming at the dying parts and kept watering it regularly. We kept it alive.
Until that day came. We were visiting India for a month and needed someone to look after the precious one in our absence. I left the plant in the good care of a dear colleague, who promised to water it every other day. A little water every other day, is all the plant needed.
Upon my return, when she handed me the plant, it really looked miserable. It looked like it couldn’t bear to be away from us. My colleague did her best and watered it regularly, but it seemed to have worn out tremendously. It looked like it was dying. My colleague blamed herself to my dismay. I scolded her for blaming herself. It wasn’t her fault. She watered it regularly. That’s all we asked her to do.
With a heavy heart I brought it home. It was hard to see it go. My MIL suggested that we try one last resort. We trimmed the whole plant down to bare minimum. Until what remained of the plant was just its small little stem. Withered flowers, fallen leaves, dried out stems lay in a heap on the carpet.
We hoped it would survive, we hoped it would bloom back to life. But we were not convinced. It looked too weak to survive. Mentally, we had given up on it. We kept it out in the balcony, but rarely spared it a second glance. We watered it occasionally. Nothing seemed to change for the first three months.
But that little plant hadn’t given up its will to live. Miracles do happen. After about three months, we noticed it was looking a little greener. Little grown up than it had looked in many months. It looked like it was alive. Within weeks, we saw new stems branching out. It was looking fuller, it was looking healthier. We waited and soon we were greeted with new buds opening up. And before long, the little plantlet was blooming with flowers once again. It is now about eight inches tall, but has four flowers in full bloom and five buds ready to shine. It’s beautiful again. My home is a bit more cheerful once again.
Why am I sharing this story? Because every time TCG and I look at this plant, we are awed. We are fascinated. We are humbled. We are surprised. We are amazed at this little plant’s fighting spirit. It’s will to survive against all odds. It’s strength to face the winters and brave the storms. Little it may be, but look how much LIFE it has in it. It reinforces our faith in ourselves. It reminds us never to lose hope. It proves where there is a will, there is a way. It reminds us who the BOSS is. It tells us not to fret the small stuff. It teaches us not to be disheartened by minor setbacks and disappointments. It enlightens us and makes us wiser. (It made us feel guilty about having thought once that it wouldn’t make through. )
When a three-inch brazen looking stem can spring back to full life with it’s fighting spirit and zeal to live, who are we to give up, make excuses and feel doomed over small set backs.
A small plant. A BIG teacher.
I wish this precious one always survives.
For those who want to know how a snap dragon plant looks like: