house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Identical Greens

And the day started so well... hysterical breakfast on a friend's terrace. Donuts and black coffee laid out on a nomad's carved table. After a good banter about fat-cops-and-donuts stereotypes we discovered a pile of bamboo sticks lying around. We turned these into javelins and spent a happy hour hurling them at the dog's water bowl on the lawn below (no, the dog was NOT thirsty at any point during the event).

The entire paragraph above exists so that I can write the next four words: I HIT THE BOWL. A deafening tin-bang and a dent to mark the feat. Eeeh the cheering, the frantic frenzy everyone put into their next attempts (unsuccessful). Sad, sad, sad to write a blog about a silly javelin competition...

Let's make it about something else then. Although, come to think of it, what followed reminds me of another javelin hero - the Iraqi Paralympic champion Ahmed Naas, who trained throwing a stick across a dusty field; in London, he won silver and briefly held the javelin world record; when he returned to Iraq, no one waited for him at the airport and he took a taxi home. The next day he woke up and went back to sell cabbages at his family's vegetable stall.

We too ended up among greens.

In a remote sector of Islamabad, we found vast poli-tunnels where a billion identical seeds turn to a riot of green leaves and sit there quietly waiting for buyers. Yes we went Sunday-morning-plant-shopping. Far too late, Kira and I realised what this meant.

It meant walking up and down a million pathways-between-green-plants. It meant checking minuscule differences in stalk vigour, leaf breadth, plant height and price. It meant choosing hanging pots and clay bells. It meant buying guess what? Yes, donuts from a street vendor balancing a huge tray on his head.

It meant skipping after a butterfly from one flower pot to another. It meant a migration of marigolds from dusty path to braided hair. It meant - finally - a laden truck and a ride in the back, using toes, knees and hips to keep various plants in place. It meant a chase of clouds, sunshine and wind, small flights and a broken pot, a traffic light stop next to a bus full of schoolgirls, who jostled each other to see us better, to wave and to smile.

P.S. The man on a motorbike, in front of the pots and greenhouse - do you see him? Have another look, tell me if you notice anything else. Comment below. Hint: focus on the side of his head. Well?

P.P.S. Since we seem to be playing 'Spot Something Amazing' please tell me who's the person walking - how should I put it? - in a rather determined fashion towards a greenhouse, in one of the pictures? Resemblance to any celebrity, real or fictional?


At 29 November 2012 at 16:31 , Blogger emwolfem said...

P.S. The guy has got a mobile phone stuck to his ear with an elastic band that goes all around his head. This way he can ride his bike and chatter... He can carry an armful of flower pots and chatter. He can eat a chapati and chatter. When he takes it off at night, I imagine it leaves an angry red line across his forehead.


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