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Life’s a conundrum to which none have found an answer.

There! That sounded pretty high-flown as openings go, right? What follows though, is the usual mundane post talking of ordinary things of life. Come to think of it, there’s indeed a conundrum we, residents of this housing colony, are facing on a daily basis.

The majority of residents, wanting their surroundings to look beautiful, have planted flowering shrubs and vines bordering their respective compound walls. Enter flower-thieves. They are the ones who hate the sight of beautiful flowers where they belong, on plants. Stealthily, they make away with the beautiful flowers. A hand stretched out while casually walking by, and the flowers are gone.

If they are caught, which happens often enough, they either smile ingratiatingly, or act righteously indignant. After all, they had plucked the flowers for the noblest of causes, to place before the deity in their homes. How in the world could you object to that? Never mind if you don’t believe in deities or their insatiable appetite for stolen flowers. You see, you may have tenderly tended to the plants, but it’s what THEY ‘believe’ that counts.

Our house sits on a slope and when it rains the top layer of soil is washed away. This year we decided to plant some shrubs so the soil would hold. Along with the shrubs, three jasmine vines were also planted. We were thrilled to find they had all taken root, it being the monsoon season and the best of times for plants to be planted. What’s more, the jasmines even started putting out flowers at a really tender stage of their life.

Flower thieves duly took note of proceedings, and struck with renewed force. A stern, ‘Who’s there?’ from us sent some of the younger ones scrambling. Disembodied voices coming out of the blue have exactly that sort of effect on people engaged in wrongdoing. The older women though, not being so nimble on their feet, merely turned the other way, inspecting the sky or the wall opposite, pretending ignorance. What an Oscar-winning performance.

After a while, we sighed and let it be. After all flowers, here today, gone tomorrow. ….But today evening, a middle-aged woman who was seen lurking in the vicinity pulled away half the vine in an attempt to pluck the flowers, right from its root. Only the top bit was left waving in the wind, twined around a bit of rope. That will only too soon wither and die.

It’s a pity that they don’t arrest or incarcerate flower thieves, or as in this case, plant-murderers. Methinks they need a special kind of jail, where they are made to write a thousand times over, ‘I will not steal flowers’ and also ‘I will not kill plants’.

© Shail Mohan 2019