I miss dad when I walk my pet in the botanic gardens especially when Maxx stops to sniff the pretty white nandyavattai flowers on the way.
There were two of them. I remember them even as tiny saplings before they grew into tall plants. It was daddy who dutifully watered them every evening. We had a long hose pipe with a rubber nozzle that connected to the water outlet at one end while the other end reached one of the paathis (the mud bridges that was built around the plant to help hold water) that dad had created with the help of a gardener. Every evening, dad got back from work and ritualistically connected the hose pipe to the water outlet and held the other end in his hand and walked about from one plant to another, watering the plants in our little garden. He specially took pride while watering the two Nandyavattai plants, since he had watched them grow from saplings. After he was done, daddy never let the hose stay in the garden in one of the paathis like I had seen in some gardens. He would dutifully roll it up neatly into a smart circle and put it back into the bathroom where it hung from one of the showers. We have often upset dad by not rolling the hosepipe the way he did after we had watered the plants, in his absence.
The Nandhiyavattai flowers bloomed in all their glory every day. However, we barely got to see them when we woke up because daddy would have plucked every single one of them for the perumal pujai (as offering to the God’s). The only time we saw them on the plant was when daddy was travelling or was sick. The neighbours would know just by the mere presence of the flowers on the tree past six in the morning, that daddy was either not in town or unwell. Even when we did finally pick them off the plant to offer it to the God’s we would still not have the patience to pick every single one of them.
I miss you dad. There is some reason or the other in every step I take in life that remind me of you. I hope that there are plenty of nandyavattai plants in full bloom where you are now.