Rooted Lives

by Ambareesh Sr Ja



Mamma kept insisting that plants had feelings.

Despite holding a doctorate to her credit, she held a few staunch beliefs that could barely be termed scientific. Being the prime fighter for rationality and logic in my small household, defeating her in pseudo-intellectual debates had become my life’s mission. Women, in addition to their superior peripheral vision, are gifted with an amazing repertoire of ways to win arguments. Dealing a royal flush is easy as opposed to proving your point.

So I ask- if that’s so, “You, being a vegetarian, are equally guilty of being cruel, right?” She rolls her eyes, withdraws and murmurs something about ‘always thinking  of food’, leaving me unsatisfied. While I’m thinking of something imaginative, yet immune to such theatrics, she proceeds to narrate incidences which prove her point.

Exhibit A: The mango tree in our front yard. Apparently ‘she’ (don’t even ask!) gave us a precious bunch of mangoes three summers ago. Granny, acting purely out of kindness, donated a couple to our mango-less neighbors. That the tree has stubbornly refused to bless us with mangoes ever since, is a fact. According to my mother however, ‘she’ is pissed, and might favor us when ‘she’ grows older and, hence obviously, wiser.

Exhibit B: The hibiscus plant which flowers when I get home. Though I argued that flowers are seasonal and  my visits were too, it once bore a healthy blood-red beauty when I visited home in the middle of a semester- uncanny. The long commute between Goa and my hometown is a dampener to my intentions of proving that, this particular piece of flora has no surreal awareness about my travel plans.

I have heard about plants having heartbeats or a pulse or another equivalent, I’m a bit hazy on the details. It does seem plausible, but…

To be pinned to a spot all your life. To serve everyone in all ways possible. To die with no qualms and still be a boon to the living. Altruism cannot be better portrayed.

I had often wondered why mothers should love their children. Could it be that they are afraid of societal wrath if they do not? Most of us as children were, and some of us still are and will be, selfish bastards. Hence the oft quoted – “…with a _____, only a mother can love”. Seems such a raw deal. Maybe love means a lot more than those four letters could ever represent.

Indian women across the centuries have been the trusted trees who nurtured our culture and nudged it forward quietly.

Not that they are weak or need any protection.

But we all have stood under one’s shade or planted another.

Let us take a step back, and open our eyes, to mend our ways.


Stop pinching their leaves, peeling their barks.


Be a real husband, father, brother, son.


Be a real man.


 Inspired by :

 Disturbed by :