Visiting Delhi, and more particularly my ancestral home, Charlie finds a new love for the Chrysanthemum flowers he finds in my mothers garden, and also around some other homes, and gardens we visit or drive or walk by. This saddens him, for he is one who is not moved by mums back home in the US, and her, he can now like me wax poetic about their beauty.
Since a young age, a very young age in fact, I grew up loving the Chrysanthemum flower, and valued it for its varied brilliance and beauty. I understood it to be a flower of great presence in the magnificently rich world of beyond beautiful flowers. I knew it was prized. And I knew it was beyond special. And that much care was taken to perpetuate it and to brings its beauty to flower.
When I was a young toddler and till the end of my teens, it was my Dadi (paternal grandmother) who was the nurturer of these inspiring flowers. It was she that worked with the gardener (at least she paid him to go buy saplings, and to nourish them to fault nut never too meagerly) and in end lined up our drive way and wherever pots could fit, with an array of different mums, each transporting the beholder to colorful words that made you escape Delhi, and go into gossamer moments of kaleidoscopic brilliance.
A native of Asia and Northern Europe, the Chrysanthemum flower is handsome beyond description, and handsome for what it does to those that behold its beauty. It is beautiful for the many shapes, colors and forms it takes, and all so elegantly. And it is brilliant, because it is handsome and beautiful so effortlessly and so carelessly and yet comes out looking like even in mad forms, as above, in the "spider" variety, it seems as if someone had planned each petal.
After Dadi passed, my parents continued to live in her home, the home where I was brought after birth at the Holy Family Hospital in Delhi. This home, which always reminds me of amazing Chrysanthemums and Dahlias and of some of the best foods I have ever eaten, anywhere. In this home, I have seen some amazingly special moments. And so, I wondered somewhere deep in my conscience about what might happen to the flowers. Would they remain as glorious? Would they be forgotten and some other flowers replace them? Would the garden be neglected? I knew the answer... and I knew well what would happen, but what was I to think - since nothing is real, proven, until one has seen it for sure.
Seeing the purity and the hues of yellow in the white irregularly incurving chrysanthemum, I was reminded of the innocent and yet surely designed by choice generous personality of my mother. She had allowed all to think my grandmother alone kept the home and garden alive. When in reality, she was orchestrating everything, even if by not doing visibly much. I know for sure, the plants were touched by her then, as they are now. She has never been one to make noise. She delivers, with great style and humility - and never for personal gain. It is as if she too is like the flower - giving much joy, and not taking much.
Looking at the colors and the details of these grand flowers, I was able to understand why the Japanese Emperors throne is named after this flower, and why the Chinese consider it so important and why the Indians have chosen it as an important player in the life of a garden. Of course the Chrysanthemum is the flower of Chicago. It is the flower of November, the month of my birth. And some also believe that indoor environs that grace a chrysanthemum flower within their walls, could be safer for it, and purer in their air quality.
The two different yellow spidery chrysanthemums made me realize the difference in colors, even in nature. The flowers take on such amazing colors and shapes and forms, that one can easily call it one of the most elegant flowers. It has a very chic aura about it. In Japan, they consider it a sign of homosexuality. Makes sense does it not? Well, my mother was able to show to me how hobbies such as gardening can give much joy and relaxation. In between taking great care of my ailing father and 92 year old grandfather (maternal), she finds the time to garden, and work with the gardener to enusre nothing goes out of the way. It is my hope that if you like Charlie, think of mums as those tiny creatures placed around a drive way or an entrance, you should think again. This is an elegant flower that is poetic at worst, and magnanimous as well. Below I have pasted some photographs of other flowers from their garden.
What is so special about a mother or a chrysanthemum? I wish i could convey appropriately through my words the special place that each of these hold in this world. What I can say is that the world would be so much better, if more men could be like women. I also wish that women would remind men that they ought not to control their lives, till a man is able to deliver a child, and go through nine months of pregnancy. A woman has so many virtues that are hard for me to fathom a man having, and so, since a young age, I have understood that a man cannot equal a woman. Men do not come even close enough. Similarly, the chrysanthemum has a place quite certainly its own in this world, with few flowers if any coming close. Now how I wish more of my gender, could take on some of the traits, the inspiring beauty, the calming manner, and the sophistry and juggling that it takes to be a woman, and apply it to their own lives, and thereby, create a world that is blessed by that change in energy. This is my way of recognizing my own mothers certainly human existence, but heroic life that has proven its mettle through selfless deeds.