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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्

HER GARDEN; MY GARDEN

AUM.
KITCHEN GARDEN:HERS AND MINE
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

The first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama tilled the soil in front of the East room of the White House to make a kitchen garden. I have only furrowed the backyard of my house and sowed some seeds to grow some green vegetables.My wife is a pure vegetarian and she loved to pick her own edible leaves that went straight from the garden to the kitchen and thence into her stomach, not forgetting mine.The organic vegetables did us a lot of good without punching a hole in our pockets.

Did Michelle and Barrack derive joy out of the organic leaves that they harvested from the White House kitchen garden? I am not so sure. As you sow, so must you reap - fine; so far so good.The beaming face and ear to ear grin of Michelle was the conclusive evidence that she enjoyed both sowing and harvesting. Eating, she loved as one can see greenery on her plate at every meal. What about Barrak? He has a reputation of being a loving husband. What Michelle loves, Barrak loves. Take it from me that he loved the sight of more than 740 pounds of vegetables and herbs harvested from the White House kitchen garden. The produce was eaten by one and all who depend on Obama's kitchen for sustenance. A lot of it was given away in charity to the ignored habitats of DC where poorest of the poor live - mostly black men and women. Many TV cameras and news channels whirred and competed for sound bytes to inform the nation and the world of green achievement of the new-look lady in the White House. She is different, she is neither Hillary Clinton nor Laura Bush; she is Michelle Obama. The black couple in the White House have a personality of their own. Back to school days, she recalls that many of her class fellows said "you talk like a white girl"but now in the White House no one can say that"you behave like a white lady". She is what she is. He is what he is.

Back in my backyard in Noida, India I sowed, I reaped and I ate after giving away some of it to neighbours. Some friendly fellows admired my effort and that of my wife and children. The indifferent fellows were critical of my time being wasted and money going down the drain in pursuing fads like kitchen gardening. I was sad to hear all that. I was more sad that the media, neither print nor electronic, gave a damn to what my wife, children and I had done to the barren land and made it all green. Never mind, sid my wife. Life is like that. It is no White House and there is no patch of earth east of the East Room. I consoled myself with the words of Yogeshwar Shri Krishna "do thy duty; reward is not thy concern".In any case I had been rewarded too. The entire family, not forgetting the appreciative and uncharitable neighbours had eaten and digested the organic vegetables of our kitchen garden. Just to let the uninitiated ones know, the organic vegetables and fruits fetch more money in the market compared to those grown in the normal way using night soil as manure and sewage water for irrigation.No wonder, recepient of this kind of contaminated vegetables patronise doctors and hospitals more often than those who depend on organic veggies and fruits. Just too bad, I guess.

What are the White House residents up to now? Well, they are now involving students of junior classes with the green movement. Not only are the young students invited to till, sow, reap and enjoy the product but the bigwigs now play teachers and go to the junior boys and girls in the neglected sections of Washington DC to educate them personally on the advantages of going green. It is having a salutary effect. This scheme may continue for another 365 days and that would see Obamas through the second year in the White House. So far so good.

In Noida, we too have a scheme. Some critics have already shot it down by labelling it as Ämbitious". Never mind, so said my wife who has been sharing the good and the bad of my life for more than four decades. We will plant fruit trees, she said with a triumphant look. I love her. I love her plans. I have this quality in common with the President of the United States of America. So I am sanguine that my fruit trees will grow and bear fruits one fine day. My journalist son and daughter-in-law have promised me a big media gathering in my house's backyard when the first fruit will be plucked amid chanting of Ved mantras.

I look forward to seeing that glorious day when my fruit orchard will shine more than the White House as all fruits will be given away to the hungry and needy souls.So help me God!
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UPVAN, 609, Sector 29,NOIDA-201303, INDIA. Email:
upvanom@yahoo.com