I’ve never been a fan of flowers. I apologize in advance. Well, I am a writer, and I can get quite dreamy when I want to be. Even when I don’t want to be. I conjure up situations, confrontations, scenarios, love stories, even ghost stories; but I’ve never looked at a flower, any flower, concocting a poem of the wild. Not even a story I’m afraid. Given that my first poem was romantic and I’m primarily a romantic writer, writing about nature, mountains and things that could’ve existed, comes quite naturally to me. However, I always surrender my arms when it comes to flowers.
It’s not like I hate flowers, or I find looking at flowers girly. I just never found out what the fuss was all about. Yes, they are beautiful and majestic to behold. Might even be one of the greatest creations of mother nature. But a piece of fiction, a tale of mystery, a poem of lost love? Not quite so.
One flower though has been vying for my attention since I was eight years old. Living in the mountains, you come across all kinds of flowers and trees and shrubs. But the Cosmos has always intrigued me. Not because I was fascinated by them or wanted to pluck them and deliver them to a beloved. I was fascinated not in a way you might think.
Trotting along the railway track and the stony paths leading up to my school from my home I always came up on hordes and hordes of Cosmos. Just like the vast cosmos of the universe, they seemed to have made their home everywhere in the small hilly town I lived in. At every step I saw them in all their simplicity and not majesty, staring up innocently at the people who went by them.
The Cosmos come in many colors, most prominent being red, blue and purple. The purple one seems to be a mixture of the blue one and a phantom pink. Most common is the dark blue. You can find it almost anywhere. If you ask me I particularly liked the red one, not because it was beautiful but because red is my favorite color.
The only thing that my curious brain couldn’t make out the sense out of was how could these flowers reach anywhere and everywhere I went. Whenever I went to a new place in the city, I would find the cosmos in a desolate corner or growing out of the walls of an old building. Honestly, it sometimes made me quite irritated. A child that I was I thought they were following me desperate for attention; vying for a look from me. I tried my best to avoid them, but they always found a way to catch my eye; a way to talk to me in their strange language.
Mountains have always rung my metaphoric bell when it comes to the love of nature. It might have something to do with the small but proud home we have in the middle of a valley between two huge mountains. But I have a strange feeling it’s much more than that. Every time I see a huge mountain I look up to its summit. When I look down, I realize how puny us humans are. These huge blocks of lifeless rock have been saving us from various natural tragedies, and some human ones too.
In 329 BC, when Alexander the Great’s forces crossed the straits of Babylon and stood in front of the vast expanse of snow capped mountains called as the Hindu Kush, he must’ve felt humbled. The king of the world and all his mighty army which had decimated enemy forces all around Europe and Eastern Asia had found their match in the form of resolute and unflinching mountains that could put even some gods to shame.
In India, mountains have never been a subject of worship, inspite of the fact that having around 330 million god and goddesses we worship practically everything from a small shrub like Tulsi to lingas formed out of pure ice. Mount Kailasha, the abode of the Hindu god Shiva, is perhaps the most famous mountain for three South-Asian religions. Still, it’s not worshiped, not in the ways I would like.
Perhaps if some poet like William Wordsworth had written a poem titled ‘A Mountain less Climbed’ instead of ‘The Road less traveled,’ we would have ourselves atleast some writers and poets and dreamers talking about the vast and colossal mountains spread across the world. Everyone would then hear the famous Song of the mountain, although through the words of some love struck author, strumming some chords on his quill.
Like the Cosmos flower, then, the mountains which are omnipresent but not cared for by their accidental beholders, would certainly gain some attention. Although I can’t promise that I would start liking flowers even then. Yes, every now and then when I find the time to walk under the shade of a big mountain playing hide and seek with the sun, I would find some Cosmos growing alongside the stony-path leading up to my remote destination. I would silently acknowledge them with a bow. Maybe then they would feel complete and stop showing up everywhere I go.