A couple of months later, when we moved to Bombay, the plant moved too. It barely survived the hot and thirsty journey, but once in Bombay, it thrived.
Two years after the move, the peepul was on its way to becoming a beautify bonsai. With a gently slanting trunk, and roots growing over a red laterite rock I had picked up in Goa years back, the plant was a treat for the eyes.
A couple of weekends back, I repotted the peepul in a smaller pot. Three days later, the pot was empty – those nasty pigeons had plucked the plant right out of the pot. I ran down, searched all over the grounds, but the plant was nowhere to be found.
For days afterwards, I remained despondent. To me, the plant was my father. Losing it in such a cruel way was like losing my father all over again. It was just not fair. Most people lose a parent once, but I had already lost my father twice – once to dementia, once when his heart stopped pumping. It was not fair that I had to lose him all over again.
Last night, I dreamt of my father taking my two sons swimming. I realised what I always knew- that my father is going to be with us as long as we remember him and love him. He is not in a plant, he is in our memories.
I still mourn the wanton end of what was on its way to becoming a living work of art. I still feel like learning to use an airgun just so I can shoot at the pigeons that infest my home. But I no longer feel as bereft as I did when I first saw the empty pot. Must learn not to get emotionally attached to my plants.
Picture taken when the plant was about a year old.