Aparna Eswaran, India

Certain fever nights, high on antibiotics and sleepless, I coax my husband Ananth to tell me his childhood tales, when in reality I just want him to stay awake with me. We have had entirely different memories; He was raised in Idukki in a house that overlooked a river amidst verdant hills and I was brought up in a flat in Trivandrum where windows opened out to the junction travel signal. Needless to say his childhood has more “nostalgic” flavour. But city has its magic! The nights when the roads were awash in yellow light and traffic lights winked wildly were a delight to watch from my room window. This room, which I shared with my grandmother, because of dampness from damaged drainage, had a crack in the wall. And from that crack, from beneath layers of concrete, what I remember as a banyan plant grew forth. On its green heart shaped leaves, I have seen golden cocoons out of which butterflies came out after days of endless waiting. Ananth for all the nature he was born into, has never seen a butterfly being born. Nature to me is this urban miracle, of life born even from dead concrete. Nature to me is also a lack of an excuse to live green. Born to parents who always carried their childhoods among nature even in their lives in cities, my brother and I have waited up in the midnight with our mother to see the nishagandi bulbs she planted bloom into white fragrance; we always had aloe vera plants in the tiny balconies of our flats and in certain reserve pots in our balcony, we have seen pigeon chicks crack open from their eggs, dirty and very ugly.Ananth and I will soon move into a tiny flat in Kochi, to start our journey together, I hope I carry these lessons of urban green in making our home too, even if it means starting with baby steps of a money plant in a wine bottle.

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