“It’s funny how life turns out” goes a Josh Joplin song, so very true. It is as though all of us are waiting curiously to check out what is in store for us. When life pans out, it is fun to look back and see what became of it.
Growing up, in school, I was a nerdy nerd. I was always focussed upon scoring well. As I was trying my level best to make a future for my life, there were few things my mind had worked out. One of them was, “it is a waste of time to read for pleasure”. It sounds very idiotic, doesn’t it, but pressure of modern competition can do that for you. I thought, why waste time reading something which will not help me in scoring well. What it clearly meant was I had no idea about what entertainment was, and how much it is required for a healthy mind. The idea of “books” being the best wholesome entertainment one can get was far from me. When I was in my early 20s, my life changed completely, I was now a working professional, with much lesser “scoring” pressure, I had some free time which I could use to do things which were “fun”. I was looking for ways to entertain myself, something beyond television and movies. I was not an outdoor person ever in my life. I chanced upon, what you may call a crossover book. A cheesy romantic comedy which was later made into a movie, and not a book I am proud of to have begun with, but “five point someone” was my first read. I actually liked it at that time, something which was very similar to many movies which were popular. At the end of reading this one, there are a few things which I realized. I could now actually read an entire book without having to worry about comprehending it, I could now spend time doing something imaginative. After reading children classics during my summer holidays during my schooling, I had not really thought of reading as a hobby at any time, however my success with this one book made me want to read more. I am a man with a lot of prejudice. I am not proud of it, but I am what I am. So when I started reading, my immediate judgment was, I should read non fiction. Fiction is for people who are not so serious in life. It was “time” in my life where I should do some serious study. I stuck to my non fiction books, it started with self help, I read a lot of books which were bordering on self help, books which have a lot of thinking to do, I slowly moved on to travelogues and then memoirs. Still sticking to my non fiction clause. I dont realize when the “border” melted away and I was not fully into books of all kinds. I was enjoying all kinds of books now, infact I was trying out new genres, new languages each time. I had now started reading books in my native language “kannada”, I was reading translated books, even topics and subjects which were alien to me like “science fiction”, “horror”, borderline “erotica”. You name it, I was willing to try it.From a person who considered reading a waste of time, to a person who is totally invested in finishing the project “Around the world in 80 books”. I have come a long way. This is one hobby I am happy to have picked up in my 20s. One thing, which I will probably take to my grave.
There are people who love nature. There are people who don’t care about nature. I was one of those who are indifferent towards it. I am no big animal lover, pets were a big no no. They still are. When I was in my early 30s, many things were different. I was now a married man, with a lot of responsibilities at work, and some at home. I had my reading, I had my travel, I had a married life, I had too many things happening to think of adding anything new to my life. Well life does not really shape things at our will. Let me tell you growing up, we had a very small house, with hardly any space for us people let alone any plants. We had no soil anywhere around us, and I had no inclination towards plants whatsoever. When we reconstructed our house in my early 20s, I was still trying to get a decent place for us to live, and with accommodation just enough to fit in things which I had missed all my life, like a bigger kitchen, decent living space, a place to eat, a bathroom of my own. I did not think of creating some space for a garden.When a tenant vacated a floor above us, they left their pots on our terrace. I tried calling them multiple times for them to pick it up. After waiting for months, I gave up on them picking up. I always felt these pots were a nuisance on the roof, as it spoiled the water proofing. Now left with a choice to give/throw them away, I chanced upon an idea of trying to grow something. I started with two simple plants. Tomato and Chilli. The whole process of planting the seeds, tending to them, the joy of sight of the first green shoots, to the flowering, to the time when you see the first little green veggies in them. I was just in awe of this nature. I did not know how much I loved this creation process. Within weeks I was hooked on it. I had repotted all the remaining 4 pots with good soil, and I was planning to start a garden of my own. It really helped that my wife was super supportive of my developing hobby. Starting with a few pots, to my full fledged terrace garden, my new hobby has come a long way in my 30s. I have grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and even root veggies in pots. Watering my garden every day, and tending to it on the weekends has become a routine in my life. Potting new plants, and seeing them grow is the most satisfying feeling that I have known in recent times. It is almost like becoming a father over and over again. How protective we become, how parental we become with them has been surprising. The pleasant effect of the greenery on our eyes, and the proud feeling we get when my wife and I get to walk on our terrace is something which is beyond my ability to describe.
Curious to see what my 40s has in store for me.