Nature comes marching in with the Monsoons in Goa

Nature comes marching in with the Monsoons in Goa
Sitting out on my favourite bench in the tiny portico of the ancestral house, I watch as nature thumbs its mocking green tendrils at us, supposed dominant humans. Fallen down houses have been taken over by trees and are being smothered by all types of vines, snaking across crumbling walls and tiles. We spend the better part of our one week 'holiday' sweeping away millipedes marching across the kitchen floor or the tiny green frogs who love the swimming pool ambience of the toilet bowl, or the king sized earthworms that wriggle out angrily, as I dig a hole to bury prawn peels and chicken skin to help the garden grow.

It's natures turn to take over the village with the help of the monsoons and it's funny, but man has to fight back for survival. In the front of our house the drive is a choking mass of weeds, all nearly 5 feet tall and we cannot bring the car in to park. Labour is summoned to clean the drive- way, not only of the weeds, but the creepy crawlies that might be living in the undergrowth. The man takes the whole day cursing and swearing and taking off huge piles of weeds to throw in the jungle opposite the house. I have never cleaned such terrible weeds he grumbles, as if our weeds are stronger and bigger than anyone else's in the village.

I ply him with hot tea and a bun at 11 o'clock and he visibly perks up. Food is the great leveler and the swipe of his machete grows visibly stronger! In the UK I gave the gardener a can of coke while he strymmed my sons unkempt lawn and how different was that from India? We are all human after all! The only difference is the man in London called me Marianne, walked up to the kitchen and asked for a coke and drove to work in a car. In Goa he calls me Patrone in deference to my so called status and money power and only asks for refills of drinking water. It is my largesse that throws in the tea and pao.

As I type this, the tiny star shaped white flowers of the teak fly down and settle on the pathway into the house. The scarlet hibiscus that has bloomed on Dads plant that he had carried decades ago from Bangalore, is blooming its welcome. I think of Dad and the number of plants he would faithfully bring from Bangalore every year and of which just a handful survive, as he could not afford a care-taker bringing up a family of five kids. This time I have bought two Oleanders to plant in the drive which we have gated in. Oleanders are not cow friendly and we hope to see flowers the next time we come.

Large clumps of different Caladiums grow in the wild around the house. The previous year I have brought a few into the house and they are thriving in the garden, their heart shaped leaves dancing in the breeze and the continuous rain. One is a brilliant red and was a wonderful perk- me- up, as we landed tired, from our drive from Bangalore. In scientific parlance a plant that is found growing in the wild which originated in the garden, is called an escapee. What does one call plants brought in the reverse way?!

Bring home the fat earth worms says Steven our son, crackling down the phone from Bangalore, when I tell him about their gigantic size. We need bull workers in our compost pit here! Why not ? I think, and plan to dig a few out, to take with me in a box to Bangalore, while the neighbour's dog patrols the walls of his house, looking in disdain at these odd humans, who are making such a fuss about what is natural.

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