Friday, November 17, 2023

The 'Karela' Tales


'Karela' is the Hindi name for the bitter gourd.


In the summer of 2016, I think my mother planted a few karela seeds as her friend encouraged her to try growing these at home. Or maybe because as she always threw the vegetable peels into her pots to make manure, a few seeds invariably made their way into the mix, sprouting with the rains. Anyhow, a couple of karelas came but were quickly infested. Mom was disappointed with her maiden attempt at veggie growing and threw away the spoilt produce. But the vine remained...

Then in autumn she suddenly went away. In my grief, I preserved a leaf from the karela vine planted by her. It was one of my ways of paying tribute to her green fingers while creating a tangible memory for posterity.

Karela Leaf - 2016


On a whim, I planted some karela seeds in summer and numerous vines came up. Only this time, though the initial produce was not very encouraging, I persisted. Once the rains subsided, the plants picked up and gave us continuous produce right through autumn. Incidentally, the karela vine has very pretty shaped leaves. So I decided to incorporate some into my artwork this year too.

Karela leaf prints - 2023

Managing to grow the karela successfully was a strangely inexplicable experience, as if I was completing a task left halfway by my mother. Seven years later, life had finally come full circle! Now when I place the two pieces of art together, it gives me a sense of continuity.

From one generation to another, life flows on...

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