Gandhi Quiz


Roses And Cacti

Granny's garden was in full bloom. The golden yellow marigolds, the colourful hibiscus and the shy jasmine creeper in a fragrant bloom, all seemed to beg Maya to look at them!
But Maya's favourite was the rose corner. Every morning she ran into the garden to watch a bud blossoming into a pretty flower. She kept gazing at the beautiful colours and the soft petals as she inhaled the scented breeze to fill her lungs.
She wished she had a garden at her home too. But all they could keep in their tiny balcony on their fifth floor apartment in the city were two potted palm trees. Last year she had taken two rose plants (one with bright red flowers and other yellow) from Granny. Mummy had helped her plant them in earthen pots. She diligently watered them, kept the pots in sunlight as Granny advised and patiently waited for them to flower. Every morning she would rush to the balcony in the hope that she would see a rose bud. She dreamt of gifting a beautiful red rose to Rekha Miss, her loving teacher at school on teacher's day. Teacher's day came and went by, but the rose plants refused to bud. Maya never realized when she stopped her daily morning ritual of peeking at the rose plants.
"Maya did you see this Cactus leaf?" Granny called out from the other end of the garden. Maya hated the Cactus plants. She wondered why Granny loved them so much. Those fat leaves with the big thorns and no flowers did not deserve a place in this beautiful garden. "No, Grandma, I prefer to be with my roses" Maya replied as she chased a beautiful yellow butterfly.
"Eeeeeks!" Maya shrieked from a bush. "What happened?" Granny rushed to her. "Granma, look at this creepy creature here" Maya pointed her finger to a long crawling insect with several tiny legs! "Oh, that is a caterpillar! It is a harmless thing" "Shall we throw him out? He spoils your beautiful garden" Maya said screwing up her nose.
Granny laughed as she patted back Maya's tussled hair. "Maya, every little living being deserves to be in this garden. Accept them the way nature made them. Do you know this same caterpillar will grow into a beautiful butterfly?" "Oh, is it so?" Maya wondered.
The next morning as Maya rushed into the garden she could see a blue flower in a corner. She rubbed her eyes as she went closer to have a look at it. It was a beautiful flower, peeking out of a Cactus plant! She couldn't believe her eyes. Granny smiled at her as she sensed what was going on in Maya's mind. "Granny, isn't it a pretty flower? I cannot believe such a thorny plant can sprout such a lovely flower!" Maya confided. "Maya, a Cactus is a plant that is found in deserts. Spells of rain are scarce in a desert. That is why the plant has thick, fleshy leaves so that it can store water for long periods. The thorns on it prevent water evaporation so that it does not wither away and also protect it from rodents which might come to eat the leaves. It may not look beautiful to you, but this sturdy plant can survive the harsh climate of the desert all alone!" Granny explained as Maya listened spellbound.
"Oh, there is your favourite red rose blooming too! You can pluck one if you want" Granny said as she pointed towards the rose corner. Maya ran to the rose plant. "Ouch!" she cried! As she plucked the lovely rose, a hidden thorn pierced her finger! "Granny, now I know what you meant. All things that look beautiful are not always so. Even a rose has a hidden thorn. A harsh looking cactus bears a lovely flower too." Maya said. "Maybe nature put those thorns under the rose to protect it from girls like me who keep plucking them!" she laughed.
"What a wise girl, my little darling is!" Granny said. "Do you want to take a red rose plant home, this time too?" she asked. "No, Grandma, I am going to take home a Cactus plant this time" Maya chuckled as Granny looked at her dumbstruck!

Dr. Reeta Mani

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