Of basil, love and life lessons

I used to love sitting in my balcony in the middle of the day, and taking in the heady smell of basil as the wind rustled the leaves of the small potted plant we had bought. I never used the basil in my pasta or pizza; I bought the plant just because I wanted its delicious smell in my home.

The scent and the sight of those brilliant green leaves fluttering in the wind always filled me with a sense of calm. They relaxed me to no end. The perfume brought to me visions of the lovely Italy that I had read about in books and have always wanted to visit. Lost in my dream world, I would forget my troubles, and return back to my routine soon enough, refreshed and focused.

Noticed that I used the past tense?

Thanks to our neglect and laziness, the basil plant dried up. I watched the plant drying up to thin sticks with no life in them, a couple of months ago. I tried to water it back to health, but it was too late. The damage had been done. I wanted to kick myself for letting it die, but I couldn’t do anything about it any more.

I couldn’t give up on the plant, though. I couldn’t bring myself to pull out the dry twigs from the mud, and give the pot to another lush plant. I let the remains stay, and painstakingly continued to water the pot day after day. Something in me told me to continue, and I followed that something’s advice.

Yesterday, I noticed a new plant with just four tiny, pretty green leaves in the basil pot. ‘It might be a weed’, I thought. ‘It could be basil, too’, another thought immediately struck. I rubbed my fingers on one of the leaves and brought them to my nose.

Sure enough, the beautiful scent of the basil that I had so loved assailed me once again. It was a basil plant all right. I felt so rewarded, so grateful, so happy. My sincere regret, my painstaking efforts, my love and care had paid off. Isn’t that the way love always works its miracles in life?

Nature has many lessons to teach us, and it taught me one more with this incident. It renewed my faith in something I have always believed in – that love heals. Even the deepest of wounds. If it is true and deep itself. Love can soften, enliven, with its tender touch. Love can work magic. But do not let your love die away with your neglect, as I did. Not always does it offer you a second chance.

23 thoughts on “Of basil, love and life lessons

  1. That was such a sensitive narrative, TGND. Loved every word and empathised with the summary. Plants have died on me too, but sometimes, like you have discovered, I too have found tender shoots sprouting up. My plants demanded attention and touch and when I would be away, sometimes wilt, but revive when I returned and talked/scolded them for being such babies 🙂 J.C.Bose knew it all those decades ago, didn’t he?


  2. Wow! you sure have a green thumb…in my case, the plants which were thriving under Amma’s care, seem to be protesting my renderings 😦 I dont know why 😦

    Dont laugh but Basil = Tulsi?


    1. @R’s Mom

      Please do not be too harsh on yourself. That happens to the best of us. It has happened to us, too, loads of times. That said, if you are a little sensitive to the way your plants are looking and take care of them in time, I have found that plants can flourish.

      I will not laugh. I had the same doubt some time ago. 🙂 Basil is a plant from the same genre as tulsi. Not exactly tulsi, though. We call it the Italian version of tulsi. 🙂


  3. Was thinking after the first couple of paragraphs – ‘hope she watered it, hope she watered it’. Nature teaches us how to renew and forgives graciously.

    The plant will thank you for using it – it is there to be of service and grows better as you pull the leaves out, constant renewal.

    Pretty cool when stuff like this happens. Renews hope as well!


  4. Beautiful… TGND! I can really really understand that. It happened to my money plant indoors as well. K and I just kept watering it, and also placing dried and wilted leaves of other plants hoping it serves as manure and presto! We saw a sprout. The happiness and renewal of faith is priceless.

    Loved reading this beautiful portrayal of belief and hope 🙂

    Btw, basil is one of my most favourite herbs. LOOOOOOOVE the smell and its ability to make a boring salad yummy! 🙂


  5. That was lovely to read, TGND. Loved your last para. So true.

    And while on plants, my bouganvillea had dried up, and I almost gave up hope. As a last try, I decided to move it into a less sunny balcony to see if it works, and it did! I can see to tiny leaves sprouting:-)


    1. @Smitha

      Thanks, Smitha! 🙂

      True, all plants need are a little bit of sensitivity and care from our end. If we can be quick enough to spot that they need more care or are uncomfortable, I believe we can keep them happily alive. More than happily alive, we can keep them flourishing.


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