Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Nursery called Norling

Some years ago, in the month of July, I went on a
family trip to Bomdila. It's a beautiful place in the
state of Arunachal Pradesh and we were blessed
with ideal weather. Despite the time of the year,
 there was no rain wreaking havoc on narrow
hill roads. Getting away from the heat of the plains
was great. We drove by ponds where water lilies
vied for blooming space. When the ascent started,
wild, pink begonias ran riot spilling over the road
banks. As we went higher, my young sons whooped
in delight as turbulent streams tumbled down the
steep mountainside. The sprays caught the light
and little sunbows danced in front of our eyes.
On the narrow roads, we crossed many vehicles
stuffed to the gills with tourists. Down below, the
roaring ribbon of white water rushed on its end-
less journey.
The mountains, the spectacular mountains evoke
a deep sense of reverence. On the peaks, the
Buddhist prayer flags fluttered gaily.
In July, Bomdila was a floral delight. Most homes
had begonias and fuschias growing in earthen pots,
buckets, oil and food containers. Nasturtiums
spilled out of straight and straggly fences--their
bright orange hues adding a splash of colour to the
roadside. Wild pansies tumbled out of gates and
wire fencing!
Near our hotel I noticed a signboard with Norling 
Nursery written on it and an arrow pointed towards
its direction. The next morning, we made our way
to Norling crossing a less inhabited part of Bomdila.
We also passed a little spring, a common feature of
hilly or mountainous terrain.
Norling was on top of a hill with a magnificent view
of the valley and another range of mountains beyond.
It was like entering a smaller version of Eden where
every imaginable hue burst out of containers. While
the lady showed us around, her husband made two
steaming cups of tea for us. Sitting there, surrounded
by exotic blooms, and the whisper of the wind in our
ears, the glint of the sun in the river below, and again,
the prayer flags in the was beautiful. The
conversation veered towards Tibet, they spoke about
fleeing their homeland and the atrocities inflicted on
their people. Our host even lent us the autobiography
of the Dalai Lama. He said we could leave it with the
receptionist and that he would collect it later. We
thanked our gracious hosts, paid for the plants we'd
selected and left. I've visited several nurseries but
this is one that I shall cherish for a long time.
In the evening, when I mentioned Norling at one of
the shops,the shop-owner asked me when I would
be leaving. When I told her the time, she asked me
to pick up a begonia plant before leaving. The next
morning, I walked down to the market and she
 handed me a lovely plant and absolutely refused to
accept any money!
Before I went to Bomdila, the image in my mind was
of red apples and snow. This was due to two girls from 
my school who'd earlier studied there and had often
mentioned these. But now, apart from the images of 
 red apples and snow, I've added some more endearing
 images of my own.

No comments: