Our customary vegetable vendor pulls up right in front of our house…
My mother, already awaiting him, names out the vegetables and their desired measure to be popped into the basket one after the other…
As Mumma picks up a vegetable, scrutinises it heavily, upbraids the vendor if it is found unhealthy, rotten, undernourished or whatever, proceeds on until her basket brims with shiny, well-shaped, well-grown vegetables,
my frivolous mind wanders over the lush green herbs, corriander and mint, ( and a few more) laid down in neatly tied-up bundles, each costing 5 rupees.
The lustre and density of their leaves gave me a sense of richness and abundance of our natural vegetation and, in my mind, I reiterate the immortal lines by Kavi Sumitranandan Pant-
ओह, समय पर उनमें कितनी फलियाँ फूटी!
कितनी सारी फलियाँ, कितनी प्यारी फलियाँ,-
यह धरती कितना देती है! धरती माता
कितना देती है अपने प्यारे पुत्रों को!
हम जैसा बोयेंगे वैसा ही पायेंगे।
And while I stand there, contemplating that no matter how much we ‘pay’ for these vegetables, it would never be able to equal the love our Mother Earth showers upon us, my mother, done with her successful negotiations with the vendor, hands him the money, takes the change back and concludes-
“Thodi dhaniya aise hi daal do…”
The vendor obliges.
For, why not?!
From one Mother to my mother- Free Love.