Romancing the Greens in the Concrete Jungle

Garden at Home

In Delhi more and more of us are living in multistoried apartments, with barely a balcony or a veranda, as our window to the clear blue sky. That too often gets enclosed in glass to expand the living spaces. Every inch of space is so darn expensive. We too, when we moved from Madras to Bombay to Delhi, moved from a bungalow to semi detached to an apartment complex. With each move we had lesser and lesser open sky, as the move was from a lawn to a balcony to a semi covered veranda. With each move we had to let go of our green friends. But asserting our ethnic origins is a Kadhi Patta plant in a pot that we committed to carrying with us where ever we went.

Over the seasons it learnt to deal with the extreme cold of Delhi and our keeping it in the sliding glass window enclosed veranda worked. It sprouted leaves, shot up and grew into healthy thing and now flowers and fruits for what ever it is worth and has grown a full fifteen feet tall. It sprouts new shoots every monsoon and some of our neighbours have made their own pots from them. We have given it more space by transplanting it into a bigger cement pot with a two feet diameter.

I love my Kadhi Patta. During my annual visits to Dilli Haat I buy the vermi-compost manure they sell outside it and feed it to the plant. Though just one pot and a plant it is amazing to note the ecosystem that has developed around it. During monsoons I have seen tiny wriggly earth-worms peering out of the surface, once I saw a snail climbing up during rains. When we leave our window open we have feathered visitors. House sparrows, Mainas, Doves and even parrots flit, twit, and dart in and out of the plant. Lemon, white, orange, red, and blue, butterflies and bees visit the flowers. This spring last week an amazing thing happened, a Bee eater with it curved beak and lovely green colour visited it…

So you don’t need space, you don’t need trees, you don’t need land all you need is to ‘Be Green’ and nature will happen to you.

Image by vm2827 courtesy Flickr


Environmental anthropologist by training, been in the field for over 20 years, Gialome (pseudonym) is mainly concerned with the impacts of infrastructure and technology projects on local communities.

One thought on “Romancing the Greens in the Concrete Jungle

  1. I agree with you. It is true we all want open spaces single story houses with big balconies and terraces, but can’t afford.

    The reality is that today if we want to enjoy open spaces and have green lungs for our cities we need to go vertical. Building vertical is the only answer to having open green spaces in the city, which unfortunately some ‘enlightened’ people do not want.
    I know they would say water and electricity are a problem, I agree, but then what is the alternative? Why can’t the offices and the government employees at least go vertical?

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