personal development Reflections

Bloom Where You Are Planted

bloom where you are planted vidya sury

Last week, while returning from my visit to the doctor, I saw a young chap by the roadside selling lotus flowers. The sight of this beautiful flower made me think of the phrase “bloom where you are planted” and brought back some childhood memories.

Years ago, in our native place in South India, when we visited my aunt (Mom’s sister) one of the most exciting and novel things during our stay would be bathing at the lake attached to the temple near our house. Yes, each morning, we’d set out as a group, with a set of clothes, soap and a bag of washing to the lake.

There, after placing our stuff on a rock, we’d wrap ourselves in a huge towel, which was really a cloth cut to twice the size of a towel and get into the water. Of course, some of us would cringe at how cold it was, but once you get your feet wet and see the others enjoying themselves, you’re in before you know it. It used to be such fun to splash around in the water, with the warm sunshine drying us quickly each time we emerged.

My cousins would swim out to bring back lotus flowers, much to our delight. They are not easy to just pluck, you know? The stalk is very strong.

Bloom where you are planted vidya sury

Once we got home, freshly bathed and hungry, my aunt’s mother-in-law, quite possibly the second most generous woman in the world (next to my Mom), would have huge “tumblers” of coffee ready. Much laughter and banter would follow. Around 10.30 am, we would have lunch. Okay, call it brunch. Then, after clearing up in the kitchen – everyone would pitch in to help – we would all settle down in our favorite places in the house. It was a charming house with tiled roofs and a courtyard in the center and pillars all around where we marked our spots. At the back was a cowshed where our cow, my aunt’s pet Lakshmi was tethered.

So as the children lazed around and amused themselves, the elders would settle down to their siesta. Some would catch up on their reading. Around 2 pm, the house would be abuzz again with the afternoon coffee and snacks. My aunt’s MIL was an amazing cook and believed in feeding everyone constantly. Then she would systematically massage everyone’s hair with oil, comb it for them and plait it. In the meantime, a couple of the ladies would have made flower garlands that were woven into the girls’ hair.

Bloom where you are planted vidya sury

In the evening we would go out, usually to the market or to a movie and return home to dinner. After dinner, and before bed time, it would be story-time – legends, myths, family stories and more. My Grandma would have spiritually uplifting anecdotes to tell us – what we call personal development stories today! And I’ll never forget those stories she tied up with what we saw around us.

One such story is about the lotus, a wonderful example of how ideal conditions are not mandatory to success. In spite of the way it is born in murky waters, the lotus rises through all the obstacles in the water, emerges out and opens its petals, pure and perfect, and blossoms, encouraged by the sun. There’s a beautiful life lesson there. Why wallow in the murky waters of uncertainty and fear, when we can rise to the surface, emerge, bloom and realize our potential?

Bloom where you are planted vidya sury

My Grandmother would advise us to always remember the lotus when we set out to achieve a goal and life’s conditions are less than ideal, pointing out that the lotus bud is a symbol of potential. It embodies awakening, spiritual growth and enlightenment. It shows determination. Even as it stays strongly anchored under the water, it grows in response to love and compassion. It looks delicate, but it is quite sturdy. It is flexible. It doesn’t let the water affect it. It floats on the water, serene.

What wonderful memories!

Besides being the national flower of India, the lotus represents beauty and non-attachment. The lotus also has great significance in mythology.  It is edible and used in medicine, to detox and cool the body and treat various ailments.

Solid combination of beauty and brains eh?

Bloom where you are planted vidya sury

Here’s a lovely quote from one of my all-time favorite actors, Goldie Hawn:

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ”

“Bloom where you are planted”

Bloom where you are planted vidya sury

Feeling Love and Gratitude

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling the love of my fellow-bloggers via blogging awards. I must confess right out that I simply cannot bring myself to choose and nominate a few out of the wonderful bloggers I know. So here I am, gratefully acknowledging these awards.

Liebster Award

Thank you, Birgit and Vishal

I connected with Birgit during the A to Z Challenge and she had a fabulous theme featuring a film star every day. She loves her job as a credit counselor and posts great comments here.

Vishal is someone I connected with on Facebook. He’s a journalist. And a supportive and a prolific blogger

liebster vishal

Quintet of Radiance Award

Thank you Ananya and Marie Abanga

Ananya is an active blogger and was one of the contestants for the Mrs. India Washington pageant held recently.

Marie Abanga is a regular here. She’s a published author and a very positive person!

quintet of radiance award

I nominate each one of you reading this post for these awards – please feel free to accept them and show them off on your own blog.  And do make your own rules!

Remember the Win’14 awards earlier this year? BlogAdda sent me the badge for featuring among the top 5 personal blogs in India.

Top five blogger vidya sury

And so, that’s it for today.

Do you have a specific childhood memory you are fond of?

What do you think of the phrase “bloom where you are planted“?

Linking up with the lovely Unknown Mami for Sundays in my City, a weekly meme where we travel the world through a blog hop.

Have a wonderful week!

bloom where you are planted vidya sury

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Sreeja Praveen
    May 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Oh, the lotus is in news for all good reasons now, Vidya 😉
    Isn’t she the most beautiful flower ? She grows up in the marshy, gooey mess of a soil, and yet exudes the best , soothing fragrance. She blooms where she’s planted, converting the disadvantage of the soil to her advantage 🙂 And she gives us yummy stems to eat 😀 😀
    Such beautiful memories, Vidya 🙂 I was transported to my childhood, I could hear me yelling, ” paattiyaathukku porom..” 🙂
    Sreeja Praveen recently posted…The Realization……My Profile

  • Reply
    Shailaja V
    May 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Oh, so much to comment on 🙂 I have missed you these last two weeks, Vidya, although I have thoroughly enjoyed the break from blogging!
    I love the pictures of the lotus flowers in bloom. They speak volumes about the potential that lies deep within each of us.
    Congratulations on the many, many awards. You know you deserve them all, don’t you?
    The image of your grandmother telling stories is such a peaceful, beautiful one 🙂
    Shailaja V recently posted…The way to goMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beloo Mehra
    May 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Vidya, your post took me to my R K Narayan reading days…that lovely idyllic childhood in southern India :)Aah…how I loved reading those descriptions! And then you bring in one of my favourite flowers too 🙂 What can be better. Lotus is rightly the national flower of India – the symbol of spiritual consciousness, the symbol of an upward aspiration toward the Sun, toward the heights of glory even while being surrounded by all the mud of the world and life around us. Love the flower, love its symbolism, and loved reading your post. Thank you 🙂
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…His Excellency, Stop – No Eating Here!My Profile

  • Reply
    Proactive Indian
    May 19, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    One must make the best of what one has.
    Whether or not we agree with their politics and policies, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi, each in his own way, are both ideal examples of “Bloom where you are planted!”

    Is it a coincidence or an ‘intended coincidence’ that you have highlighted the lotus today?
    Proactive Indian recently posted…Mere paas maa hai!My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 19, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Pro, this post is about the sight of lotus flowers that triggered a happy childhood memory and a lesson learned. That. Is. All. There’s no place for “coincidences” of the sort you refer to on this blog. To me, the lotus is a lovely fragrant flower that reminds me of my Grandmother and the delicious dishes she made with it.

      🙂 Thank you for your presence here today.
      Vidya Sury recently posted…The Best Job in the WorldMy Profile

  • Reply
    Susan Scott
    May 19, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Just beautiful Vidya thank you! A reminder of the mud that is needed for the lotus of a 1000 petals to bloom …
    Susan Scott recently posted…Reflections PostMy Profile

  • Reply
    Corinne Rodrigues
    May 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I could see it all in technicolor, Vidya! Thank you for sharing.
    Yes, the lotus is such a powerful symbol of flourishing in ‘bad’ conditions! I love how some of the earlier comments think your post has a political undertone, when it’s business as usual for you – capturing beauty and sharing it with us. ♥
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Stay CreativeMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    May 19, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Bloom, where you are planted… such profound and a thought provoking words. I really loved it. It truly tells us to make the best use of the given circumstances and give our best! Enjoyed reading your lovely childhood memories and the amazing clicks. And wow… congratulations for so many awards and recognition! Cheers 🙂 ♥
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Choice, Chance, ChangeMy Profile

  • Reply
    KP
    May 19, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    The bee comes from afar to the lotus to drink the honey while the frog in the same pond ignores it.Manthara,the hunchback in Ramayana though living in close proximity to Sri Rama never appreciated his virtue while the boatman Guhan in the far away Ganges knew his greatness. Learned or virtuous people can spot greatness or learning in persons irrespective of the humble circumstances in which they live much like the majestic rose in muddied pond.
    Little wonder, Vidya, you were fascinated by the lotus!!
    KP recently posted…The kind heartMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kathy
    May 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Congratulations on your many well deserved awards!! I loved reading about the lotus. It is gorgeous!! ♥
    Kathy recently posted…The Road to AdventureMy Profile

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    May 20, 2014 at 2:50 am

    The Lotus Flower! How delectable & lush.
    Stunning dressed in Hot Pink.
    Love you more than the Lotus Flower. xxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted…What You Remember Saves youMy Profile

  • Reply
    Stephanie Faris
    May 20, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Such a beautiful flower–and what great memories. It’s funny how something like that can really grow to mean something much more.
    Stephanie Faris recently posted…My Mini Book TourMy Profile

  • Reply
    Carol Graham
    May 20, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Why wallow in the murky waters of uncertainty and fear, when we can rise to the surface, emerge, bloom and realize our potential? That was my favorite line from your post. Maybe the answer to that question is that negativity seems ‘easier’ but it really isn’t Thank you for a great post and your links to give awards.
    Carol Graham recently posted…How Do You Ask Your Fiance if He was Unfaithful the Night Before the Wedding?My Profile

  • Reply
    Victor
    May 20, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Congratulations on your most recent recognition for your awesome blogging Vidya! Well deserved for sure. The story you shared about getting together and hanging out with the other families sounds so fun and delightful. I can just feel the energy that must have been passing through the home during those wonderful times. Such fun! The story of the lotus (which I didn’t know) — how it grows in the muck — is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing everything today. I loved it all!

  • Reply
    simple girl
    May 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

    You just show me how I cannot crib at everything and learn to put things aside and make the best of the situation. A very profound post .. 🙂
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  • Reply
    Camilla Kyndesen
    May 20, 2014 at 10:42 am

    What wonderful childhood memories. Your story made me smile, and I’ll try to remember the lotus blossom the next time I need a bit of inspiration 🙂
    Camilla Kyndesen recently posted…How to write every day: a website recommendationMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kalpana Solsi
    May 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    The lotus is our national flower and the lotus is also the symbol for the saffron brigade party.
    Detachment and serene are the qualities attached to this flower. Loved the description of your aunt’s house.
    Kalpana Solsi recently posted…fly: haiku.My Profile

  • Reply
    Pheno Menon
    May 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Blooms… always my attraction and Meena’s nightmare especially if I have my SLR with me 🙂

    PhenoMenon
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  • Reply
    Monica Deshpande
    May 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I’ve taken a long break from blogging since the A-Z. Catching up on your blog makes me glad to be back. So many aspects to comment on, I love the quote and your description of your childhood holiday. It reminds me of the happy times I spent at my Aji’s house. Thanks for bringing back those memories, Vidya. You have a real gift for it. 🙂
    Monica Deshpande recently posted…Crusty loafMy Profile

  • Reply
    richmiraclefiles
    May 20, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Vidya,
    That’s a truly motivating post,especially with those almost fluorescent lotus flowers blooming out of your blog page.And i liked that mention of Laxmi the cow;something very typical of the Indian setting.
    But yes coming to your main subject;the lotus essentially represents detachment and duty at the same time.Its no wonder that the Indian scriptures refer to the Lotus flowers again and again.
    I’m sure we know that the lotus and it’s petals find mention in the chakras in our ethereal bodies also.Each chakra typically associates with a specific number of lotus petals.And the crown chakra ,at the top of our head is symbolised with a lotus of thousand petals.
    The lotus truly blooms every where and Vidya’s right.We need to emulate this great flower,and bloom every where we are.
    Thanks
    Mona
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  • Reply
    Jayanta Tewari
    May 21, 2014 at 12:26 am

    First of all, Congratulations for the awards.. You deserve them all. Secondly, a very touching post with childhood memories…I do remember my visits to my village during the holidays and the pond nearby had lotus of different colors, pink, blue – locally called “shaluk”. On a lighter note, hope you were not seeing lotus everywhere with NaMo NaMo chanting all around :-).
    Jayanta Tewari recently posted…Rohit and VijayMy Profile

  • Reply
    Birgit
    May 21, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I love that flower and how true that it is grounded in murky depths but shines so beautiful in the sun. We can learn from that for sure. Thank you for talking about me on your blog-very sweet. I wish you a beautiful day and week:)
    Birgit recently posted…Happy Birthday to niece #1My Profile

  • Reply
    dreamzandclouds
    May 21, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I had similar memories of my visits to my dad’s hometown – going to the river for a bath (with a set of clothes and a piece of soap which is then kept on a rock by the bank) with my cousins, coming back to gorge on tasty food – ripe mangoes in the mango season – your post brought back some old memories 🙂
    dreamzandclouds recently posted…Shattered!My Profile

  • Reply
    Obsessivemom
    May 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I enjoy reading about your life Vidya. There’s something about the way you tell your stories that makes them interesting. I loved picturing the cow she’d and Lakshmi and the oiling and plaiting hair ritual.. Sounds like such fun.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…A lesson, a Drabble and some innovationMy Profile

  • Reply
    Claudya
    May 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Great post and what a lovely quote from Goldie Hawn.
    Claudya recently posted…Just Because I’m Crying Doesn’t Mean I’m Sad (Fragmented Fridays)My Profile

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