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.
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.
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?
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?
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”
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.
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
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!
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.
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!