Wind waves ruffling the lush paddy fields. Rose apples (Jambakyas) tumbling down from the corner tree. Front yards littered with ripe and dry leaves. The routine of plucking hibiscus at dusk, before lighting the lamp. Trees have been more than just a prop in our nostalgia about yesteryears. Often we cling to these memories yet fail to recreate the mood.
Prabhu Narayanan is a different crop though. From his third floor apartment in Kuwait, amidst the heat and dust of the metro life, he feels at home, in sync with nature. The limited sunlight from the tanned ceiling pleasantly pours in. On his wooden chair, he sits flipping the pages of a book, surrounding him are about a hundred bonsais. Tamarind, mango, guava and even an apple tree inside his ‘bonsai room’.
Unlike most NRIs who shed tears, hum Dasettan songs and crave for green, Prabhu has succeeded in creating a home away from home. For him his baby trees are not a business means but a bond.
Prabhu believes that bonsais bring discipline to your lifestyle. “You cannot mess with the trees, you have to remember the days when you last pruned it, the exact proportions of the manure, the time intervals when it should be watered and the exact dates for repotting,” he says. Though it does not seem like an easy task, the thought of having favourite trees inside your home will tempt you into a commitment.
“I have been growing bonsais since my childhood, but it was when I went to meet my brother-in-law in Germany that I first attended a bonsai chat at a cafe in Münster, where all tree lovers got together to discuss their favourite trees and the intricacies of the art of bonsai. I wanted to do something similar in my hometown,” says Prabhu who works as an Oracle specialist in Kuwait and spends at least two months annually in Kerala.