desi Traveler delivers some Sunshine in London
desi Traveler desi Traveler, where have you been?
I have been to London to see Doug & Doreen
Yes, I know it is a poor parody of the popular nursery rhyme, but I could not resist mentioning it here about my second visit to London a few months after our marriage. I and Missus were going to Swiss Alps, and as London was our entry point to Europe, we decided to spend a few days there. Only the Queen was too busy to meet us, hence we visited Doreen and Doug in the London suburbs once our tourist guide-book prescribed a dose of London darshan was over.
How we landed at the home of Doreen and Doug is an interesting story in itself. I was talking to Dr. Ram Gandhi an eminent pediatrician and a founding member of ISOCS, or Indian Society of Cacti & Succulents, and mentioned that I am planning to visit Kew Gardens to check their cacti collections. He mentioned that Kew is great, but if I want to see a personal cacti collection I must visit Doreen and Doug in suburbs if I want to see really good cacti collection in London. I have heard a lot about Doug and his skills in ISOCS meetings about growing cacti and decided to pay him and Doreen a visit after seeing Kew Gardens. I was pretty sure he will give me some good tips to care for my cacti plants ,(yes this was just a few months after our marriage) well dear reader what can I say I am like that only, totally crazy about thorny plants (T is not silent here, unlike in pteridophytes).
So a few days before departure I called Doreen to confirm our arrival plans, and as any good traveling desi will do, checked with her if she wanted anything from India.
“Oh No we are fine, I have been to India many times, so don’t need anything.” She said.
“Oh, but there must be something I can bring for you from here in India?” I insisted.
“Ok, it is already April and we have not had any Sun in last few months, so bring me some sunshine from Delhi!” beamed Doreen.
“Sure, let me see where I can get some sunshine for you,” I responded without thinking.
Once I have kept the phone, Missus asked me from where I plan to bring The Sunshine to take to London. I just smiled and told her that I will take care of things.
Once we reached London, I realized why Doreen has asked us to bring the sunshine, as the city has been going through one of the gloomiest weather in many years, and even in April there was no sign of Sun. Fortunately, London is one of the best cities for indoor activities so we visited museums, galleries, Churches etc. Only we could not sit on top of the famous Red bus as it was piercing cold ( you got to have some reason to visit again ;). Just a day before our return we were to visit Doug and Doreen’s home in suburbs.
Doug and Doreen were very hospitable to us, and after seeing their vast collection of beautiful cacti. I must mention that he is one of the most skilled Cacti growers I have ever met, In London when even the local plants were shivering; here I was in his glass house where cacti from sunny South America were smiling. Soon we came back in the house and settled for some nice authentic English lunch.
By this time we were very comfortable with each other and were talking like old pals. While I and Doug were still talking thorns the girls have moved to a cuddlier topic aka the pet bulldog of Doreen.
Suddenly Doreen looked towards me and asked me “So where is my Sunshine you promised?”
“Oh, One, second I totally forgot”, I said without blinking an eyelid and opened my bag, and took out the gift of Sunshine that we have brought for Doreen and Doug from India.
As I was unpacking a ray of light pierced through the glass walled patio we were sitting, reflected back from the torn semi-opened packet and settled on the face of a now glowing Doreen.
It was tough to say she was beaming to see the Sun shining in the afternoon sky after many weeks or the smiling Sun in the Madhubani painting that we have brought for her from Delhi.
I just looked at Missus, Doug, and Doreen, and smiled, “See I promised I will bring Sunshine for you from Delhi”, but in my heart, I thanked the benign star that gives life to all life forms on earth for his kindness.