A rose called Happiness

When we say Hope springs eternal in the human breast, we are only partially correct, for it is from Nature’s lap that hope largely springs from. With her abundant bounty, Nature not only infuses positivity and hope in us, but also teaches small and big lessons of life. The flowers that show us that beauty can bloom and thrive amidst thorns; the humble grass and tiny plants that spring right back after being trampled upon; the majestic mountain peaks that embody endurance; the barrenness of autumn and winter heralding the advent of spring; even the dark cloud with its shining outline of silver light – all are Nature’s proofs that life is not bleak but full of positiveness and hope.

But ever so often we fail to take note of her messages.

Back when we lived in Chandigarh, I used to go for my morning walk in the Rose Garden near our house. It was there that I came very close to Nature for the first time, or perhaps came to really take in and appreciate her myriad moods, fragrances and colours. While the trees had their tales to tell, the rose bushes had their own. Oh, how many hundreds of varieties of all colours and shapes were there! And their names! I will tell you about them later…..

So drunk with the beauty of the garden was I, that I forgot all about changing seasons and their effects on the verdant scenery. My first autumn there was a rude coming down to earth. It was sad in a way. I had seen trees shedding their leaves during autumn, but I was not prepared to see so many of the majestic fellows being denuded by the careless winds. And cold was slowly setting in, deepening the desolation in the garden.

Winter in that City of Gardens is severe and I went for my walks with my hands jammed into the pockets of my coat, face swathed in woolen cap and muffler, head down, eyes on the path. The patches of rose on both sides of the path were also bare, except for a few hardy varieties, so I never turned to look at them. It was rather depressing to walk thus day after freezing day and my churlishness only increased. How typical of us spoilt humans to expect everything to remain hunky-dory all the time! The lines If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? from Shelley’s The Ode to the West Wind pushed themselves into my head, but it was hard to believe them. Would Spring ever come?

But come it did, and how!

The gate from which I entered didn’t give an inkling of what lay beyond it on that spring morning. It was still cold and my hands were still in the pockets and my head still down. I wasn’t in the mood to see nude trees and bare patches of rose bushes, so there! But something made me look up and….my breath caught in my throat, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped all the way to the ground.

This is just a road in Chandigarh. Can you imagine how a park full of trees would have looked?

I used to pride myself for being able to smell the setting spring while living amid concrete blocks in cities but I had never expected it to be so dramatic or that awesome. I had heard a lot about the changing colours of spring but it was here that I first saw it. I couldn’t believe that they had not been there the previous day or the day before that. Surely this miracle couldn’t have been wrought overnight? It must have been created – one shoot, one leaf at a time before bursting out in such awesome splendor. Maybe I had failed to see the tiny shoots in my despondent mood. Maybe they had all sprung overnight. I didn’t know and didn’t care.

I felt like running down the paths, singing, laughing and dancing. Maybe I did, I don’t remember now. Suffice to say that trees were completely clothed and what colours! The foliage went all the way from pale green to bright red with all shades of yellow and orange in between. Yes, folks — red foliage. I remember standing there gawking and trying to count the shades on that first day of spring. Over the next weeks I watched the leaves assuming their natural colours and blending with the rest of the garden.

What a splendid transformation Nature had wrought that day in her Creation and in one brush stroke banished the gloom that had settled so heavily round my heart.

The rose patches had bloomed too. There were tiny shoots, and bits of bright colour trying to push through the tight buds. The names of the varieties had always fascinated me and used to bring a smile to the lips. They ranged from prosaic names of the species or some personality, to the whimsical, flamboyant and philosophical ones. Amidst the Delhi Princes and the Dulhans, two names struck me and have stayed with me over the years – Careless Love and Happiness. I used to wonder a lot about the first one. Had the one who had given the name been unlucky in love? Did the person actually mean ‘selfish’ but instead wrote ‘careless’? Whatever it was, it disturbed me.

But it was the one called Happiness that I want to tell you about – about how it taught me a valuable life lesson of hope and joy. While some of the patches of rose were flush with flowers, this one used to be rather bare. There used to be a bloom here and there, but never as many as in the others. I would scan the plants anxiously for a bloom and when I found one, I used to be ecstatic.

I used to wonder at the irony of it all – how and why happiness was so scarce that one had to search for it. And then one day, it struck me. Happiness was there for us to find it. It could be right there in front of us, but not visible or apparent. If only we looked into the recesses of our mind and heart and the world around us, we were sure to find it.

And sure enough, from that day onwards, I never had to look hard for one of the blooms, for if it wasn’t there in that patch labelled Happiness, I could find it in one of the  others and then call that rose Happiness! Simple, wasn’t it?

Images courtesy: Top: adoak.com

Middle: http://www.chandigarhphotos.com/

Homepage: Swati Maheshwari  

32 comments

  1. So beautiful! I have never grown roses though I love them. But I have fond memories of roses in my nana’s patch. He had some exotic varieties for those days including a lovely black one. I found so much happiness among flowers. Even raat ki rani and mogra bring me immense joy.

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    1. Flowers are symbols of joy and love, Rachna. But that rose called Happiness was just another variety, nothing spectacular about it at all. That was one of the reasons why it intrigued me and when I couldn’t find many of them, set me off on my philosophical questionings 🙂 I have only seen black roses in flower shows, never had them in my garden.

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  2. Beauty of nature and how it changes, I have seen in Mandu and Dewas..one day before it was all dry and brown skeleton, in the night it rained and the nest day it was lush green..Before that I never saw such fast changes.
    Then in Zurich i always went in summer, so trees were so dense we couldnt see the lake from our house but in september october they change colors beautifully and then all the leaves fall and in november the lake was visible beautifully and then again if there is a heavy snowfall they are all covered with snow..all pristine white…

    Nature is so beautifull in all forms.

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    1. Your description of the changing scenery itself is so fascinating. So I can imagine how the real thing must have been. I am glad you got to see the other sides of nature in Zurich too. And yes, the changes can be completely dramatic as we both have discovered, haven’t we? 🙂

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  3. Such a sweet post, Zephyr, and well-written about the human pursuit of happiness!

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    1. Thank you Roshni. That patch of rose had become my obsession for a while, you know 🙂

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  4. CHAndigarh MY CITYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 🙂 yessssssssssssssss oh so many afternoons spent there , next to the fountain.. there use to a be a VERKA milk bar not sure if it still exists .. 🙂

    and Leisure valley right in front of the rose garden.. Nature as you say has this lovely way of teaching us and showing us .. it is a pity that sometimes we fail to learn ..

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    1. The Verka milk bar was there when we lived in that city, but not sure now. As for not learning from Nature, we do it all the time. It is only rarely that we look and learn. I love Chandigarh too.

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  5. Nice…if you look for happiness, you will definitely get it!

    I had been to this garden with my husband hoping to see different kinds of roses. But may be it was ‘off time’, the garden looked dry and bare. Water was stagnating outside the fountain and it was smelling. But I could still imagine how beautiful it would be during the flowering season, spring. I feel like you did/explained, when I see nature. It takes me to another world. I think I felk like this in the Mughal garden. I felt like singing like the film stars did in movies…I hummed, really!

    Enjoyed your post, like I do always, Zephyr! Looked for happiness and I got it here!

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    1. I am so happy you found happiness reading my post 🙂 I am not aware of its present state. I am talking about the late ’90s, when the Rose Garden was beautiful. It was very well maintained at that time and the walk used to be so invigorating. Do you know I have never been to Mughal Gardens despite living in Delhi for years and years? 😦

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  6. Found In Folsom · · Reply

    After reading your post, I did search for the ‘Happiness’ rose and the ‘Careless love’. 😛 You took me on a visual tour of the place..only if you had more pictures of the blooming gardens, that would have been wonderful. Life gives us lessons in so many different ways, doesn’t it? See how a small rose set you find where true happiness lies 🙂 I am so eagerly waiting for spring to arrive here. I look out of the window each day to see if the trees are green. And like you said, you will be waiting …waiting and one morning by the time I come to work, all trees are green and life is full of hope again 🙂 After all, life comes and goes in cycles…just like seasons.

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    1. Oh, I am sure you wouldn’t have found them on the net, because the names were of those particular patches of roses given by some random people, I am sure. I was posting it in a hurry and couldn’t hunt for the pictures. There were some clicked by Swati but there were too many people in those and I didn’t get the feel. So I posted the one which had the path on which I used to walk. When spring comes there, will you send me the pics of the changing colours? That is one of the most magical sights ever. I remembered the anger, my gloom and churlishness at the winter barrenness most of all 🙂

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      1. Found In Folsom · · Reply

        Actually colors change in Fall and not exactly spring. Unfortunately, Texas is such a horrible state nature wise…you don’t find any trees change their color 😦 and I hardly see trees full of bloom like I did in California. In Folsom by this time, the trees are heavy with cherry blossoms and they fall within a week or two…and two eyes are not enough to see them 🙂 Trees look like they are covered with cotton or snow…

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        1. Oh, how wonderful it would be to see a cherry blossom tree! I have seen pictures and heard so much about them. Fall is an American term, I guess for autumn. but that is when we have the trees shedding all their leaves here.

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  7. Nature really gives us ‘happiness’ in so many ways, isn’t it ? Its around us all the time, only we choose to look at it, admire it, inhale the fragrance.
    Your beautiful post is really about simple things which make us happy. And its interesting because just recently I ordered Ruskin Bond’s book about simple living and it also talks about the same !

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    1. Thanks for reading and liking the post, Asha. Which of Ruskin Bond’s books did you get? I feel that the appeal of his books and writing is only because he chronicles the simple things in life, whether he writes for children or adults. And yes, I just came back from inhaling the smell of wet grass and feeling its dampness on the soles of my feet 🙂

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      1. I had other books of Ruskin Bond. But this one is called ‘The Book of Simple Living’. Its a treasure.

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        1. I have ordered for it. Thanks 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  8. What a lovely post, I can almost see and smell the roses 🙂 Happiness, indeed. And what beautiful lessons to be learned from Mother Nature, from changing seasons, from the various colours She showers upon us in every season.
    By the way, I like the name Careless Love! Something so wild about it. I haven’t been very good with growing roses, for some reason for last so many years they haven’t done well in my places – here in tropical India or even when I lived in cold places abroad. That’s why perhaps I really enjoy (and evny) looking at roses in other people’s gardens.

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    1. I remember your post on restructuring your garden and the lessons you had pointed out to us through that one. Yes, we have to keep out minds, hearts and instincts sharp and open to receive these signs and lessons from Nature. Else, we would be going through life, as I had been doing during those cold days before being jolted awake. Loved that you liked the name Careless love. Having seen so many heartbreaks due to giving (throwing?) love carelessly, it had disturbed me enough to wonder what the person who named it had been thinking when she/he did. Roses need just the right kind and amount of everything — soil, sunlight, water, fertilizer and of course love! I have grown some really great ones but now don’t even have a balcony in my tiny flat 😦

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  9. All roses can be called Happiness actually, can’t they? The rose bushes in my garden are pretty temperamental though. The flower are will… and always unexpectedly. I love that!

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    1. To tell you the truth, the ones called Happiness were nothing remarkable. Just another variety of rose. But the fact that they didn’t have so many blossoms made them intriguing and set me off on my philosophical quest 🙂 I can understand the roses in your garden blooming unexpedly and surprising you, just as happiness sometimes does. You are right. All roses can be called Happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It is an awesome and breathtaking place.Your mention of the variety Happiness and the lesson it had for us all was interesting and true.

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    1. I am sure there are many such places, KP. For me the moment of ‘discovery’ and ‘truth’ came in Rose Garden, that’s all 🙂

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  11. Absolutely…Lucky are those who get to visit such open places..

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    1. Thank you Chowlaji. Yes, we sometimes get lucky 😀

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  12. From a ode to Nature to a life lesson! True – happiness can lie in what you already have while you are hunting for it elsewhere!

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    1. Ah, that is a valuable philosophical truth you have stated, Suresh. But I think we should begin by looking for it in images outside to sharpen our senses and instincts to find it inside of us.

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  13. Nature is perhaps the best teacher and if one can read its messages as you so beautifully mentioned, happiness is always around us, just waiting to be discovered

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    1. How true, Rahul! You have said it so beautifully. Happiness is just waiting to be discovered, as it is all around and inside us too.

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  14. I hope the young folks read this. A wonderful introduction to life as one goes through it, the seasons, the lows, highs and the colors . Today, when folks look inward into the mind and sink into whirlpools of depression and similar stuff , this is a shoutout, telling them that everything around them has a message for them. Be it about standing stoic and firm in winter, optimistic as new leaves happen in spring, and sometimes, even delirious, with the colors and fragrances blooming around you. If we only looked. Nature has so much to tell us ….

    What a great post , Zephyr….

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    1. Thank you for endorsing the sentiments in the post, Suranga. Even I keep hearing of looking inward and all that, but one can never look inward with any success unless one first learns to look at the outside and around and be able to see and appreciate and understand those. And yes, sometimes Nature makes us delirious with joy. Even after nearly two decades, all I have to do is to close my eyes and remember that day when She had zapped me with her magic.

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