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Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was afraid of flowers. Yes, that sounds like a stretch, but there are verified accounts of it from people who have witnessed her unexplainable dread. She would avoid outings for the fear that her parents may take her to a garden, she would shake at the first sight of flowers on the waysides, she would whimper as if the flowers were a host of demons waiting to pounce on her. ‘Flo..wers……’ the broken refrain would continue till she was removed from the scene and made sure that there were no flowers to hassle her anymore.

It was unclear from where the fear had entered her tiny heart and what twisted her imagination into believing that one of the most beautiful creations of nature was the most menacing things on earth. The origins of fear are hazy, its reasons often illogical and its basis is mostly imaginary. Nothing could have explained the rare response of the three-year-old to an object that in due course of time would become one of the biggest loves and cravings of her life.

The girl, now cruising in her 50’s, is harking back to that time in her life with disbelief as she browses the internet to place an order for a bouquet to a dear, young couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. She finds a pretty pack of red roses, adds a personalized message of endearment, and smiles, as she imagines the joy it would bring to the couple when it is delivered at their door. The roses would remain in their vase till they withered, and then its rufous memory will linger in their lives forever. Flowers don’t die; they merely fall. And then, they become a collage of fragrant impressions in the corridors of our time.

As decades fell by, the girl grew out of her infantile fear and she is now a certified flower fanatic. She staunchly believes that there is no better present than a bouquet to express immaculate love, there is nothing prettier than flowers to embellish our sepia lives with, and if there is one thing that can beat their heady fragrance, it is only the scent of the rain.

There is no season of Spring in the place she lives. Her life is set to the backdrop of desert monochrome for most part of the year. The city is periodically landscaped with patches of petunia and marigold here and there, but they are only cosmetic touch-ups.

She waits for summers when the city suddenly explodes with the gulmohar and she gasps at its flamboyant flourish wondering if she could absorb all its opulence into her heart; she dreams of tulip gardens, lavender fields and spring blossoms in foreign lands and plans make-believe trips to those places from where she would never have to return; she fills her balcony with bougainvillea and 10 O’ clock flowers that she tends to as if they were precious orchids and every night, before she slips into sleep, she makes a secret wish. That the doorbell would ring the next day and a delivery boy would hand her a big bunch of roses as a gift from someone who loves her dearly, or someone close would walk in with a surprise, even if it’s not her birthday. At least once, before life pulls its plug on her, she hopes to receive a bouquet as a present. Someday. Funny, how some wishes are too small to realize, yet for reasons unknown, they take a lifetime to be granted.

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