The Space Between Us: Curry Leaves & Lemon Tree

The Space Between Us: Curry Leaves & Lemon Tree



Founder’s Insights • 11 March 2023, 2:00 PM

Sometime last year, she planted a lemon tree and a curry leaf plant in a large pot in her balcony. Both the plants were happy together. It has been a routine for her for a few years. She would wake up, check on all the plants. Touch them gently one by one and water them. I would be invited regularly to visit her balcony to admire her flourishing, colorful garden and spend quiet moments. She would often insist that I do OTB there in silence. This was her proud moment and another one would be when I plucked curry leaves to fry them in her dal.

Months passed and both plants were growing beautifully. The curry leaf plant was blossoming and growing taller while the lemon plant was sturdy and stable giving decorative tiny lemons every now and then. They both looked beautiful together in one pot.

Nurturing is a profound attribute gifted to humanity. It silently brings hope to the most hopeless person. It always turns you inwards because nurturing helps you to be detached from what you nurture. If you persist, it opens up the vision for the future on its own. It is not possible that you nurture something, and you do not arrive at your solitude. Grace comes from the womb of solitude. This is what I witnessed every morning, when she would move swiftly but very confidently to talk to each of her plants.

Over the next weeks, as life got hectic for her at work, she noticed stagnation but did not make anything of it. Both the plants were shedding leaves and drying up. One day she told me that both the plants need to grow alone. They are suffocating together and perishing.

She bought a new pot and took my help to move the curry leaf plant out to a new big pot. Added more mud to both the pots and ensured they both receive the same first sunlight of the day. I did not tell her but while taking out the plant some of the roots were damaged for both plants. We saw how the lemon tree was drying up while the curry leaf plant had almost given up. They both were quite pale when separated. But her routine continued as a nurturer. I would often go a few times a day to check on them too. Each time a few more leaves shed, and plants were turning brown. It continued for a few days; such was our routine. She watered them and I watched them.

Then one day she fell sick. This was a big one. Being at NV LIFE, personal health emergencies are very difficult, as ironic as it may sound. Cure and recovery are not the concern. The problem is how to fix a hole in an over speeding ship where brakes cannot be applied. The entire core team had to re-organize so that the ship sails while the hole was being fixed.

For some time, I forgot about the plants though watering was done by the house help. As she was recovering, one day I saw the curry leaves showing signs of revival. A small hope but it looked certain while the lemon tree had dried up with some fungus on it.

I showed her and shared the good and the bad news. Next morning, I noticed that she was watering the plants including lemon. By now, the plants across the house were being attended to occasionally by her and at times by me. She would ensure that she treats the lemon tree as she treated others, whenever her health allowed her to nurture.

3 weeks passed, and I saw today that the lemon tree is showing signs of recovery. There are new leaves sprouting and flowers are visible too. She smiled and there was satisfaction. Then she slept deep for a few hours.

This is the story of two plants. They both formed a relationship when planted in a pot. They both received the same sun, water, love and care. They both grew up supporting each other and then one day, they both began to dry up. Nothing changed between them and around them, but they just could not grow.

When separated, they both felt void and purposeless for some time. Watch them in your saanjh and you could feel the pain of two dry plants. But when nurtured with faith, one began to revive and soon the other followed.

We all wonder at times how when everything is right between us then why are we not blossoming?
It is the space between us.

Relationships are not about love, sunlight, hope, and faith but about giving space. Every relationship goes through phases of evolution. There comes a phase when we can grow together only if we grow individually, while holding space for the other to come up too. It has void, separation, pain and hope and yet there is a risk that you may not survive, and the other plant may not come up too. But then it is about our choices. Rot together or take the risk.

Years back as a teenager, I read Khaleel Gibran, and I never understood the meaning of that one line which stayed with me in my growing years- Drink together but not from the same cup.

I never got it then, but I got it now. I get choked because I choke.