I don’t know if it is possible to understand plants the way you understand cats and dogs, but I have a feeling that my rose plant is suffering from a severe identity crisis.
I knew this plant was a hybrid the moment I set my eyes on those perfect red roses with ultra-resilient petals. I’d sniffed it a few times suspiciously, “Hmm… no scent.” I’d sniffed the other variety of roses on display, but ditto – no scent. So, I blamed my olfactory system. The seller blamed the fresh drizzle. The point being, those pretty things didn’t smell like anything living or dead. But I wanted red roses. So, I bought the plant. Besides, the seller had insisted they smelt good since they were the “desi” variety. I had my doubts.
Now, it’s been a few months since my plant has been growing in the balcony. We’ve had a few beautiful blooms with very, very faint (stick-your-nose-to-the-rose) fragrance.
Another odd thing about this plant was that only one side of the stump had foliage. And it continued to grow more branches on the same side. I tried altering its course but my balcony barely receives any direct sunlight, so the adjustments didn’t really help. I was a little worried that it would eventually tilt heavily to one side.
Strangely, almost as though it knew what it had to do to maintain its balance, it grew a new branch on the opposite side, from the base of the stump. In a few weeks’ time, it shot up with a sense of urgency.
“So, what’s the problem? Plants do such things!” You might argue. Well, here’s the problem: My plant thinks it’s a tree.
Now, I do spend time with my plants and chat with them occasionally (don’t judge me). But I’m sure I don’t do motivational speeches:
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin
No. Not my style.
This new entrant has shot straight, up, vertical on its own accord. Its leaves are narrow and light-green, unlike its other half. It refuses to branch out. In fact, it still has several tiny leaves at its shoot, so it certainly plans to continue its journey upwards. (And possibly bend backward to meet gravity because there is nowhere else to go with a fragile body like that. Maybe it’s a creeper and doesn’t know it yet?) It shows no signs of budding. But it’s darker cousin / conjoint twin / split personality / you-know-who has its fifth bud! The new kid on the block doesn’t even have thorns like its ultra-protective burly half. Just hair like structures that can at best tickle your nose.
Now let’s get philosophical. Here we have manifestations of two contrasting personalities originating from the same life form. It’s a sign. Some sign.
As of now, they appear to be complementing each other, at least in terms of weight. I wonder if it has a plan. I’m sure this thing went through some serious soul searching before exploring the new avatar:
“Hmm… so what would I look like if I were taller and thinner? Would I prefer dark or fair skin? Would I really want to bear flowers? Oh, let’s try it and see how that works out!”