Blog / Negotiating Food

Mrs. Rizwana’s Kitchen Garden

Source: growingfoodwithkhirkee.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/mrs-rizwanas-kitchen-garden-2/

I was at KHOJ with lots of work piled up and bad wifi reception. My laptop froze and my phone showed zero network bars.

Was this a sign to take a break from the connectivity and social networking? I guess it was because I was in no mood to fight with the universe.

The only thing left to do was to visit the Hauz Rani Nursery with Mr. Ahmed and buy him some raw material to get their balcony kitchen garden running. So I gave him a call and he had just fortunately cancelled a meeting in the afternoon and was free for 3-4 hours before his train journey to Bhopal in the night.

We rode on a yellow Vespa wearing our yellow and black helmets. The nursery welcomed us with a ‘free saplings’ campaign being run by the Delhi government. So our bill was a staggering 75 rupees for 10 kg vermicompost and 10 saplings i.e. Kadi Patta, palm, aloe vera, Railway Creeper / Ghiloi and Sada bahaar / Catharanthus.

 

The Ahmed family gathered to welcome their shopping basket which was actually a cloth tied to hold all the lovely plants. We sat, dug out the mud from the pots, mixed compost and transplanted the saplings into the pots. With a collective effort of Mrs. Rizwana, Mr. Ahmed, their son, daughter, sister-in-law and myself we were done in 45 minutes. The hard work was celebrated with delicious tea and homemade grilled sandwiches.

 
Meanwhile I had sourced the Jamun saplings requested by Thakur Ji, the motorcycle garage owner, from WWF’s ‘Adopt a Tree’ campaign. These saplings had been sitting in KHOJ building, waiting to be planted. I took them along to the park but the look on Thakur Ji’s face was far from happy. It was as if he was going through post traumatic stress from the goat incident. Within a few minutes of us convincing him, he poured his heart out. Told us stories of his endeavors at planting Peepal Trees in the Gandhi Park and its vicinity. He had sown and taken care of 6-7 peepal trees in between the road divider and along the park boundary for 6 months but they were all cut down by the park people on orthodox grounds. The locals believed that the Peepal trees would have hosted ghosts & spirits. And now he was weary of the goats eating away all the foliage.

We planted the saplings hoping that they’d be taller for the reach of goats by the next Baqr’Eid next year.