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“Find a job that you love and you never have to work another day”, goes a wise old saying. This holds perfect for my father, Mr. Vishwanath. He is in love with his plants, with nature, with his job; so much so that he continues to work even at this age of 76. And may he continue so for years on end!
“My Pappa has always been the absent-minded dad who never knew which class (let alone the section) his kids were in! But question him about the name of some tree/ plant in a corner of Lalbagh or quiz him on the characteristics of a leaf, he would spell out the details, growth pattern, light necessities of the plant, species it belongs to etc. in a jiffy!
“He has been the only person that I have seen living and relishing his work and enjoying it to the fullest. Plants are a passion, another extension of his own self.
“He has given us kids a lot, in his own nonchalant way! His simplicity, his humility, his Zen for knowledge, is something that we carry throughout our life. Unknowing to us, and perhaps to himself, he has always instilled a sense to question anything that we tend to take for granted, be it the fantastic way a plant arranges its leaves to share light equally among its leaflets, or the complicated way our human body works. His actions have always prompted us to think about why this has been so.
“His attitude of relentlessly challenging us with questions on various natural phenomena has made us what we are today!
“Thank you Pappa!”
Daughter of Vishwanath Bolara
Uncle’s story is about communication. It is one of understanding, love, joy and caring. Uncle is to his plants what Lord Krishna is to the Flute. What was once empty gets filled with a fresh breath of air. The elements are brought together into a single empty cup to create. This creation is not possible without the initiative, which is in the form of Uncle. The Pot (or the Flute) is the symbol of the regeneration of Prakruthi and Purusha, God and Nature.
Plants mean the World to Uncle. It is what his day begins and ends with. They are nurtured and nourished by him patiently every day. In time, to see the first leaf sprouting its way through difficult soil brings a smile to his face. To see varieties of plants responding to him in different ways, on a day to day basis keeps him going and gives him strength.
Not only does Uncle need his plants, but the plants rely solely on him. Years of undying commitment and responsibility towards his ever so large family restores their faith in him for generations, having created a language of understanding in the memory of the plants.
Every waking morning begins with the sound of his footsteps as a relief to their longing. Spray gun in hand, he greets them all and walks around to check how they are doing. He is all ears to their cheerful cries upon the break of dawn when the first rays hit their leaves.
They get enriched with a splash of water he showers upon them, while invisible roots make their way deeper into soil. They sway in the wind with joy in response to his loving patrol. Their gentle gaze rests upon him as he continues his daily ritual in their midst. The touch of his hands is a reassurance of a tomorrow to his nursery of little people. Uncle in his silence, speaks to them all in a language only understood by him and the many plants that surround him.
For this film, we spoke to uncle at length about his work and realized the value of work over its articulation. We felt like a mirror, conscious of all his routine activity, while he spoke about the plants, quite oblivious to the impact he creates. Uncle’s voice over content has been retained as his own perspective while the visual content has been treated as the perspective of the plants – thus strengthening the duality and cyclic nature of his environment.