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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dhaniya - the herb that seldom lets ego bloat!

I am the youngest of three siblings. The baby of my parent's family. The pampered one, the lazy one, the dreamy and the most excused one. And I am also the one who keeps all the family recollections on her finger tips. Always ready to take out the perfect card from the pack of our family memories when a situation calls for it.

So when a friend posted a comment on one of my posts, it prompted me to write about a cute little custom in my family. My friend was quite amused by a popular hindi saying I used in my post,
"धनिये के पेड़ से नीचे उतारो मुझे" (Get me down from the coriander tree). Yes, you read it correct - Coriander Tree and not plant. Of course, it is meant to be a sarcasm. It is meant to be used when someone gets too much indulged about one's success. Or to put it more succintly, to bring someone to one's real senses and back on ground from the fantasy world of narcissism. It is quite an exploited idiom among my siblings. We use it very casually here and now, there and then. And we all owe our humbleness to it. (Oh yes I am really a humble being. What, did I just hear you say narcissist? NAaah you didn't, probably my ears just echoed some noise ;)) But my friend's reaction made me ponder and I gave a deep thought to it! Let me share some of my reflections.


Coriander, dhaniya in hindi, is a very insightful herb. I can bet it is an omniscient plant. It can very easily sense when a tasty dish is feeling boastful. And very swiftly it sprinkles its tiny irregularly chopped leaves all over the dish and immediately captures all the attention of a lip-smacker. The gloating of the scrumptious food goes away for a toss as our seemingly insignificant coriander takes away all the glory to its credit. Coriander is like the Lord Vishnu from a story in one of the hindu Puranas about the great sage Naarad and his ego. The story somewhat goes like this - in some part of the world, at some point in time when Naarad was worshiped as the greatest devotee of Vishnu, he was so elated that he ran to tell about it to the Lord himself. But the all-knowing and all-seeing lord saw the tiny seed of ego germinating in Naarad's heart and set upon himself to make his dear devotee free of that evil. Coriander does the same for delectable foods and its mere use in an idiom does the same for us in my family. It sounds amusing, isn't it? Well, I bet as I am feeling amused myself as I am writing this.

Among us siblings, even a slight telling of one's achievement is soon responded with "बस बस, अब धनिये के पेड़ से नीचे उतर आओ " (Enough, enough, now get down from the coriander tree!) And whatever or however big the achievement, we would picture ourselves trying to climb up on top of a tiny coriander plant as if we are puny and it's like a giant tree in front of us. No matter whatever I have achieved, heights I have reached, challenges I have won, my folks would be happy for me but they would always nudge me to keep my feet grounded. And it always helps me to enjoy life more than anything. It is also a reason why I find it difficult to accept compliments. I would cringe within myself if somebody praised me for something. But other than that, it is easy not to lose focus from the real goal of self-improvement, if our mind is free from all sorts of self-admiration.

I now feel it is a beautiful idiom. I am surely going to use it with my kids, making it a custom in my family too. Because, it works subconsciously and can immediately make us realize how small we are in the larger scheme of things. Our success story is nothing to boast about. It is to be felt to be forgotten with only lessons to be taken. You cannot carry a single success or failure for that matter, through out your life. Else you will be stuck in one particular story failing through the rest of your life.

That reminds me of another interesting incident.

"If you want to continue painting. Create masterpieces and then destroy it immediately", one of my uncle had said when I started painting after a long break. That time I didn't understand him. I painted a very powerful subject soon after and I was very satisfied with my work. Every body praised it. I hanged it on the wall of my living room and my heart. I couldn't bring about selling it although lot of people asked me for it's price. And to this day, I can say I am not able to paint anything else again that can satisfy me as much. All I can think after I do a painting is that it is not as good as that one. I wish I could destroy it. But then it has to be destroyed from the wall of my heart. And so now I am a miserable painter and I understand clearly what my uncle had meant. May be someday, dhaniya would help me to paint something good again. Wait...

What?

You think that too..

Yes, that actually makes lot of sense..

That I paint dhaniya on that blank canvas perched on my window since months. A perfect tribute to the holy plant. As for you, remember, for a fulfilling life, you just need to bring yourself down every time you climb on that tall coriander tree. Set yourself on this path of humility laid down by dhaniya and you will discover your true self, one day.

May Coriander bless you all!




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