While destruction takes minutes, construction can take months, or even years. Rebuilding something is even harder as one has to overcome the grief and despair of the loss and bring forth fresh energy and enthusiasm.
This is one of our learnings from the Ruins to Roses project. The journey to create a garden in place of a ruin has been very challenging but we have good news!
This April, during our visit to Uttarakhand, we were able to see the first bloom of roses.Not only were we able to see them but also took part in the collection process. Consuming is easy, creating is painstaking. When we consume something, seldom do we give thought to what all and who all have been responsible for bringing something to us. Did they enjoy creating it as much as we will enjoy consuming it? Did they benefit from the creation process?
While using that Rose shower gel early in the morning amid rushing to office, the last thought that would cross our minds is how the rose made its way into this bottle.
This April, when we visited Uttarakhand, we had a beautiful awakening. We were visiting our NGO partner and farmers as part of our annual meeting. Visiting the Rose project was part of the agenda. We went a step further and joined Bhuvan and his team in collecting the rose petals that would go into our products. Our day started quite early, in fact before the crack of dawn. The thought of waking that early made some of our team members lose their sleep, but it was critical we left early, explained Bhuvan.
The roses need to be plucked before the rays of sun hit them and they need to be immediately transported to the processing centre for drying them in shade. Well, there is transportation and then there is transportation.
Ours included walking through the fields because there is no pucca road for the last mile to the nursery and garden.Upon reaching,we saw Bhuvan immediately get down to task as he did not want to risk losing time. And yet when he was plucking roses, he seemed to have all the time in the world to look at each rose carefully before deciding to pluck or not!
Finally, our collection was carried away in wicker baskets back to the road head and then to the processing centre for shade drying. While Bhuvan is mainly responsible for collection, during the day, Bhuvan’s colleagues Deepa and Kaushalya take care of the flowers, protecting and nurturing them. In between, they take breaks to go home and care for their children, with equal care. And the roses continue to bloom.
Soon, plants from this nursery will be taken to villages at higher altitude, to be planted in the farmers' fields. I am sure they will give even greater care and nurturing to these roses. A rose is a rose is a rose but for us, NOW, there is a lot more to it than the soil and water in which it grew.
One more step towards being more mindful.