Let’s Start a Farm

To those who have green thumbs and to those you just couldn’t give a damn (why are you reading this?) why not try growing a farm? Why not move away from growing pretty little flowers in pretty little rows and grow some freaking onions? Or even some radishes? Know what I’ve started? Chillies. The first moment you see those shoots pop up from the compost, it isn’t pride you feel, it isn’t even joy. It goes along the lines of “Oh thank God I didn’t fail at this too.”

“Thank the heavens unemployment hasn’t destroyed all my brain cells, by spending all day refreshing the front page of Reddit avoiding looking for a job and I am still able to following those little instructions that come at the back of the packet.” 

Then of course there is the joy and the feeling of self-fulfilment. Fulfilment because these little shots will be your children for the next few months, and (because you are basically alone and you are single) you will find yourself talking to these little shoots as if they are the loves of your life. You will find yourself talking to these little green children as if they are everything you ever wanted in a family. They’re quiet, they listen to your every word, they don’t start pointless arguments, they don’t steal your clothes/food/time…They even gift you with precious fruits and only ask for water and sunlight in return. 

IMG_20140407_1[1] Just so you know I am actually taking this all very seriously. These are my children…

I also have dabbled in the idea of growing my own radishes. I say my own; what I actually have come to realise is that they aren’t my own at all. Haha no, no. They belong to the slugs of the night. I merely provide those slow motion beasts with a banquet of baby leaves, fresh horse shit and beautiful soil. They must think I’m either:

Their God, their provider of food and life.

Or they must think I’m the moron who didn’t buy the slug pellets when she had a chance to save her radishes…

Then again, they are snails. Who knows what they think besides “Shit, is that salt? Did I just slide through salt? Oh no my bad, I’m not melting that’s just my DISGUSTING SLIME!”

Spring Cleaning. Is it really that time of year again?

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Spring Cleaning. What is it? Is it just societies way of getting rid of all the year’s past mistakes? Relationships that haven’t lasted as long as you hoped a month in when you thought you’d be together forever? Jobs that have just become so menial that you can think of anything better to do with your time on a springy April day than to just clean! Has our society become so forced into believing that there isn’t much hope in anything being achieved before having a good rummage around all the things you haven’t touched within the year which now you must through away? Am I rambling? Yes of course I am, because I am obviously avoiding this damn spring cleaning session I have booked in with myself today!
Do we really need to change a duvet because we have had it past six years? Do we really need to throw out that bird cage in the attic just because Percy the parrot is no more? Must we throw away the memories and treasured storylines of the Christmas TV magazines? Well frankly yes we do, and if you do still have those things lying around then you are disgusting.
A great tip for all you people out there spending this weekend (preferably not as it is mother’s day) or the next clearing out cupboards, attics, garages and apartments: donate to your local charities and shelters, don’t just make spring cleaning an excuse to over-flow the bin with things other people may find useful.
I shouldn’t be needing to say this, but I believe the best way to stay clean and tidy is to give everything a good old polish and STORE IT PROPERLY. Now I know some of you are thinking when I say store I am being hypocritical and going against my words of putting things away in the garage. Far from it, my little wonders. The best way to keep things in place all year round and not just after spring cleaning is Ikea. Yes you read that right, Ikea. And let me give you some lovely homely examples…

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These little heavenly baskets are great to fit on your desk, in your wardrobe and in your draws. They fold away when you aren’t using them, and can be filled with all kinds of loose things around the room. Currently I am using the large square sizes for my lingerie and the long rectangular ones for products I don’t use every day. I even have two of the little squares filled with products I use on a daily basis and even some make up brushes. and only £13 for a set of 7, you can not go wrong!

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Something else I stumbled across in Ikea was this handy shelf draw. Under £50 and very stylish design, if I didn’t have asymmetric walls I would have loved to have these in my bedroom. Just for putting away a few things releasing a lot more space.

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Fenugreek

It’s incredible that our planet is home to seven billion people and counting. In the comics I collect from the piles of treasure-trash thrown onto the beach, there are pictures of a different world. A world with money, a world with heroes and princesses. Something very different to the beach. To my beach.

I won’t tell you where exactly but on the northern edge of Mumbai is where my world is. My mother makes extra cash cleaning middle class houses, she then comes back to her own make shift house held together with weak wiry string. We have a blue sheet of plastic that has done us the honour of flying across the gutters of the continent to be one of our four walls. The other three are my mother’s old saris, the lime green colour and the once luminous purple boarders faded by the sun. Our roof is nothing to brag about, it is just a few white jagged pieces of plastic and brown cardboard that used to be a box my father found washed up on the beach. Every night as I lay my head I see the words “Dell” and “INSPIRON”, repeating them over and over in my head, wondering what they mean until I fall asleep.  

My father was brought up in a normal house but was then disowned by his family for marrying my low cast mother. So he made a home here on the beach. He jokes and calls it his small beach apartment. My mother mocks his optimism by asking him if he would like the AC on higher, lifting the blue plastic wall from the sand above her head and holding it in place with a stick. Despite their differences in realism, they are in love.

Today there is a panic in my father’s eyes. He does not send me to school, but I am still woken up at dawn by my mother with the same distress in her manner. They begin to talk in low hush voices and my eight year old mind can only take a few moments of concentration before I walk away. In my world if something is serious, if there is something you need to know then there is no hesitation, no difficulty in finding out, no hush voices and low tones. There are no secrets here.

Normally, as I step out onto the sand I can smell the fresh fenugreek Ali, our neighbour, cuts from his plantation. My mother says that he loves to cheat people out of their money, charging seventy rupees for a bunch of fenugreek that is only worth twenty to twenty-five rupees. He says that it is because his plantation is the freshest in all of Mumbai. His secret being the water he digs from under the sand which is sweet, not salty. But as I step out today I am not met with the fragrant scent, instead the smell of waste, normally hidden by the plant, explodes into my nostrils hitting the back of my throat.

I look around and people are dismantling their houses. Men are on top of their makeshift roofs tearing down the foundations of their shelters.  Women are piling their belongings onto the cement of the sidewalk, holding their tiffin boxes and their framed pictures of deities, clutching onto misbehaving children and scolding them.  My world was behaving strangely, not in the nonchalant way that it usually acts. Nasrin, Ali’s wife walks over to my mother and asks why we aren’t doing the same as everyone, why we aren’t making our house look as if it never even existed. She says something about the machines coming, the life destroying bulldozers sent over from the government.

My mother’s face doesn’t look like Nasrin’s. It is not as panic stricken, not as worried. My mother has seen many of her houses torn down, many of her palaces smashed to smithereens. She knows the rituals of the government and their live size toys.

“Let them come,” she says. “Let them come, only when I see them will I believe it.”

She is so strong willed and thick skinned; I begin to think that my father chose her for her brutal approach to life, rather than her feminine charm.

The day passes fairly slow as most of my friends help their families take down their small memories one by one, only to put them back together again once the machines have come and fulfilled their duty. I feel the trembling on the ground before I hear the roaring of the engines and climb on top of my roof to have a better look, above the crowds of people that have gathered. I don’t get to look for too long as my father rushes me down and gets on the roof himself to snap away the thin threads keeping our shack together. They are here, they did come, and it wasn’t just a rumour!

My mother moves quickly now as the machines come closer and closer, tearing down any hint of formation, any scent of a home is crushed under the contraption’s heavy conveyor belt feet. The long arm of the bulldozer is extending, reaching for our house. It gets closer and closer until my mother and father can save no more, until our shack is broken and scrunched into nothingness under the weighty apparatus.

For the fourth time this year, our home is destroyed. A few hours pass and I suddenly look towards my mother who is laughing, she embraces my father and they are both happy. Then I hear her words of happiness.

“The government is going to be busy with an election!” She sighs relief, “They’ll be too busy to be tearing our homes down any time soon for a few months.” With this small piece of news, even I am happy. For a few months my world will remain intact.