Friday, October 15, 2010

Mr Ambani's garden, and mine

I wonder if Mr Ambani has a garden?

I read somewhere that he lives in an apartment in the sky, in a swanky penthouse in south Bombay. And it's the most expensive apartment in the world.

I wonder if this swanky apartment has a garden.

It probably does. On the terrace of his house he probably has a landscaped garden designed by some incredibly expensive landscape/penthouse artist. Probably a little Japanese affair with a little rockery, and an electric waterfall that goes into action at the touch of button, causing little fairy lights to come on. Like Richard Cory, Mr Ambani probably sits there in the evenings with his lovely wife and children – when he has the time – and tells himself how lucky he is.

This is how I imagine Mr Ambani’s garden to be.

Poor Mr Ambani. Poor lil' rich Mr Ambani.

This is what I think when I survey my own little garden. Do you – dear city dweller – know what it is to have a little garden? I never did when I lived in the city. I didn’t think of such things. When I lived in my several different little barsatis in Delhi, I never even bothered to have potted plants. Too much of a hassle. Only once I experienced something that came close. The tenants before me had completely enclosed the terrace in bamboo and left some pots filled with green. The sunlight filtered through. I bought myself a little table and I’d eat my meals on this lovely terraced garden.

But now, now I have a real garden! It’s not in the front of the house, like most gardens. In fact, anyone passing by would think: ‘What a sorry house. No garden.’ Little do they know. My garden is on one side of the house, overlooked by a long (not so long, actually) veranda. I often sit there, dreaming. Sometimes I half close my eyes and look at it. This, I think, is how the Impressionists must have viewed reality. I see a blur of colour. Pink, purple, blue (yes, blue flowers!), yellow, red and, of course, green – countless shades of green. I don’t have a gardener (only Babuli, aka the village idiot, who sometimes clears the weeds). I’m not a keen gardener myself. Too lazy. But somehow, putting a plant here, a plant there, the garden has grown – and grown pretty lush. Last night I was amazed to see one yellow hibiscus awake and open (this morning it was dead, or perhaps still asleep). Its chrome yellow petals were peeled back and the stamen was sticking out – like a tongue. It was incredibly erotic, actually (now I have the word erotic on my blog, in addition to the word sex, and all the perverts searching Google are going to find my posts and be incredibly disappointed because all I allude to is the activity in the garden.) Every now and then I think I should sell the cottage (time to move on), but it’s always the thought of the garden that holds me back.

I wonder if Mr Ambani (who, according to Forbes, is one of the richest men in the world) has butterflies – huge butterflies in the most incredible colours – in his expensive penthouse garden. I wonder if he has caterpillars (the bad guys) eating his plants, and hundreds of fireflies (the good guys) giving him the feeling that he is in a tropical paradise. Maybe he’s imported them. Maybe he has robot fireflies and caterpillars who just look pretty instead of ravaging his garden. I wonder if he has real earth on the terrace of his penthouse garden, or only a readymade lawn. I wonder if the magpie robin sings for him (on a Sunday, a holiday). I wonder if he has woodpeckers banging away or the red whiskered bulbul courting his loved one passionately. I wonder if he has red ants in his garden or if squirrels run about, shrieking (when I lived in Delhi I had a doorbell that sounded exactly like a squirrel, only I didn’t realise it till I came here). I wonder if he has trees – a coconut, maybe. With money, anything is possible. Or so I’ve been told.

I know one thing for sure. There'll be no frogs in his garden, not even the odd snake. Lucky, lucky Mr Ambani. It's lovely the things money can buy.


Mumbai Paused said...

The Ambanis is rumoured to have a ranch in South Africa. So they just jet off when they need to smell flowers I guess. Anything's possible with the Ambanis.

Jeeves said...

You are funny! Why haven't you written since Oct 29th?

Jeeves said...

Look forward to your next one. Happy New Year!