I found my first grey hair when I was 21 . With a father who was so grey-haired that he was mistaken quite frequently to be my grandfather,I should have been prepared for this premature greying. But instead I was quite devastated.I remember telling my then boyfriend PP about this strand of grey hair and wondering if he would dump the old lady girlfriend to go take his pick from the college full of young girls.And it didn’t help that PP had a head full of silky black hair then. But PP laughed at my stupid apprehensions and we moved on.

I completed my engineering and then got into a B-school based in Pune. 2 years of late nights, constant project deadlines, the ongoing global economic crisis and the related placement tensions didn’t help my grey state of affairs.I came back to Bangalore, got a job and got married to PP.It was about this time that I realized that I better do something to look like PP’s wife and not like PP’s mom and started applying mehendi regularly.(PP is of a small build and was often mistaken to be a college student even after becoming the Creative Director at the advertising agency he worked for) . I was always very conscious of my grey hair(not enough to dye it though) all through this phase.

Years passed by and PP’s genes also started to act up. Like his dad, he also started losing hair.Since he was very conscious of how quickly he was balding, he keeps his head very closely shaved instead of having  little patches with no hair.So by the time we were both 30, I had a head full of mehendied hair and he had a head with hardly any hair.

When I was expecting BB at 30,our favourite joke was that if baby was to end up with both our genes, he/she would make an appearance into this world with about 3 strand of grey hair and continue with that for the rest of his/her life.Luckily BB came into this world with a head full of black, soft hair. But lets see if our prophecy comes true in a few years :D.

A few weeks back, we were grocery shopping in a crowded departmental store and I strayed away from PP as I was searching for something .When I had picked up all my stuff and was ready to bill them,I started searching all the bald heads in the store to find my bald-headed PP.I smiled as I found my bald head and we headed out together.

At 33(OK technically I am 33 and he is still 32 for another 2 months), we are both quite comfortable with our looks now. We have a long way to go as we actually grow old together,but its been a wonderful journey of premature ageing together with PP.


About a year back, when BB  got a glimpse of the animated movie  Cars on TV and  demanded that we get him a McQueen car, we knew that the the guy was already hooked.So we consciously made a decision to not buy him the DVD and get him to watch the whole movie.But the doting father that PP is, he took the little boy McQueen shopping . They went to the local shops around and asked for a Lightning McQueen car. But surprisingly none of the local shopkeepers seemed to have heard about this character.

The little son was disappointed and to make up for this, the creative father decided to make him a McQueen.So they carefully picked up a red racing car from the numerous little cars that BB has, then they cut out the eyes, smiling mouth, the lightening and 95 stickers etc and pasted it on and soon they had a nice little McQueen. BB was so excited with this little arts and crafts exercise that he decided to paste/draw eyes and a mouth for all his favorite cars.

About 3 months back, PP picked up the DVD and since then BB has turned into a full fledged Cars movie fan.The father-son duo can watch this movie again and again and again. And it is left to me to me to be evil, disciplined parent to police them and restrict their Cars movie watching to about once a week. Now the little fellow is in love with not only McQueen, but also Mater, Doc, Sally, Frank(!),Mack, Red, Fillmore(aka Peace van in our little world),Luigi and Guido.

He also has his favourite dialogues. and he says this one perfectly with the accent and all.(the meanie that I am I make him say this when I am feeling low and I perk up and end up laughing every single time)

And look at what the doting father did in the meanwhile. 

Every night, he would carefully chose a toy from BB’s toy basket which closely resembled one of the Cars characters, paint it the right colour with acrylic paints,let it dry and then paint in the eyes, mouth and the other distinguishing features. And BB would wake up to see  a new Cars character toy waiting for him the next morning !

Last week we were in a big mall shopping picking up gifts for a friend’s new born baby and we saw the whole Cars merchandise on display. I got to say that PP’s hand painted ones are much better( and more economical too 🙂 ).

I personally love the Mater and the Fillmore(peace van).

When PP sent out a mail to some of our very close friends announcing the release of his book, we got a reply from a very very good friend U who commented that she liked PP’s reason for writing the book . She also mischievously asked if dancing around treeswith  his girlfriend(currently his wife and yours sincerely)  was another good reason for planting trees. We both laughed at this comment and let is pass.

But the thought stayed on in my head and I chuckled as I imagined both of us romancing, running and dancing around trees in true Bollywood ishtyle .Got to say that this is old bollywood ishtyle. Nowadays Bollywood heroes and heroines are too busy doing item numbers or romancing in phirang locales or on beaches.But I digress. Lets go back to the image in my head of the romancing  under the canopy of huge flowering trees with the tree gently showering us with flowers as we dance around it .But knowing my tree crazy hubby too well, my imagination also decided to get real and practical.The cozy,romantic picture soon blurred to be replaced by a image of the hubby abruptly letting go of my hand and running and hugging a tree instead like his life depended on it.

Being married to a tree hugger for 7.5 years has warped even my sense of imagination.


And so we had the event  on Saturday.

Tulika started the event with a brief introduction to the book and then asked the author(aka PP ) to talk a little about his book.

The limelight-shy hubby if given a choice would have dug his way into the ground and decided to go into hibernation and had to be coaxed into talking. Luckily he had to talk about the one thing that he is most passionate about- trees  and soon he was yapping away.Kids asked him about how he came up with the idea for this book, they talked about the trees/plants that they had planted, their favourite trees etc.The media happy son on the other hand reveled in the limelight that he shared equally( maybe a little  more than equally :-D) with his dad.

We then had a little treasure hunt organized for the kids to make the event more fun and also to increase awareness about some of the common trees that we see around everyday.

We had put up posters of  7 common trees  in nooks and corners of the rambling three storied Mother Earth store.The kids were given  limerick based clues(some commonly known facts about each tree ) and they had to identify and hunt down the tree poster where a volunteer then gave them the clue to the next tree. The treasure hunt saw the kids running up and down the stairs shouting out ‘Where is the Neem tree’? , ‘Where is the Banyan tree’? ( got to admit that the banyan tree was the most difficult one to hunt down). The final clue led them to the Mango Tree. And  what better treasure than some lovely organic mangoes from the Mango tree!

And lastly and most importantly, we had the tree planting activity. PP at this stage completely shook off his shyness and got into the groove of what he loves doing the most- planting. PP  and BB then helped all the kids fill a pot each with soil and plant the Pongamia seeds.

The event made it to the Bangalore Mirror yesterday.

Thank you Art and Abha for spreading the word and for taking time off and making it to the event.

And special Thanks to the Tulika team and the Mother Earth team for doing such a good job of organizing this event at such short notice.

Here are the Treasure Hunt clues. Can you identify the trees? (click on the picture to read the clues)

Tulika and Mother Earth together are having a tree planting event for kids on June 4th to celebrate World Environment Day and to promote the book.

Everyone’s invited!

‘Let’s plant trees’ by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwer is a little picture book that was released recently by Tulika books.

‘Let’s plant trees’ has cute  illustrations with simple one liners on the benefits of planting trees.But the book does not stop at sprouting philosophy, but also calls the children to take action by planting the 4 pongamia seeds that come packaged with the book.

The author introduction as provided in the book:

Vinod Lal Heera Eshwer wears many hats: he is an advertising copywriter, garden store entrepreneur, furniture designer and obsessive tree planter. He inherits his love for trees from his mother who he says spent much time during her pregnancy in their company! He is is a trustee of treesforfree.org. Currently, a filmmaker too, this is his first book with Tulika

Some more trivia about Vinod:

Peepul, Banyan,Neem,Honge, Arjuna, Raintree, Akasha Mallige,Copper Pod, Frangipani,Tabebuia,Umbrella tree, Parijatha,Sandalwood, Pride of India, Jacaranda,Flame of the forest, Ashoka, Cassia, Badami, Kadamba, all the  local Indian fruit trees and many many more(I can remember only these many!) Vinod can give  you the local Kannada name and the botanical names of most of the common Indian trees and medicinal plants. Vinod can also tell you ideal conditions for these trees to grow and if their fruits are edible and can support nesting birds etc.

Vinod’s suggestion for gifts for any occasion are the Treesforfree gift vouchers.

For his brother’s wedding, Vinod managed to convince his parents to give away potted Tulsi plants instead of the traditional coconut and betel leaf tambula.

Vinod’s little son has been planting trees with his father since the time he could stand and walk on his own two little feet.

Vinod can probably name all the trees on the way to his office( or any Bangalore road he frequents) even when blindfolded . (ok that’s an exaggeration,but you get the idea of his of passion and obsession with trees)

Vinod loves drawing and illustrating for his little son .So it was but natural that his first published book would be a book about trees for children

So who is this tree crazy Vinod? And how do I know so much about him?

Vinod is the spouse , more commonly known as the Papa Papaya or (PP) on this blog.

You can read what the author himself has to say about his book at http://planttrees.tulikabooks.com/

You can order the book online at:


or at


When we moved into our new house in April 2006, PP hauled a huge concrete pond up to our second floor terrace, obtained Lotus plants from a nearby lake and planted these plants in the concrete pond on our terrace.Unlike its cousin the Lily, the Lotus is not very easy to grow. So to ensure that  their move from their wide spaced natural habitat to the constricting lotus pond did not affect them adversely and to see them through the initial days of their relocation, PP got the lotus plants with large scoops of lake soil and planted the plant with the lake soil in the pond.Within a few months, we had some of the most beautiful lotus flowers blooming right outside our bedroom window.

By September 2006, we had many lotuses blooming at the same time and the terrace garden had a riot of different shades of pink as the newly bloomed bright pink lotuses blended in the with pale pinked lotuses on its way out.By the end of the year, about 20 lotuses must have flowered in out little lotus pond.

PP very religiously collected the seeds of all these lotuses and every time we went past a big enough lake or pond, he would pop a couple of seeds into the water body.So the seeds from our terrace lotus pond has found its way into an almost dried up lake near my parents place in Bangalore, a couple of ponds near my ancestral village in Kerala, a few lakes on the highways in and around Bangalore and when we went on vacation up North, a few seeds also found its way to the Dal lake in McLeodganj.

But 2006 was the last year the lotus flowered in our pond. The lotus plant still thrives and sprouts fresh batches of healthy looking foliage very frequently, but has not flowered since then.PP even replaced the old soil with  fresh soil from the lake,but to no effect.

So imagine our surprise this year when the dried up muddy lake near my parents place filled up with water during the monsoons and suddenly turned into a colorful riot of green and pink.The little seeds that were dropped by PP into this lake years ago had finally taken root, grown into  healthy lotus plants and were flowering!

(Please excuse the quality of the pictures as we didnt have our camera and we just had to capture this joyful sight using the mobile)

A little act was all it took to share the beauty that we enjoyed.

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