Seeds as gifts and souvenirs!

Soon after marriage, shilpa (needs no mention – my wife) and I went to Andaman by a package tour. Package tours are almost like ATM machines. They give us specific instructions and one can only do those. One of the days, as part of the package, the cab driver took us to the shopping streets. We didn’t find particularly interesting stuff with some utility along with beauty. We didn’t buy anything. However, we wanted to take back some thing as souvenir.

One of the beaches where we visited offered us something better, for free. There were a lot of assorted seeds of many types, carried ashore by the altruistic waves doing a kind favor to the mother plants producing buoyant seeds. We collected 30 seeds of some 8-9 varieties. 2 of them just looked like green sticks of 1 foot each. I couldn’t imagine what they were. We sowed all of them and these 2 sticks horizontally on ground. In some time, many sprouted. Regarding the peculiar looking sticks, from the narrower side the sprout came out, roots from the opposite end. The stick like seeds literally stood upright during germination, gradually from their horizontal placement and turned out to be ‘mangroves’!. Others included pongamia and some unknowns. With these 30 seeds started our ‘forest/medicinal/general’ nursery officially (not to ignore my mother’s gardening and small scale nurserying).

After 6 years to our joy, one of these 30 seedlings, now planted, has flowered this time - a pongamia (honge).

Pongamia bearing flowers

 Live souvenirs, specially plants have some unique features. They have a longer lifespan than us, they may flower or fruit. It may be so that my wife and I, in our eighties (god willing) walk with our shaky hands under this pongamia and other trees and try to (!) recollect our sweet memories of beginning our togetherness. Can a wallet or a T-shirt have this eternity?

[One un-identified plant from this Andaman trip died this time due to a fire mishap from the nearby transformer. It had well settled on ground was picking up speed].

Since then, I have gone on many trips, to – Ladakh, TadiyandamoL, Kolar, Bangalore (Infosys, where I got Sterculia foetida), Kadur, Sirsi, teerthahaLLi – to name a few. I can still remember the plants I have got from each of these places in their original form – as cuttings, seeds or plucked seedlings – and their current stature of the ones that survived. The more we collect, the higher is a chance to have a souvenir that we can ‘look up to’ (literally) after a few years.

muchcheeru tree grown from a seedling collected on
the way to kadoor, where we went for a marriage

A brazilian tree (arara nut tree) grown from seed at home, seed from Lalbagh bangalore
Sterculia foetida, janglee badam - seed from Infosys, Bangalore.
Gives tasty edible nuts

 I see thousands of people buying the exactly similar looking ‘I love Goa’ T-shirt which could have been made in Bangladesh and shipped to 'Goa'. Such stereotyped perception of gifts and souvenirs have given ample opportunity to marketers and industries which use buyer’s emotion as their primary capital.

Let’s think different and original. Why not some people go for ‘green souvenirs’ approach as well? We have a guarantee that no two of them will be the same. I recommend this for your next trip, in this planting season!

Seeds and plants are not the only ones as gifts or souvenirs. It could be home stitched clothes, homemade sweets and many more, limited only by giver's imagination. 

A part of vrukshaalaya planted 5 years ago, now taking shape of a forest
Vasantha Kaje.


  1. ಸರಿಯಾದ ವಿಚಾರ, ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟ ವಿವರಣೆ. ನಾವು ಅದೇ ಅಂಡಮಾನಿನ ಚಿಡಿಯಾ ಟಾಪಿನಿಂದ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಜಾತಿಯ ಇರಿಪ್ಪಿನ ಬೀಜ ತಂದು, ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನಮ್ಮೆರಡೂ `ಕಾಡು'ಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಸರಿಸಿದ್ದೆವು ಫಲಿತಾಂಶ ಮಾತ್ರ ತಿಳಿದಿಲ್ಲ :-( (ಅಶೋಕವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಕುವ ಕುರಿತು "ವಿದೇಶೀ" ಎಂದೇ ನಿರೇನ್ ಜೈನ್ ಭಿನ್ನಮತ ಸೂಚಿಸಿದ್ದರು)

  2. Nice idea, helps lots of things and also brings great memories for a long long time

  3. ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ! ಒಂದೆರಡು ವಾರ/ತಿಂಗಳು ಬರೀ ಸಸಿ/ಬೀಜಗಳನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರತೀವರ್ಷ ಇಡಬೇಕು !!


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