Lessons from Men


India — my birthplace — and Little India in Singapore (my adoptive country) see more men selling flowers than women. They call out the names of various blooms, their deft hands caressing, spinning and tying them for use in worship or beautifying the braids of women. Male gardeners have helped me raise plants that stand strong and sturdy, their boughs throwing innumerable blossoms at our feet everyday.

Who says men don’t understand life, love, gentleness or the beauty inherent in things? Talk to those who negotiate with the soil and flowers — they will tell you about the glory of the multi-coloured bougainvillea or the fragrance of the haughty Champaka. They will teach you to be patient with the Neem and strict with the thick cactus. That men can bond with earth easily by knowing her needs and understanding her limits…some men can indeed teach you that.


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