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Guras tales: Gratifying or mortifying?

Guras tales: Gratifying or mortifying?

Spring break is here, everyone is getting their trails ready for the trek to experience the breathtaking beauty of Nepal. The top attraction of the season is the vibrant rhododendron flowers blooming just on the lap of mountains and mesmerizing landscape. 

While growing up in Tarai, I never appreciated the flowers that used to bloom in my household or even cared to harvest one. I didn’t have an interest in gardening and wouldn’t get excited seeing growing petals of the hibiscus or any other flowers.

Suddenly, I was craving spring break to go on a trip “To see rhododendrons.” It can’t be the entire reason why I am desperate to have spring break, there must be some profound connection. 

Well, it is not an ordinary flower—it is a national flower that holds a special place in every Nepali heart—but for me, it also happened to be my lifesaver a long time back.

I was just about two years old when I accidentally (of course) ate a fish bone that got stuck in my throat. After a few minutes when I was coughing blood and crying with pain. Everyone panicked seeing me like that. My mother and aunt were trying to help but they were sort of helpless for a moment. They were just trying to figure out how to take that fish bone out of my throat when somebody remembered the herbal benefits of rhododendron which could help with stuck bone. 

Fortunately, my elder cousin, who had just returned from her educational tour, had gotten rhododendrons from her trip which she kept inside her book. Suddenly, she remembered and took out the dried petals of rhododendron from her book and gave them to mother. She rubbed leaves around my neck and dropped a few petals in my mouth.

The tale about rhododendrons’ benefits turned out to be true; it helped me swallow that fish bone, and the rhododendron saved my life. I don’t know if I can ever find out if this was just a mere miracle or a rhododendron miracle, but I will always be grateful for its existence and its inhabitants in Nepal. It was not the most interesting story, but it was a life-saving story where I can’t think of a rhododendron without recalling this incident that happened almost eighteen years ago.

As I mentioned earlier, rhododendrons with their more than thirty species residing in Nepal are true gems to Nepal with their vibrant spirit and symbolic representation, and their impeccable beauty adds a magnificent view of nature. 

Oftentimes, we humans appreciate beauty in the wrong way, some by default and some by design. For instance, plucking rhododendrons to make videos and pictures and a few times we get so possessive of beauty that we want to carry that beauty without even bothering to think twice, if they want to come along with us. 

Rhododendrons are resilient plants. They can regenerate themselves but only if branches are plucked carefully without damaging the main stems. 

Regrettably, we have seen and found the excessive plucking of branches or rhododendrons in social media flaunting themselves with the trend. This massive careless activity needs to stop, which is directly affecting the ecological system creating tension for the sustainable environment. 

Wanderers of life never come to cease, I often thought when will I get to meet my life-savior? How will my first interaction with a rhododendron be, will I appreciate the beauty it beholds or the beauty of healing? Will it be a different feeling for me when I first get to see a rhododendron right in front of my eyes? Will it still hold a different place in my heart after it’s gone?

Now, at the age of twenty, I have come to believe it will indeed be different but I’m not sure what that ‘different’ feeling will be. Will it be gratifying or mortifying?