Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A is for Aloe Vera #AtoZChallenge


Frog. If I were asked to describe my movements as a child, I'd say, I acted just like a frog. I could never sit still. I preferred running, hopping or skipping to simply walking from point A to point B. But, unlike the labels used these days by modern medicine to describe my kind--the-ants-in-their-pants-kind--I can confidently say that neither was I deficient of any attention nor did I suffer from any disorder. On the contrary, I received more love and care from my family than I can write about and certainly enough attention on account of the knocks and scrapes I got while wandering in Papaji's garden climbing trees and jumping off high walls and metal gates.

Papaji would ask Beji or Mummy to prepare a kuchee pukkee (partially-cooked) roti. He would cut out a fleshy Aloe Vera leaf with his trusted pocket knife. The knife always lived in Papaji's pocket, on the right hand side of his white kameez. Even though Beji was meticulous about washing clothes to such perfection that the whites dazzled and the colours shone like rainbows, the edges of Papaji's pockets were always stained with mud marks. I'm sure he got told off for such carelessness but my grandfather was a man of the soil and he wore his love for mitti (earth) with abandon. As long as his kyarian (flowerbeds) were full of promise and his radish seeds sprouted on time; their baby shoots peeking tentatively through the earth they had birthed in, he didn't care how dirty his clothes got or how much soil lay embedded under his nails.

Papaji would guide the knife through the edge of the Aloe Vera so that the two blades of the leaf would separate equally-- each part gleaming with transparent gel.

He'd pinch the gel with his fingers to loosen the goop before rubbing each half on the still warm roti one by one. Once Papaji was satisfied that most of the healing molecules had transferred from the two halves, he'd use his handkerchief or anything handy to keep the roti in place around my knee or elbow or any part that had been knocked and was threatening to erupt into an angry bruise or a bump.

"Hond tikk kai be jao." (Now sit still for sometime) was the only advice he'd give and carry on with his gardening.

To postpone Mummy's telling off for a bit longer, I'd pretend to be in much pain and buy time to hang around Papaji, in his garden, for as long as possible. You see, Mummy saved her disciplining of us for when we were alone with her. Very rarely did she indulge is daant phatkaar (serious telling off) in front of Beji and Papaji for they would always, always defend us and sometimes even rebuke her for her strict, disciplinarian ways.

All through my frog years, jumping from trees and playing in his garden, I don't remember ever applying any ointment from a tube. All the cuts and bruises healed overnight with a bit of magic and Papaji's patti (bandage) of Aloe Vera and kuchee-pukkee roti.

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For those of you who're new to the healing benefits of Aloe Vera, here's a helpful link :
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What are your Aloe Vera memories? When did you first use it? 

43 comments:

  1. I have heard about the medicinal qualities of aloe vera. I haven't personally used it. But I have had an ayurvedic medicine that had this. My wife keeps telling about the need to have it. But that day is yet to come!
    (A to Z Challenge participant)

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    1. Pradeep, I can safely say that you should pay attention to what your wife is saying:)
      Thank you for dropping by and for commenting.

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  2. Hari OM
    OH yes, I've used AV fresh from the leaf since my teenage - learning about it in Nigeria. Later, drinking the juice helped with gut symptoms. And it is such an attractive hot climate garden plant! YAM xx

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    1. It's certaintly a good looking plant Yamini. And when it flowers, it's even more resplendent.

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    2. Hey Yamini. I can't find your A to Z post. Are you participating this year?

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    3. Hari OM
      As mentioned in my response to your 'reveal', things have conspired to prevent participation; my time is not my own as am in full-care mode for my father. I can barely keep my two regular blogs running, never mind get creative and deep on such a challenge! I did wonder about doing something informally - however, even that was going to overtax the exhausted brain. Yxx

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    4. Sending you love and hugs telepathically dear Yamini. I'll pay a visit to your beautiful and wise words when this challenge is over. They always bring clarity to my seeking.
      Hari Om.

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  3. I have a beautiful Aloe Vera plant, well beautiful to my eyes as it's 10 inches high with 6 leaves. But I love it, and one day I will be able to use it as medicine as you do ;))

    Feel free to join the (non official) A to Z Challengers Linky Party:
    AtoZ Linky party

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    1. Thank you for visiting Frederique and for sharing the beauty of your aloe. Enjoy it.
      I will pop over to check out the party...cheers.

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  4. "Urban Disaster" is what my man calls me sometimes attributing to the frills of growing up in Urban city. So I was exposed to Aloe Vera (AV) and its benefits only when some fancy branded Shampoos / Oils were expertly advertised the brands using AV as a co model. My Bad. In the small match box houses of Bombay then (Mumbai now) that we grew up, our balconies where no less than a huge garden (atleast for us)where all the earthen pots & few recycled Horlicks/ Complan/ Parle-G bottles & tins were lined up (similar to the Ration queues)to perfection without a single inch being wasted. Like AV was for you, it was Haldi (turmeric) & Tulsi ( basil) for me.There couldnt be a single TAM-BRAM (Tamil Brahmin)house without Tulsi for sure. My Amuma (like your Beji) believed it could cure anything in the world. Had she & your Papaji +Beji been alive, am sure they would have fixed this COVID-19 by now & got back to their gardening. Much Much Love darling.

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    1. Oh! Vidya, your comment made me chuckle. Actually, I think that if we had, as a race, bothered to be true to our roots and in sync with nature and technology in equal measure, such viral outbreaks wouldn't happen. Tulsi and haldi held high status in our home then and continue to do so even now.

      I love the way you've described your lush Bombay balcony.

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  5. We used to use aloe vera on burns until all of my plants died. Your childhood sounds wonderful. I had a grandfather with a wonderful yard and garden where my sister, cousins and I used to play.

    https://findingeliza.com/

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    1. Hope you are able to replace your aloe vera plant Kritin. They're so useful.
      Thank you for visiting.

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  6. What beautiful reminiscing. Aloe Vera is such a magical healing plant.

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  7. Can you believe I have never actually seen an Aloe Vera plant... Just met it in creams and medicines... The perils of growing up in metros I guess...!! A good reminisces I must say your post is :)

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    1. I am actually surprised, very surprised Ira.
      How I wish I could send you a plant by post:)
      Thank you for visiting.

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  8. It's been years since I had an Aloe plant but I still rely on the gel for her healing. I've seen cancer doctors use it and burn specialists. It is a natural wonder to be sure.
    I love the way you tell about this healing plant. Cant wait to read more.
    ~Moonie
    http://moondustwriter.com/2020/04/01/alzheimers-and-old-butcher-knives-short-story-atozchallenge

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    1. So happy to see you here Moonie. I love your poetry.

      Thank you for your kind words.
      I carry chunks of frozen aloe with me on treks and use the gel to treat sunburns etc.

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  9. I've used Aloe Vera on burns before but didn't realize it's a good treatment for other scrapes and bumps. Weekends In Maine

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    1. It is. And as a mask to hydrate dry skin and hair.
      It's a wonder plant:)

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  10. Beautiful read .. vivid description.. I saw little arti in piggy tails running around.. I don’t really know if u wore piggy tails but in my imagination u did ..
    If possible pls share papaji pic with me .. u seem to be a lot like him

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    1. Cheers Sahitya. I will show you his pic for sure.
      I had very short hair all through my frog years:)

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  11. Hi Arti, Simply loved to read your childhood memoirs, so vivid explanations, you have wonderful writing skills.
    Well, I do have Aloe vera plant, I occasionally apply its gel on my face or hair, sometimes I do eat the gel, I like its taste. Looking forward to read more.
    Lots of love, Nisha

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    1. Thank you for visiting Nisha:)
      Yes, Aloe is my favourite too for so many reasons.

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  12. I enjoyed your eloquent description of your memories. My mum used to use aloe vera on most of my cuts and scrapes too. I remember falling into a field of nettles and it was the only thing that could soothe my stung legs.

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    1. Thank you Anstice.
      Those stinging nettles must have stung!

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    2. What precious memories of sweet nurturing. I can totally imagine you fearlessly climbing trees and walls just for the opportunity to see things better.
      I wasn't introduced to aloe until I was a teenager, but I remember how amazed I was at the goopy gel the plant contained. While I use it for burns, I hadn't actually realized it was used more widely for cuts and scrapes as well.

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    3. I'm happy you have found Aloe. He's a keeper for sure:)
      And its gel is a great addition to a morning smoothie.

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  13. Sounds like you are your Papaji's favourite. Aloe Vera definitely has so many beneficial properties. Your post brought back memories for me too. Great start to the challenge.

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    1. Shweta, at five, I was like most children--egocentric. So a lot of what I remember has me in the starring role.
      Papaji loved all his grandchildren very much. In fact, I think he had a specially soft corner for my younger sister, Seema.

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  14. So happy to be here. I eagerly await every year to read your A-Z challenge. Reading your words makes me fall in love with you again and again ��. Keep them coming. I felt like I was right there watching you when your grandpa took out that knife, cut the aloe Vera and applied it on you ☺️☺️. Heading to B now.

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    1. Thank you dear Pinkz. Big hugs to you.xx

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  15. Nature in all her abundance, has medicinal powers manifold greater than the world's best pharmacy or biggest pharmaceutical companies. But beyond all that is the Blessing for this to be served with love by your Papaji - what a wonderful start to this series dear Arti, I can almost smell the aloe vera ... keep them coming sister :)

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    1. Thank you dear Raj.
      This is very encouarging.

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  16. Thank you dear Raj.
    I'm so glad you are here to listen to stories about the most amazing grandfather anyone could ask for. Now that you have Mia and Enzo, I'm sure you'll understand the magic of this special bond.

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  17. What a great start Aarti ! Your writing enables me to peep into your childhood . How beautifully you described papaji , beji aloevera and you as a frog surrounded by nature n ofcourse you reminded me the benefits of aloevera which i had forgotten for a while .🤗🤗

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    1. Thank you so much. I wish I could read your name so I could thank you properly for visiting and for commenting.

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  18. Sorry Aarti i just entered my name !!

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    1. Cheers Simmi. No worries. And thank you for visiting:)

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  19. Lovely read Arti, as always! Aloe Vera and I have been friends since long..beauty industry swears by it! Very expressive

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  20. I've heard aloe vera is good for burns and that it's an easy plant to grow. A friend from university had a large one. It apparently started out very small and enjoyed growing. 🙂

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