Devyani was sitting beside her ailing father. He had contracted Pneumonia, after being out on a chilly winter evening in January. She read out short stories from a book to him. He listened with attention as she read the author’s description of a garden in a valley, abloom with flowers of various hues. He said, “Devyani, it’s time to sow the seeds for the spring flowers. I don’t think I’ll be able to do it this year. Would you do it for me?” “Yes, Papa,” said Devyani happily.
For the next few days, Devyani organized her work so that she would be free to work with the gardener, when he came at four in the afternoon. She supervised the sowing of the seeds. She made careful considerations of the height and colour of the flowers that would bloom. She reported to her father what she had been organizing in his beloved garden. Father’s eyes shone with paternal pride as he saw his lovely daughter working responsibly with the gardener. “Papa, the garden will be in full bloom in March. It’s your birthday on March 30th. You know what; we’ll have you fit as a fiddle by then. We’ll invite all your friends and have a feast together.” Father smiled happily and nodded in agreement. Come February, but father was not better. He contracted a chest infection. Some days later it spread to his lungs. All the antibiotics seemed to have no effect.
Father coughed and wheezed day and night. There was an array of cough syrups, tablets, steamers etc on his bed side table. Devyani and her mother nursed him lovingly and tirelessly. But day by day, he deteriorated. He became weaker and weaker, till on March 20th, he passed away in his sleep.
Devyani and mother bade a tearful goodbye to the man they loved so much. On the 28th of March, Devyani called up all her father’s friends and invited them to a garden party to celebrate her father’s sixtieth birthday. They were surprised, yet intrigued.
Devyani baked a cake and iced it with a “Kiss.” She placed it on a table in the centre of the garden. Some other eats were also organized. But it was not the iced kiss on the cake that caught their attention. The flowers took everyone’s breath away! The flowers were planted in such a way that the pattern made by their height and colours read as ‘I love you Papa!’
As Devyani sang “Happy Birthday to you, dear Papa’ she raised her tear filled eyes to the heavens and said, “Papa, I know you can see your garden of flowers, I love you, and I always will. Happy Birthday to you!”