Spread through the vast green pastures, were various plants and shrubs, neatly grown to perfection, a mix of different colors of flowers, seeming to slightly resemble a rainbow. The well-structured plants were meticulously weaving into each other to carefully create a wonderful synchrony in their own way, representing the beauty of the garden. “Is this really my effort or one of God’s magical creations,” he wondered.
He could hear someone approaching the lawn, perhaps the kids were having their break. But the footsteps grew stronger, more towards him, and when he almost turned to take a look, a lady approached him. A middle-aged lady, in her mid 40s with brown hair and a slightly stout personality was standing in front of him. Something wasn’t correct, he could sense that. She stood there, with a frown on her face, waiting for the gardener to finish his groundwork. The gardener was now nervous about the news she had for him.
“Hello Madam, what’s it about? Did Maggie (Margaret) create some trouble in her class? Please excuse her, I mean, did she do something wrong?” the gardener’s voice choked with anxiety. The English teacher knew as little as he did, but she had to convey this message. She finally broke her silence after 30 seconds, revealing the fact that the school Headmistress was angry about something and that she called him up to her office.
The gardener slowly got up from the ground, fearing about the issue headmistress had with him. He has been working here for almost 12 years and no one had a complaint against him, never. He started walking slowly towards the Principal’s room, with his thoughts wavering around what the problem might have been. “Did kids pull off leaves or flowers from the garden, was he not taking care or protecting the garden properly?” “Did Maggie behave mischievously in the class, did she score less in her tests, what might it be…”
He was lost in thoughts when he almost reached the office door. There was a shiver through his spine, this was the first time ever he had come to her office; without the knowledge of what had happened was a more probable reason for his fright. His heart was racing and he could feel the thump going down his throat. With all the courage he could gather in, “Good Morning, Madam, Hope you are doing well! Is there anything that I might assist you with?” the gardener was in her cabin.
The Headmistress, aware of the gardener’s anxiety, replied back, “Very Good Morning, please have a seat.” The gardener looked at the seat and again back at the Headmistress. He was reluctant, as he was never invited to her office before and being just a gardener, sitting in front of her was disrespect, in his view. The Headmistress repeated again, this time, in a stubborn voice, “Please have a seat.” The gardener hurriedly sat down.
He was sitting there, waiting very patiently, eager to hear what she has in store for him. The Headmistress calmly spoke, “You have been associated with us for the past 12 years and did a splendid job in gardening. A couple of times, I felt I should appreciate you in person, but never had the leisure to do so. Though I am guilty about this fact, today in particular, I wanted to also know about your personal life, if you don’t mind sharing it with us.”
The English teacher was astonished. She was surprised that the Headmistress was talking this way, she never treated a teacher or even a parent with such respect. And now, she was sitting and talking to a gardener and asking him about his whereabouts! “Perhaps, I am dreaming” she thought to herself. The gardener was gathering himself to speak to the Headmistress.
He humbly said, “Madam, I am not sure if my daughter was doing mischief in her class or if she scored less in her exams, please forgive her. She doesn’t have a mother and could be naughty at times. I will talk to her and she will definitely understand. I am very fortunate to be working as a gardener in this school. Else, I don’t have the stature to afford my daughter study in such an established school with high standards.”
“No, I didn’t mean that. I just needed to know a little background about where you guys came from and the story of yours. This may seem a little odd to you at this point in time, but you will get to know the reason for this discussion by this time tomorrow,” said the Headmistress relieving the gardener of the burden of guilt. But he still couldn’t resist himself from thinking, “What’s the motive of this meeting?”
“I come from a really small village where even today, there is a lack of medical aid. Childbirths is the major cause of death for many young women and Maggie was an unfortunate child with such fate. I lost my wife and didn’t want my daughter to suffer the same. I brought her to this town, to educate my child and to give her a bright future. If possible, I would like to see my daughter serve my village as a doctor.
I know I am not capable enough for the worth it takes, but as a father, I would like to help her out with anything I can. She is a brilliant student and if she goes with this pace in higher studies, she would be fortunate enough to serve our village, one day. All the way, I will be her strength and guide her along. My dream is to see her turn her into an excellent human being, serving the society in her own way.”
The Headmistress and the teacher were dumbfounded. Later, the Headmistress handed over a parcel and asked him to open it only after he went home. She asked him to come dressed in it the next day. She thanked him for explaining his story. Now, the teacher grew anxious too, trying to figure out what was going on in the Headmistress’s mind.
That evening, Maggie came back home from school and the father asked, “Maggie, did you know, your Headmistress called me up into her room and asked me tell her our story today. Do you have any idea, what was the reason behind that?” “Oh…really?” Maggie was trying to hide her smile. No dad, I knew nothing about it. They both had dinner together and Maggie went to sleep. The gardener was still wondering, waiting for the next day.
In the morning, he opened the parcel to see a neatly sewn dark gray colored suit, very elegant and perhaps expensive too. He was too hesitant to wear it, when his daughter told him, “Dad, the Headmistress wants you to come dressed in this suit today, she would blame me if you didn’t.” So, Maggie knew everything about the other day and was quiet. What is it that they are hiding from him?
Maggie and her father arrived at school. They approached the school ground, where there was an event taking place. There were parents, teachers, and students seated in their respective areas. There was the Headmistress on stage and the Student Pupil Leader was announcing the gardener’s name. Everyone rose from their chairs and applauded them, while the duo approached the podium to take a seat. The Headmistress had her speech ready.
I wish all of the Mothers a Very Happy Mothers Day! Thank you for joining us in sharing the joy of having kids and loving them all the while, through the pains and gains. However, I have an extraordinary story to share with all of you, which made me think, and realize the value of a parent. The person seated behind me is our gardener and I would like to read out to you the best message written on the event of “Mother’s Day.”
I know I would score less in this competition, but this is my view of a mother.
He teaches me to strive hard, he does gardening whole day, every day, just to afford my studies.
He teaches me to lie as he’d say he had enough and is not hungry, only to feed me dinner.
He teaches me sacrifice, while he sacrifices his necessities to fulfill all of my small wishes, just to see me happy.
He teaches me to fight back, guides me when I am lost, knowing I can’t return him the favor.
He teaches me the true value of happiness by loving, caring, and sharing.
He teaches me how to raise after a fall, to succeed after a struggle, “no struggle is worthwhile until we succeed.”
He defines my true mom, my dad, I never ever missed my mom!
I love my Dad and I will love him forever. Happy Mother’s Day, Dad!
I always knew, we had the best gardener in our school. And this competition brought out the same person to be the best parent in our school. This is the most impressive and inspiring article written by a student on this Mother’s Day and I would like the parent to be our Honorable Chief Guest for today’s program. The Headmistress then shared his story from the previous day to the audience. Maggie and her dad were in tears, in happiness and amusement, so were the crowd.
Maggie’s dad received the best applause ever!
There are many dads around the world, who deserve this credit. It’s just that we don’t realize the importance of all of them – that sacrifice to earn more while we are busy spending, that guidance while we are failing all the while, that warm hug when we are lost and lonely, that pat on the shoulder for our slightest achievements, that encouragement to try and balance ourselves, and that love no one can ever replace. He is the invisible gardener who turns our home into a beautiful garden 🙂
2 thoughts on “The Invisible Gardener”
So beautifully you have engaged the words.
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Thank you Shreya! Glad you liked it 🙂