Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ask and you shall receive?

"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The above is probably true with other people, maybe even with most people, but it definitely doesn’t apply to me. I’m quite certain that the universe conspires to prevent me from getting what I want.

I don’t want to be rich or famous. I don’t want to be popular or have lots of friends. I don’t even want to turn back the clock and be young-looking again. All I want is a pumpkin of a respectable size in the backyard and some lovely flowers fronting the house. I know my wants are embarrassingly small and simple. I am a small and simple person.

Now about those pumpkins… I’ve written, in the previous post, about my disappointment regarding the missing pumpkins. First, the maid plucked the young shoots of my pumpkin vines to take home and cook as a vegetable dish for her family. Each time she plucked the shoots, the vines were delayed from bearing flowers—and no flowers meant no gourds.

After I told her to stop snipping off the shoots, the vines finally produce both male and female flowers. I was able to pollinate a female flower and we had a baby pumpkin gourd after a very long wait. Alas, the ‘Hurray!’ was hardly out of my mouth when Mrs. Jiran—our back-house neighbour—hired a grass-cutter to clear her yard. This man chopped off the vine that had strayed from my yard and attached itself onto the fence. The vine dried up, withered, turned brown and died.

The universe didn’t want me to have that pumpkin and conspired to take it away by making someone kill the vine.

 Out in the front yard, I have grown some Honolulu Creepers. I had wanted the vines to climb up the fence, grow profusely and maybe attract birds and insects. Didn’t happen. The left-house neighbour also hired a grass-cutter to clean her yard and the man—perhaps being ignorant of flowering vines—pulled out all the creepers climbing on the chain-link fence. I almost cried when I saw the fence devoid of my beautiful green-leafed creepers. They had already started flowering. How could the man not see that they were not weeds? I don’t blame him, however. It’s the universe which is conspiring to prevent me from getting what I want.

What else do I want? Hydrangeas! I used to have several plants. It was fascinating to see a head of flowers with shades of blue on one side, shades of lavender on the other and pretty pinks between the two. So the other day I trimmed my sole hydrangea plant and put a dozen cuttings into a tumbler filled with an inch of clean water. I carefully chose a spot to place the tumbler: out of the way, and near my potted plants where I was absolutely sure it was safe. Who would want an old, plastic tumbler when there’re dozens of clean glasses in the kitchen?

Apparently someone did! You’d be as shocked as I had been if you knew what the universe did to prevent me from having more hydrangea plants. The universe instructed someone to use my tumbler as a container to dilute some liquid detergent—probably for some cleaning job. Then when he was done he put back my cuttings in the tumbler of  blue detergent.

I could go on and on and relate other incidents to support what I believe to be true… that the universe works against me. But I know you’ve got the picture. And if the universe is reading this post I want it to know that it is being very unfair. After all, I’m not asking for much, just some nice flowers and pumpkins... and beans and tomatoes and papayas and okra and... 


  1. ahhh.. universe, pls be gentler to this lady.

  2. Oh dear what a petty all your hard works were destroyed by the universe that conspires with third parties to challenge you for your patience and see how you react. May I suggest that you put a big sign not..... to your plants or else .......!

  3. Dear Tina,

    Life is always conspiring against us. Just when I think things are set at the right moment, other things begin to spiral(more often than not, out of control). I guess we have to live by Murphy's Law, no? :). In any case, your flowers are beautiful!