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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Mini marvels

In 1993,when she retired as a professor of English from a city college,Prabha Ogale,unlike many others in her position,had an exact idea of how she was going to spend her retired life.

Written by Shalini Rai |
August 3, 2009 2:29:10 am

Friends of Bonsai,a city-based bonsai club,has been putting together a stunning tableau of nature in miniature for over 16 years now

In 1993,when she retired as a professor of English from a city college,Prabha Ogale,unlike many others in her position,had an exact idea of how she was going to spend her retired life. A huge bonsai buff ever since she could remember,Ogale henceforth devoted all her time and attention to nurturing natural masterpieces in miniature,creating wonderful specimens of bonsai.

“A long time ago,I saw a wall bonsai in one of my friend’s house. Its sheer beauty took me by surprise; that day onwards,I took it up as a hobby and continued to experiment on my own,with some help from books and guides,” informs Ogale,now 75 years old. “I did not attend any bonsai training class. Over the years,though,I’ve become so involved in creating bonsai that I now follow my instincts and don’t go by the rule book,while nurturing these natural works of art,” she adds.

One of the founding members of Friends of Bonsai,Ogale says the club holds a meeting on the first Monday of every month. “We get together to discuss,experiment and share experiences as bonsai enthusiasts. It is one occasion that we all eagerly look forward to,” says this retired professor of the Shahu College,Parvati. “Earlier,when my grandchildren were young,they used to help me out in gardening. Now,though,they are involved in studies and jobs and hardly get time. However,I look back on those days with a lot of fondness,” adds the septuagenarian.

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Mandakini Malviya,another founding member of the club,says that as on date,there are 45 members in the club. “Anyone who wishes to become a member can join by paying an amount of Rs 1000 for an annual membership. We have a library,which helps members be updated about the latest trends in bonsai,” says Malviya. “Plus,every two years,we hold an exhibition of the various bonsai creations by our members,” she adds.

A placement consultant by profession,Geeta Monga is a dedicated bonsai enthusiast and says she enjoys her monthly outings at the club completely. “Though I’ve joined the club in April this year,I’m having a great time and learning so many new things at every meeting. Also,the library is a great help,since books on bonsai are very expensive and it’s not possible to buy every single published book,” says Monga. “I never skip a meeting and really look forward to being there every month,” she adds.One oft-repeated argument against bonsai is that it restricts the growth of a plant and makes it stunted. Ogale,however,says that although people are entitled to their opinions and she’s not one to argue,it’s a proven fact that bonsai plants are healthy and notstunted in any form. “We make wonderful pieces of art out of bonsai; they bear fruits and flowers. And if this is so,how can bonsai be termed restricting the growth of a plant. I think the argument is misplaced,” she asserts.

One look at the brilliant amalgamation of art and horticulture that bonsai is,will force you to come up with a fitting rejoinder to that assertion. As they say,the best things in the world do come in small packages..!

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