Sunday, April 14, 2013

Flower thieves of Belgaum.

 The flower thieves of Belgaum are not qualified thieves, but ordinary house wives. They will take a walk around the houses that have flowering plants, just before the sunrise of soon after, plucking flowers from other’s gardens. They will lean against the walls, lower the branches and take the flowers. They will even open the gates, go inside the house and pluck flowers. If by chance the neighbors question, they are made to keep quiet by the retort, “Is it your house? What right do you have to object?’

It is really sad to see that they will not only pluck the flowers, but also the buds, that too, very tender ones! They can be so hard hearted that they may not leave any flowers for the lady of the house.

On the road divider in front of our clinic, we got some flowering plants maintained by a gardener. The watering is done from our clinic. We had a dream of looking at the flowers from the clinic windows. But the local flower thieves will not leave even buds on the plants. Many times, on our way to yoga class early morning, we will encounter these ladies plucking flowers and buds. When I try to stop them, they will say,’ It is for the Gods. We do puja with them”, as if they are doing a great service to the humanity!

When I reply, “God won’t accept flowers got by stealing. You have to grow plants in your house and offer them.” If I thought that those words would make a dent on their conscience, it was my mistake.

Next time I tried a different approach. I asked the lady, “Are you doing anything for these plants? Do you water them? We are maintaining these plants and watering them. Let every body have the joy of seeing these flowers.”
The lady was quick with her response, “But the plants are on the road, this is public property. So I will pluck them.”

Aha! Look at her defiance. I responded, “These street lights are also on the road. Take away the light bulbs to your house, they are public property.” She immediately left, to come back later when I was gone.

I have stayed in different parts of India, but this flower theft is most rampant in Belgaum. Established flower thieves will always have plastic bags with them to collect the flowers. Novices will keep the flowers in their sari pallu. Once in a while you can see some old men also doing the theft.

I have only one mode of action, fold my hands and pray to God, to instill some civic sense in my fellow country women.

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