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  • Writer's pictureDr. Farrukh Chishtie

Floral rivalry is so human-like

Dr. A. A. Quraishy

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Competition between flowers may not seem human-like, however there are striking parallels.

Chrysanthemum, sometimes called mums or chrysanths, are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Asia and northeastern Europe. I was no knowledge of why this plant was considered a girl until I studied its psyche and I became aware of its being resemble girls – furiously jealous of any competitor, working hard to beat it hollow I which, it has come out with flying colors. The plant loves the sun, except one affluent ‘Red’ member as it fades during the bright sunny days.


As is the trend to follow the latest of fashion by ladies, the pink also adopts the same behavior as the red. We all know how repugnant foul smell is to the fair sex, but the incurved hybrid carries a twisted ego and dislikes animal manure, the rotten cow dung, the poultry droppings or the fish powder. They may withstand just a little of the offensive whiff, but not for long: they, whoever tolerates the liquid one which has less stink. “It will get blown with the breeze,” could be a muttering.


It seems that the incurved is a spoiled brat in the group: it has idiosyncrasies such as mentioned in the preceding paras. In addition, it prefers, to nibble, than to gorge itself with fattening nutrients. That it has left for the robust Japanese. No wonder the Japanese will withstand it; the nation eats whale meat, uses its fat for the cosmetics and consumes such food as no other nation would like for its dinner; items like almost half cooked cat-fish pieces carved out from a live fish, located by the dining table.


The main rival is the rose – that also claims to have as many springs (hybrids) as evolved by the aristocrat chrysanthemum. It, very true to its feminine, mercurial predisposition, changed its life cycle that the thorny rose could not accomplish, in spite of its larger kinship all over the world – namely to bloom earlier than rose. That is indeed a much specialized turnabout which is a great departure from the way nature had designed it in the primeval days.


The major changeover did not come in weeks: it took centuries. While raised, the vain and proud, bathed in a profusion of popularity in a floral race chrysanthemum worked behind a curtain. The rose did win, but it lost its privilege to blossom with the chrysanthemum, the reigning queen of the floral world, that kept itself in royal gardens.


The heart-burning at last reached a pitch! The chrysanthemum chose to burst with envy, while the rose still was in the dressing room wrapping in green shawls and deciding which dress to put on. The contempt against each other attained such a staggering height that it went into the heart, into the blood and was stamped deep in the DNA. That is why every chrysanthemum blooms in midwinter – the season when the rose, all over the world is in the beauty parlor having a haircut.


Since the rose had thorns, chrysanthemum thought it was inelegant to have sharp curved armament like a barbaric scepter. It was a slur, utterly brute, an antithesis to delicacy and femininity. How could a queen of majestic descent that ruled over the floral empire for centuries go with the brash rose that pushed and usurped her thrown like a tarter? Although both thrived in the cooler region of the world, in the prehistoric period, on mountainous slopes, loved polar breeze and ate the same food.


They hated each other.


The bone of contention was: who, of the two, was more beautiful? Chrysanthemum never demurred against having fragrance but it took great satisfaction in the thought that its subsequent generations carried more petals than the rose would ever have. So, one has superior lips to smile with and the other is left with fragrance, but not in all hybrids; only a few, that can be counted on fingers have appreciable aroma. Rose had to be content with having a larger fraternity, most without any enchanting fragrance, while chrysanthemum wallowed in hearts larger than any rose would ever have.


There was, however, one major departure: the chrysanthemum loved to be pinched softly - a very woman like disposition, while the rose pricked a pincher. As water flowed beneath the bridge, chrysanthemum preferred to live aloof in supreme dignity, while the rose allowed itself to be deprived of its arms every year, before bearing flowers. That generated a feeling that the chrysanthemum was a girl and the rose a rustic bum, which goes flabby every year with unsightly overweight and has to be trimmed by beauticians, while the chrysanthemum still likes to be handled with great care – as a tribute to its glorious past. Rose – the plebeian is seen with body lice, creeping on its body, while the chrysanthemum – the elite – never. if ever, suffers from parasitic scourge.

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