A Houseplant Directory
illustrated by Hima Devaraj
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
This is an artists' plant growing in a black ceramic pot which you made during your brief interaction with pottery. The leaves mimic an oil splatter, an explosion of green and orange hues. It reminds you of the first finger painting you did in first grade, the one your mother secretly kept through the years.
Your partner remembered you mentioning orchids once, during a conversation about your favourite colour. The memory is wispy, almost made up. The pink seems brighter in sunlight, much like your cheeks in the nippy air of December, with foggy glasses. You catch yourself falling more in love with your favourite colour. And every time you host a party, the orchids are placed in the middle of the table and you get to retell the story of how your partner remembered you mentioning orchids once.
Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)
The kitchen window always had a plant since you could remember. Month after month, the leaves would turn green from yellow and you would grow an inch taller. The kitchen was renovated, houses changed, but the glass bottle remained; glazed with a thousand layers of time. You haven't grown in almost five years now; you stop to get a glass vase on your way to your new home.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
You've always loved cooking, you come from a family of cooks. The secret ingredient in your pasta grows in your balcony- the greenest leaves, with a distinct, almost peppery smell. 2-3 picked for agliolio, a handful for pesto. The sound of picking leaves reminds you of home, your grandmother watering the tulsi plant, plucking its leaves for her daily kadha. You've started adding basil in her dishes as well.
A first time plant owner and one week worth of research converged at this cactus. You remember the day you walked to the market, like a child going to get their first pet home. You found her a place on your window sill and like a first time parent, you'd check in on her every hour. But she stayed by the window, with a pink beret on her head. You hope she likes her new home.
These flowers remind you of the scorching sun of 4 p.m., your mother sitting on the terrace when she remembers it's time to see her little ones, her favourite bunch of ochre yellow flowers. Her anklets give away the excitement in her steps as she walks to the garden. She speaks to the petals and for a moment, as they sway in the late evening breeze, they seem to enjoy her company. She is now humming her favourite Rafi song.
Hima is a painter and tote artist who enjoys beaches and her evening chai. She is an MBA student and runs two humble stores with all her (he)art.