An Affordable Gift …..


Every girl deserves flowers. The first time I gave a flower to a sweet girl was at the age of 11. I was in the middle of school vacation and we were staying at my mother’s parental house in Fort Cochin. This Anglo-Indian girl, almost my age, is the sister of one of my friends.


She had shown great interest in me over the last one month when I saw her inadvertently at my friend’s house or when we hung out at the beach, though I didn’t have the nerve to utter a word other than smile back at her. I had spent hours imagining intimate conversations with her but when it actually happened, it was she who took the bull by the horn and spelled out that she liked me. El amor!!


A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul. It brought me a touch of self-confidence charged with energy, enthusiasm – and more sensitivity. It also made me want to show her that she’s not just someone inconspicuous. Giving heeds to the whispers of my heart, I decided to give her a “special something”. But what could I give? The only thing that my student’s pocket could afford at that age was what the groundnuts (peanuts) seller sold by the beach.


It was on a Sunday evening when a friend suggested that he could help with the idea of flowers. Though only three years older than me, he appeared ingenious – a bit “learned” in such subjects. By the following Monday afternoon, my Mom was looking for a white rose that had suddenly gone missing from our garden. (If she remembers, that riddle will be cleared to her now with this post. Alright, Mom, my cell phone is switched on)

5-rose Mandarin

It is generally held that a red rose is a symbol of love – but the one available to me at that time was white. Later on I came to know that a white rose is nothing short of remarkable. A single white rose is a hopeful sign and means that the giver’s heart is innocent and hasn’t yet known love. That has to be true!

6-roses Mandarin

Well, the girl was over the moon when she received that “Oh, It’s-soooo-lovely” flower. It opened several buds of flowers of happiness in me, too. Then again, that teeny adoration fizzled out over time as we both moved on with our studies and lives. Even so, that white rose planted in me the first seeds of the significance of flowers.

Flowers will die, but the fragrance and memories they sometimes leave behind has a lasting quality. Jo

7 Ring-Roses

Pictures (from top)

1.. “Special Thanks” of Manningtree Archive to the “models” of our main title picture.

2.. On the premises of St Mary Abbots Parish Church, London

3.. At Blumenmarkt (Flower Market), Remigiusplatz, Bonn, Germany

4.. At Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok, Thailand

5 & 6.. Floral display at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok

7.. “Ring a Ring a Roses” by Myles Birket Foster (1825–1899) – Source: Bonhams /

8.. On Calle Floridablanca in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, Spain


 (© Manningtree Archive)

25 thoughts on “An Affordable Gift …..

  1. What a beautiful post Jo! How sweet and innocent children are. No wonder God says, heaven is such as these. I too love flowers. My hubby has always bought me roses. And even though I much prefer buttercream colored ones he insists on those deep red ones. So some of the time I get both. 🙂

    Loved this post Jo. Especially that very true last quote. Thanks for sharing you precious memory with us.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. I now prefer white or buttercream coloured tulips which my wife adores. Those preferred tulips are hard to find in our place. Earlier, tulips were mostly imported to India from Holland. But that has changed with the introduction of tulip garden in Kashmir. Whenever we are in Europe or England, our rooms are mainly adorned with tulips. This is now possible in Bangkok also since there is a tulip farm in Bangkok. By the way, one of the Thai massages is known as “Tulip massage”. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and to your family. 🙂

  2. A wonderful post!!! Memories are there to remind us that love and compassion give joy to our lives.

    “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

  3. Joseph – A beautiful and tender post. I honestly prefer all white flowers and have a 1/2 acre garden with all white flowers in it, everything from roses to bulbs, and perennials dancing in the breeze. I actually believe it’s one of the most impressive gardens I’ve created. Time passes many generations but no one can suppress the elegance of white roses (heritage or modern).

    • Hi Sheri, thanks. How wonderful that you have lovely garden – and so big. Maybe we get to see some pictures of its beauty in the future. We had a well-tended garden in England. But with our current apartments situated on the 6th and 7th floors, our love for a garden full of plants and flowers could find its fulfilment only on the terraces.

      You are right. It has to be the elegance of the white roses that inspired someone to quote “white roses remind us of the dazzling beauty of creation”….

  4. Love this post. I’ll bet that woman still remembers the first time she got flowers from a boy and still smikes whenever she thinks of it. I actually like white roses — much prefer them to red.

  5. I visited a few days ago and had to hurriedly leave without leaving a comment.
    Jo, your posts are always a joy to read. I have a similar reaction when receiving flowers (any flowers). I know the thought behind them is real…

  6. You already had a high sensitivity and you have quickly realized how fun with flowers.
    Thanks Jo, this is a touching story accompanied by these beautiful flowers.
    There is still some perfume in the hand that gives flowers,
    I love red and white roses.
    Have a nice evening !

  7. Fie ca sfanta sarbatoare a invierii domnului sa-ti aduca cele 4 taine divine: incredere, lumina, iubire, speranta. Clipe de neuitat alaturi de cei dragi si numai realizari! O seara binecuvanata alaturi de familie!
    May the holy feast of the Resurrection bring you divine mysteries 4: reliable, light, love, hope. Unforgettable moments with your loved ones and only achievements! An evening with family blessings!

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