The Story Behind My Giloy Amrita Plants- The Plant of Immortality- Tinospora cordifolia
As soon as I saw the Giloy cuttings are available on the Facebook marketplace near me, I got excited. It is one of the popular herbs nowadays that is trending. And why not, after all it is called Amrita, the plant that can make you immortal with its magical effects. such as, immunity boosting power, a natural medicine against various viral infections, ability to cure malaria, blood sugar lowering abilities, heart muscle protector, a liver medicine, ulcer healing abilities, fever reducer, and the list goes on. If you have explored my YouTube channel Seed to Life before then you might know my passion for exploring herbs and medicinal plants, their history, and finding out how they can be used to improve our overall health. During pandemic just like other natural immune boosters, Giloy also has become a celebrity herb. Proudly, it is occupying the spots on the shelves of the giant superstores.
If you are a plant collector then you would understand the excitement of getting your hands on such a popular plant. I immediately messaged the seller if the cuttings were still available. They were not very expensive but the location was almost 45 minutes away from my house. The seller, Jaypal (not the real name) was a decent looking single man in his middle ages. Before going to a stranger’s house, I checked out his profile. He looked like a gentleman with interests in gardening and painting. On his public profile he had posted a picture of his gardening artwork, a pear tree with five different varieties grafted on it. The short tree was loaded with tons of beautiful pears. I decided to go there, as I don’t miss a chance to explore people’s gardens wherever I can. I convinced my husband and we decided to pick up those cuttings that weekend.
On that weekend, we left to pick up the cuttings. There was going to be a severe thunderstorm that afternoon. We had to get back home before that. Before leaving we also made sure that the community is safe to go to. Yes, I do this and everyone should do this before going to some stranger’s house. We reached there on time and were sitting in the car deciding whether it was safe to go to that house. There was one weak, old man; possibly in his seventies, working in the front yard. He was Indian, with long gray hair tied in a ponytail. He was expecting us. He waved at us. We were surprised to see him because the picture on Facebook page must be about 20 years older than his current age.
He was Jaypal, a veteran artist. He asked us to follow him to his house. We had already discussed that we will ask him to get the cuttings outside. But, he just kept on insisting us to go to the backyard through his house. We were wondering how he could let two total strangers into his house. We reluctantly entered his tiny home.
As soon as we stepped in, a tiny old Shi-tzu dog came running towards us and started barking in excitement. His dirty yellow sharp teeth and overgrown messy hair, showed that he badly needed grooming. We love animals and had them as pets when we were kids but now we are not comfortable around them since we don’t have a dog.
I thought Jaypal would take the dog away but he didn’t seem to care about our discomfort. He offered us something to drink which we denied politely. Then he pointed at his painting on the wall and started talking about himself; how he came to the US from Canada and was married to an American woman. He offered to show us his other paintings and handmade wind instruments. It felt like he had been alone for a long time. Old and alone, because he had lost his beautiful wife, his stepson and daughter-in-law in recent years, probably during Covid. We were not scared of Jaypal anymore. He was being so clingy because he was very lonely and wanted to talk to someone. The dog was pestering us all this time and wouldn’t stop barking. He also wanted to talk, I guess. Suddenly in the middle of that small living room, we felt that it could be anybody’s future.
Witnessing the loneliness of old age, sank my heart. There was so much sadness in that room that I can’t express it in words. Jaypal’s house was well-kept but completely soulless. My husband managed to convince him to show the cuttings first and we promised to look at his paintings later. He showed us around his tiny backyard. Because of old age, he had only a few plants but he was trying to keep everything neat. In his backyard, I could see the remnants of his old life. We talked with him for some time and tried to leave but he just tried his best to keep us there longer. Not that we were able to comfort his sad heart but still he didn’t want us to leave. Finally, we decided to spend some more time with him.
After picking out the good cuttings, Jaypal took us in the house again and took out a big photo album. He showed us his family pictures and his happy memories. As an artist he had won several awards. He makes sketches of all the Presidents and sends them to the White House. He proudly showed us the thank you letters from the White House. He shared with us how his wife had inspired him to be an artist. They must have loved each other dearly, one can easily tell that the way he was talking about her. Finally we couldn’t wait anymore. The storm was coming and we had to head back home to our children. Both the dog and Jaypal were happy that we were there. The little old dog was the only companion that he had and they both were depressed. Very graciously, he gifted us a huge print of his own painting signed by him. The painting was not our style and had no use for us. But, it made him alive for a few seconds. We took pictures with him and left the house.
Jaypal showed us how life can turn upside down. Once a loved and respected gentleman was living a very isolated life. The magical plant of immortality was in his garden but that purposeless immortality was making him miserable. He is a brave person who is not giving up after losing all his loved ones. He is trying to find some purpose in his empty life through gardening. At least selling cuttings of Amrita, were bringing few moments of human interaction in Jayapal's life. While coming back home our hearts were filled with gratitude for every moment that we can spend with each other, our children, our parents, and each and every person in our lives.