Enchanting Gardens


In this the 25th year of my father’s passing away, I remember the amazing garden he nurtured in Athi River, Kenya, now a million years ago, it seems.  As kids we enjoyed walking through his veggie patch, showing it off to our visitors and seeing the marvel of growing beans, cucumbers, spinach and so much more.  The indelible picture of Papaji tending to the patch of land around our bungalow with gusto, is etched in my memory.

‘Personal’ gardens often come to the fore in our minds, enchanting our present with the love we’ve experienced in the past. 

My Aunt’s garden in Nairobi South, Kenya is another unforgettable childhood memory.  The most beautiful, big, red roses greeted us at the front entrance of Mamiji’s home, whilst a vigorous passion-fruit vine adorned the car port which led to a yard lined with paw paw trees around the back fence.  A garden in which we played ‘house games’ for hours on end whilst our Aunt looked after Mum at the birth of our youngest sibling.

Gardens made so much more enchanting because of the love that flowed out to us from the gardener.  

‘Dadirri’ for Australia Day

Miriam-Rose’s story for ‘Celebrate Australia Day’   reflects on the vast open garden of her hometown in the Daly River region in Northern Territory, Australia and points out the importance of ‘inner deep listening and quiet still awareness’ also known as ‘Dadirri’.

‘When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening.’

I am strong ….

Enchanting, ‘personal’ gardens! – our life-line in the most difficult and isolating times.  

Walking into 2021, a year that spells yet another phase of the pandemic challenge of vaccines, quarantines and lockdowns, may we be filled with the fruits of our chosen ‘enchanted gardens’ – fruits of love, joy and peace.

…. I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas….

lyrics by Josh Groban

To heal, we must remember

President Joe Biden January 2021

Communication is King

The Key That Spells Life

From our very first breath, it seems, the push to communicate is uppermost in our minds.  With little baby whimpers, frantic gestures for comfort and a feed, and with eyes that dart around looking for mum’s assurance, we move on to eventual vocal or kinetic connection with people around us.  

Communication is the key that spells life for us from the get go, and we latch on to that key pretty quickly.  If our voice fails to deliver the required discernible sounds, then other features like our eyes, hands and finger signing take over. How skilled and highly equipped is the body!! 

This key characteristic, however, has fallen under major challenges, bumps and breakdowns rendering whole sections of society disadvantaged from mainstream activities. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. So let’s have a peek at just two instances where a disconnect of communication skills has necessitated amazing technological and other resolves.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

PSP – ever heard of this neurological ailment? Currently as many as 1300 Australians have been diagnosed with this condition ‘affecting parts of the brain that control walking, eye movements, balance, speech and swallowing’ 1.

A relatively unknown condition, doctors have only of recent years been able to diagnose this progressively deteriorating ailment as being separate from Parkinson’s disease. Therapies of different kinds, such as physio and speech therapies, provide sufferers with forms of communication that push against the regression of neurogenic communicative skills . The added development of Apps 2 that help with this bring in another layer of verbal/typed interaction boosting the sufferer’s morale and self-confidence.  

Jay in Newcastle, Australia with the support of his loving wife and family, has tried for many years to push against the PSP regression with such therapies. The incentive and encouragement these therapies bring can never be underestimated.

Non-verbal Autism & RPM

Autism is another condition of ‘disconnect’ and the spectrum is as varied as the individuals themselves. Siri who lives in San Francisco, USA, is on the non-verbal autism spectrum for whom speech therapy, using the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)3 coupled with related apps, was a game changer.


Her quest to communicate with discernible speech markers is a long road ahead, but one that Siri is determined to pursue doggedly, with the love of her supportive family.  Siri also has the added challenge of Apraxia, which is a disconnect of body and brain.

The documentary, ‘My Name is Siri4 was directed by Sarah Moshman and produced by my daughter, Asha Dahya, and will be aired on US TV channel, PBS, on 1st May 2023. It records Siri’s amazing determination to work past her limitations.

Jay and Siri represent the thousands, if not millions, around the world for whom everyday is a climb in their quest for a better form of communication in their special set of challenges. The covid years, of course, brought another layer of isolation which they had to contend with.

Communication, indeed, is King and the driving force of, as well as a push into, all our life matters.

A Special Prayer

Oh God of Heaven and Earth, we pray for each and every brave soul that struggles with their particular set of challenges in communication. Lord please help them in gaining the tools required and grant them the peace and comfort of knowing that they can ‘connect’ with you, deep within their beings, in the midst of all their struggles.  Amen. 🙏🏼

1 PSP Australia – Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Support Group

2 12 Apps That Help People with Speech and Communication – HCBS | Home Community Based Services

3 An interview with Soma Mukhopadhyay, pioneer of rapid prompting method (RPM) » NeuroClastic

4 https://www.mynameissiri.com/

Another Strange Year

A Delicate Flower

2022 was another strange year, emerging from bizarre ‘lockdowns, ever-evolving vaccines and much political mayhem’, affecting our lifestyles from the grassroots up.

Like a delicate flower opening tenderly in the dawn of the day, we, too, unfurled and visited loved ones far across the seas. Joy no longer strangled, we laughed as we hugged each other once again. Air travel, after a long woeful silence, had now fired up its jets on a global scale.

Challenges, Happiness and Sorrow

Challenges, happiness, grief and sorrow, laughter all came into the mix after the COVID years, propelling us towards the end of this strange year, now concluding with rumours of 4th waves, more boosters, more political dramas, but more hope, love and charity as well ….

For our extended family spread across the globe, sadly the year ended as it began – paying tribute to yet another much loved young, adult child from our midst.  A gentle giant and the eldest amongst the maternal cousins of that generation, he was laid to rest with tears and much sorrow. 

Free from the many layers of this strange year, may he, too, now ‘be shining like a jewel in the sky’. 

Hope Spreads Its Wings

Another day dawns. 

A rainbow glows in the sky after the weeping of tears, and hope spreads its wings for tomorrow.  

We rejoice quietly in our hearts, individually as well as collectively. 

Here’s to a wonderful, hope-filled, joyful Christmas with loved ones and a very Happy New Year.

‘I am not what happened to me,

I am what I choose to become.’

Carl Jung