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Ms. Diksha Suri: A Multitasking Gardener

Garden Story of Diksha Suri

Everything we look around us is a beautiful phenomenon titled “nature”. Nature itself is the best physician. Through nature, we obtain all the necessary resources for human well-being. Nature is an essential bridge between living things and non-living things. So, isn’t our duty to conserve nature for a healthy life? We all know that if we do not take responsibility and attend to the issues raised in our environment, then that day is not so far when life on earth would seem unfathomable.

To shape our life more healthily, today I will introduce you to an enterprising woman with a green thumb

A resident of Chandigarh, she has initiated, led and participated in a wide array of domains with a rich experience in multi-domains from education to designing to healthcare. With varied roles of wellness educator, heading the textile design department in a design college, training faculties, conducting workshops for different age groups, leading CSR activities. Moreover, she is also the Co-founder of the 1st Nature Club in Chandigarh that has touched the lives of more than 300 kids and adults at an intrinsic level. Here’s a fascinating story of a gardener who never stops learning and exploring new things about nature.

Ms. Diksha Suri

Diksha suri says, "To live life to its fullest, an everyday connect with nature and outdoor activities is imperative. It rejuvenates and heals the body, mind and spirit".

Like many people facing seasonal allergies especially during spring and autumn months, she was also suffering from these for more than a decade. In spite of consulting many doctors, she could only find suppressants and inhalers to give temporary relief. Seeking solutions for a cure led her to some great mentors in the field of Yoga and Natural Healing. Starting the day with yoga, consistently and with discipline, slowly started bringing a shift in her quality of life. Few dietary changes and soon she realized she didn’t need any inhalers or anti-allergy medicines. This was so empowering and she decided to deepen her knowledge by studying more about it and got her professional training as a certified yoga trainer and natural health.

She said, “Nature is a tool to get children to experience, not just the wider world, but themselves.”
Ms. Diksha Suri Trees

Motherhood opened a whole new window for her. Deciding to go on a brief sabbatical from the hectic work routine, she chose to completely enjoy this journey with her child. This led to the birth of the 1st nature club in tricity for kids and mothers. With like-minded mothers, sometimes father, too, a plethora of outdoor activities were conducted throughout the year. Done totally in a fun-filled manner, these ranged from experts taking the kids for fossil digging, star gazing. Also, to field trips to hunting for bugs in monsoon, nature walks, kite flying, farm visits and scavenger hunts at organic market.

Quoting Sadhguru, she said, “With wrong farming methods, we turn fertile land into desert. Unless we turn to organic farming and save the soil, there is no future.”

What had started as a mere hobby of gardening 25 years ago, graduated to a serious note of sustainable living practices. Some lessons in organic farming and home-composting and she started on a journey of growing organic produce 10 years ago. The organic market in Chandigarh has been a constant support to encourage and help her. Regular interaction with the farmers keeps her motivated to continue on this path.

Diksha remarks smilingly, “There is no better way to get a child interested in eating vegetables as getting them interested in growing vegetables.”

She takes delight in growing a variety of fruit trees like Mango of 2-3 varieties, Litchi, Lemon, Guava, Tangerine, Kinnow, Karonda along with seasonal vegetables like Lettuce, Fenugreek, Bok-choy, Spinach, Corriander, Sarso, Okra, Brinjal, chilly, Broccoli, Potato, Turmeric, Garlic and medicinal plants and some herbs like Mint, Parsley, Lemongrass, Chives and Basil.

She has around 15 vegetable beds growing healthily in one part of her garden while the other side is adorned with seasonal blooms complimenting the well-maintained lawn. The vegetable produce is not only enough for her family but many a times, is shared with family and friends, too.

She said, “I faced various problems initially when I switched to organic farming.”

The conventional mindset of the city maalis is not easy to change. There was resistance from her support staff initially when she did not allow any chemical spray to continue. Instead, she started using all natural remedies like heeng water, neem leaves, khatti lassi(buttermilk) etc to manage the pests. She also started collecting dry leaves and wet kitchen waste make compost in a pit. The dry leaves made the perfect mulch for her vegetable beds, though it did change the appearance of a well-manicured bed to a naturally blooming environ. Patience and perseverance finally started showing results. After 2 years, her own staff was not only helping her but also asking for compost and vegetables to take back for their families.

“The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living-in hands on experiential learning, in exploring and in active relationship with life.”

There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. She believes in kinaesthetic learning and her backyard was a perfect den for the experiments. Be it a play date for kids or kids and keen mothers wanting to learn and participate in these activities, her garden can boast of many happy sounds nurturing the soil and greens. During the lockdown, she conducted online virtual tours of her garden to teach kids of middle schools how to make rich compost at home. So, it is done by using all the wet kitchen waste and not throwing it in the landfill.

She said, “Its delightful to be able to make pure and authentic products out of the herbs and spices growing in one’s garden”.

The quality and colour of homemade turmeric powder is so different from the market ones. Just a pinch is enough to do the magic in your dishes. Apart from the fresh produce, Diksha also preserves them by making Marmalades from tangerines, Turmeric powder, Kasuri methi, lemongrass powder Mint powder and Heena powder. Her family is very fond of homemade marmalades, made without any preservatives.

She states, “Compost is a proof that there is life after death. No matter how small a garden, you must provide for a compost pit or container. What comes from soil, should go back to soil!”

Information is like compost; it does no good unless you spread it around. True to this statement, she shares and spreads this information to young and old, schools and corporates. Bringing communities together to reap in the joys and benefits of growing chemical free food, of creating black gold to make plants healthier. Additionally, reducing the landfill in our city and to leave a liveable planet for our kids.

Since the lockdown, she started conducting online and offline workshops for kids and adults on Holistic Health to promote awareness about building immunity, and imbibing simple tools for a calm and healthy lifestyle. 

Under the able guidance of her 80-year-old mentor from USA, and with her certifications of yoga trainer and healer in natural health. She even applied these on herself and her family and they were able to recover without taking any medicines. Also, felt even more energetic after a week. She feels that by believing in the immense power of healing mechanisms of nature and by applying these principles, we can give our immune system a chance to grow stronger.

Summing up, she quotes our prime minister Modi ji, “Yoga has spread harmony between man and nature. It is a holistic approach to health and well-being.”