I steal but without greed

My friend, retired Brigadier writes, “So it has doubled in 20 days!” Yes, indeed. Many others friends respond. Retired PCCF, Rakesh Shah says, “Congratulations. Pushp ji, take care of your money…” Retired PCCF, Suhas Kumar says, “Wonderful. Enjoy your growing money.” Another retired APCCF, J P Sharma says, “Now you have money and more money…”  Retired Director, Wildlife Institute of India, P R Sinha says, “You have your own inimitable way of putting things in interesting ways!” There are numerous thumps up and tit-bits.

This is in response to my ‘WhatsApp’ post few days back on 12 May 2020 – ‘Hi friends, I have no regrets (of lockdown). See how my money has grown in just 20 days! First photo, I had shared with you (earlier also) is of 23 April and second is of today. Money Plant is just wonderful.’

Incidentally, starting point has been when I realised that I have three Money Plants – all different, unique and photogenic. I share this with my friends on WhatsApp. This too happened a teaser posting –

Weather is good

Air is clean

My money is growing

It’s growing in plants


Yesterday, while I have been strolling in our residence block, and passed Square’s Garden, I see the big-leaf money plant. I stop. There is a flash back. I realise that I need to share this money plant story with you, which is quite dramatic and is a link to above postings.

This all starts in September last year, when I retire from LIFE (in capital letters, not small!).  We always had several plants on our terrace but with limited care by wife, many have disappeared and others became a maze of non-descriptive plants. I decide that now I have time, I am going to make it into a real good garden. Seeds, seedling trays, fertiliser, ten huge bags of new soil, about a score of one-foot high cement pots… I decide it to be DIY (do it yourself) – No Mali (gardener). Initially, changing soil of all the existing plants and preparing many many new ones is quite tough. Me and wife spent hours in Sun, toiling.  Some vegetable plants start growing fast. So have been some flowering plants e.g. Petunia, Marigold, Rose…

Watering and organic fertiliser, and regular nirai & gudai (weeding and tilling soil) do wonder on plants. Soon, it is very cheerful atmosphere in the terrace garden. Can you believe, I start preparing my own organic fertiliser from kitchen vegetable waste! So much so, I do not need to buy fertiliser anymore!

One day, my eye fell on the big leaf money plant in our block’s garden. The bigger ones are the size of full plate! They are beautifully patterned with whitish and yellowish streaks. The plant is really unique. I know that money plant can grow from any part of stem. One does not have to uproot the whole plant to shift it. Nevertheless, it’s a community land, a sort of commons.

I investigate the plant a little closure one afternoon, when people are mostly resting. There are about 50 leaves. The plant is growing and climbing up around a thick stem tree. I notice that if I take an extension stem of three leaves the plant will not get damaged and there would be very little change in appearance. As it is, nobody bothers about the plants in the square but in case anybody is noticed even touching a plant, whole neighbourhood will rise in revolt.


I decide, I am going to steal the identified part of the plant! For about a week, I investigated the neighbourhood. I find that around midnight there is nobody out on the street, the watchman dozes off and almost all the houses are inactive from outside.

On the decided night, all is set. I have already hidden a sharp big knife in a bush near the plant. I do not want to be caught with a knife in the middle of the night! I have kept one flower pot ready with soil, fertiliser and water to receive the booty.

The operation is like a ‘Surgical Strike’. I have not told even my wife about the plan. I am sure she would have raised 10 questions. I tip-toy to the garden. I have never been so quiet in using stairs. As soon as I reach the target, it is a matter of few seconds and I am running back with treasure to the terrace. I am breathless, but in one go finish the job of planting the stem and dashing back to bed. Thank god, no neighbour or my wife notices it.

In the morning, I find the plant fine. I glance at the plant in the square. I notice small change but in general there is no gaping hole. Thank god, the operation has gone so well. Most of you may know, how these neighbourhood ladies are!

Next day my heart sinks to see my new plant – the three beautiful leaves are wrinkling! Maybe, it is too sunny. I pull the plant in shade. I add more water. I know in replanting the leaves wrinkle sometime.

But this appears a tragedy. Another day, all the leaves are dead!! I have to remove them. No point in keeping them. The bare stem, a thick one at that about an inch in diameter, stares at me.

I feel like crying. I feel guilty. I think theft is theft. I curse myself for the mistake.

Nevertheless, looking at the stem, I feel it is healthy. With Corona, came the lockdown and house arrest (I mean confinement). I have all the time in the world. And spend more time with plants.  I keep looking at the stem every day – taking care with regular watering, nirai-gudai, added organic fertiliser… It takes two months for a leaf to start forming. I cannot put in words the happiness on seeing the leaf forming one fine morning. I am happy that my stealing has not gone in vain. Maybe god has pardoned my crime.

Today, I am happy. Money Plant has equivalent of all the major currency notes e.g. Rs 2000, Rs 500 and Rs 100. Sorry no lower denominations! It’s only a plant not a bank!

Pushp Jain