Most of us consider gardening as a hobby. But for a few, it is the source of a new identity and means of income.
Mousumi Mondal from Kolkata is one such person. She has been an avid gardener for the past 27 years and has always loved being around plants.
Her family owned a beautiful garden which, as a child, she nurtured. But due to frequent changes in residence, she couldn’t make something similar for nine years after getting married. Finally, in 1995 when she moved to a new house with a wide courtyard, Mousumi planted a bunch of fruit trees including jackfruit, guava, mango and betel nut. In the middle of these trees, she also grew a few flowering plants.
But a few years later, the trees were cut down to construct a new building which left her devastated. “It made me really sad but on a brighter note I thought as long as I have the passion for gardening, nothing can stop me,” she says to The Better India.
From then on, her gardening approach shifted from the ground to the terrace. Multiple fruits and vegetables like chikoo, star fruit, dragon fruit, brinjal, bitter gourd and beans are seen in the terrace garden. Along with this, she has also planted several types of seasonal flowering plants. In total, there are more than 100 plants in her lush garden.
Since Mousumi has always been a homemaker, she has a lot of time left after the daily chores which are utilised for taking care of the plants. “Even then, there was so much time left in my daily schedule. When my only son left for Murshidabad for work in 2016, I felt so empty. There was a computer in our home but I was not well-versed in it. My son asked me to watch YouTube videos of people from different parts of the world conducting gardening and I felt why not start something similar,” shares Mousumi.
She then decided to start a YouTube channel sharing tips and tricks for gardening. What began with her showing her lovely garden to the viewers turned into landscape design ideas for gardens.
“As I am a Bengali, my Hindi is not so good. Initially, I used to pick up my phone and give a garden tour every now and then speaking Bengali. Without editing a bit, I uploaded those. But people came and commented to speak in Hindi and share tips on certain plant growing. In fact, it is through their constant feedback that I was able to improve my skills in video editing and gardening,” she gushes.
Mousumi, who didn’t know the names of plants in Hindi, started to pick up the language, make interesting DIY decorations with her plants and share them with her audience. Slowly her viewership increased and now she has a group of more than 1 lakh followers on the platform.
“Even my family members were surprised to know that I am earning from YouTube. Initially, all of them found it a silly hobby. I spent almost two years perfecting my video-making/editing skills and learning the language. But the positive comments and income encouraged me to make videos regularly,” shares the content creator.
Mousumi also shares that even though this is a good source of income, it takes a lot of effort to come up with interesting content that people love. “It takes hours to deck up the garden and for shooting videos, lighting is very important. Thus, everything should be done in the daytime itself. I manage the whole process alone, from taking care of the plants to uploading the video. It is tiring but so satisfying for the plant lover in me.
Today, the gardener’s greatest support are her grandchildren who frequently appear in her videos too. She also teaches them gardening techniques which the kids love doing with their grandmother.
Read the story in Hindi here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao