CHENNAI: What do you want to do at the age of 80? Spending time in prayer and remembering the good old times with a sigh of despair? Not if you are a lover of nature and seek to provide some refreshing air to your neighbourhood, says 80-year-old Premeela Madhusoodhan, who has splendid greenery maintained in Shankarapuram. She claims that it is not a hazardous task to maintain a garden of your own at an old age like hers, if you love what you do. “As a lover of nature, I’m fond of the garden. It gives me enormous joy to walk through the different colours.”
Madhusoodhan, a native of Tippagondanahalli, was married to C S Madhusoodhan and was brought to Shankar Nagar at a very young age. She inherited the love for the garden from her father-in-law, who had a soothing variety of trees in the courtyard. “My father-in-law built this house and planted a thamala in front of the house. Ever since, people began to identify our house with the tree. I have tried to continue his legacy by allowing the trees to grow in the garden,” says the veteran gardener, looking at a strong foliage in front of the house. Her garden contains five trees which she allowed to grow and a variety of roses and therapeutic plants whose fragrance elevate your soul to a different level.
Being a sportsperson at a very young age, she realised the importance of running in the fresh morning air. “I used to practice at Lalbagh when there were only a few people around. The air was fresh and rejuvenating. But now it has become a memory. By planting more trees and nurturing my garden, I’m trying to give back what I have received during my childhood.”
Madhusoodhan had won residents’ association awards for homely gardens and flowering. Besides being a gardener, she was a also a cricketer, badminton player and a sprinter.
Enjoying a quiet life with her son M Thilak in Shankar Matt, the nature lover is an encyclopedia of therapeutic plants and leafs.
The neighbours are the immediate beneficiaries of her love for the nature. They are thankful to her contribution for the past 25 years in keeping the neighborhood clean and refreshing.
“Our neighbourhood is grateful to Madhusoodhan for her love for the garden. It has helped us with fresh air and we don’t want to vacate the house because of this greenery,” says Kamalakumari, her immediate neighbour.