As one drives to Chevella in Ranga Reddy district, 45 kilometers from Hyderabad, 65-year-old Malkaiah Mirjaguda stands out against the dark brown ground and yellow flowers in the background.
Malkaiah has transformed half of his four-acre land into a flower bed because he wanted his land to look beautiful from a distance. He shares, “During the lockdown in 2020 when there was nothing much to do, I got a few farm workers and planted the seeds. I wanted to bring happiness to my land and make the colors cheer people in and around the villages and passers-by on the highway.” Malkaiah replaced groundnut and cotton cultivation in the land with flower cultivation.
Malkaiah admits he could afford the luxury because his employed sons take care of his expenses. One of his two sons is a lawyer and the other works with the Telangana police department. Malkaiah says, “Our sons take care of us. They want me to retire and rest at home, but I cannot think of doing so. I may not need to support my family, but I cannot think of sitting idle or not growing anything on my land. I believe once a farmer, always a farmer.”
On weekends, Malkaiah’s flower patch looks busy as families heading to Chevella for weekend stays or to their respective farmhouses make a pitstop here for selfies and photos. Malkaiah gets busy giving people a tour of the plot. Sometimes he is unable to pay attention to all, but the kind visitors make sure to walk up to Malkaiah, thanking him for the flower garden, some even forcefully pushing money into his pocket as a token of appreciation.
“On weekdays, I see around 50 people. The number multiplies manifold on weekends. Children and women love taking photos next to flowers. Some people extend their photo break and sit down under the shade of this neem tree to simply admire the flowers. Those living in the city, especially children, don’t get to see so many flowers blooming in one place. When people approach to buy flowers, we sell for whatever price they are willing to pay.”
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