“Around a Medicinal Creeper” is a short story by Indian author Ruskin Bond. Set in the backdrop of the Himalayan mountains, Around A Medicinal Creeper Summary story introduces readers to a young boy named Anil, who is tasked with tending to a valuable medicinal creeper by his grandmother. This narrative explores themes of nature’s healing power, family bonds, and the cultural significance of traditional remedies. Read More 1st PUC English Summaries.
Around a Medicinal Creeper Summary
Around a Medicinal Creeper Summary in English
‘Around a Medicinal Creeper’ by Poornachandra Tejaswi is about an unusual medicinal creeper about which the writer had heard many stories. Though he knew that not all stories were true, he also knew that not all stories were purely imaginary either. In this piece, he narrates various incidents that led to the discovery of the medicinal properties of the creeper. However, he admits that it took him almost twenty years to learn these facts.
The first incident he narrates revolves around the act of putting up a shade over a coffee seedbed to protect it from the sun. The author tells us that Mara, a servant, was annoyed with Sanna, another servant, for plucking a medicinal creeper. On knowing from Sanna that there were many of these creepers in the forest, the writer along with Mara and Sanna went to the forest out of curiosity. There he saw Mara tying the creeper to a nearby tree referring to it a thief. Mara explained his actions by saying that the creeper was cursed by a sage that it wouldn’t be found by people when they needed it and searched for it. The writer counters the story with the explanation that the creeper came up immediately after the rains and died quickly.
Hence, until the next season it was not seen. After offering this explanation, the author laments the fact that even if the creeper has some medicinal property, it would get lost in the tall tales woven around it. The author further points out that this is the fate of the whole system of Indian medicine as people from the medical field are of the opinion that everything about the unique properties of plants and herbs is imaginary.
Elaborating further on why the stories around the creeper seem to be false, the author shares with the readers a few more of Mara’s improbable stories. One is about Mara cutting the artery of his hand while cutting bamboo shoots. Mara told the author that he had bandaged the wound after placing some leaf brought by someone and had then gone to a white man at Hulihindalu for treatment. But, when the white man opened the bandage, there was not even the sign of the wound. The white man, who initially thought that Mara was trying to fool him, was later interested in finding the plant. But, though Mara searched for the plant for an entire day, he could not find the plant. The Englishman who had offered Mara his entire estate in exchange for the identification of the plant was angry with Mara and even threatened to shoot him down. The Englishman thought that Mara was unwilling to show the plant because he was so greedy that the offer of the estate also did not satisfy him.
Mara, who had told the author that every inch of the plant was medicinal, was not sure of what exactly it could cure. The author wondered if Mara hadn’t really known the properties or whether he wasn’t willing to let out the secret. However, the exaggerated element in his stories was such that no one would believe him even if there was truth in his stories. However, Mara had the knack of coming up with one more story when questioned about the authenticity of the previous one.
He avoids the direct questions of the author about the medicinal creeper by narrating another story of the cowcals – crow pheasants – who chewed the leaves of the medicinal creeper to cure themselves of the snake bite.
Mara’s stories were not limited to the miraculous medicinal creeper. The stories had a flip side too. Mara explained the loss of the teeth on one side of his face with another totally cock-and-bull story. He told the author that he had lost his teeth when he had gone hunting rabbits to the forest before daybreak. According to him, when he brushed his teeth with a small stick of a plant, he lost the teeth which had been touched by the stick. The teeth were all from one side because on finding the taste of the plant to be sour, he had thrown the stick away and had gargled his mouth with the water of a nearby stream. When the author asked him to show the plant, Mara argued that it was impossible to find the plant among the thousands of plants.
When the author made fun of him saying if he tried, he might find the plant which would bring back his teeth, Mara counter-argued that in the bargain he might eat something that was not supposed to be eaten and die also. When the author teased him saying that Mara could even find a plant that would bring back his youth, Mara said that he didn’t want to become young as he didn’t want to get married again.
Even after all the teasing and doubting, Mara continued with his stories, making them more and more unrealistic. The author was speechless when Mara told him that a barking deer which had been killed and divided by him and his friends, transformed into a live deer and ran out of the house when the packet made out of the special leaves was removed. Mara added that his wife, without knowing the value of the leaves, threw them into the fire.
Long after the death of Mara, the author came upon the same creeper again. But, this time it was Appanna who was tying the creeper to a tree and his version of the creeper was different. He said that the juice of the leaves of the creeper could harden milk. Initially, the author thought that the sourness of the leaves might have curdled the milk instead of thickening it. But, when he tried it out with his friend Chandru-a plant pathologist-he realised that the milk did become hard and rubbery. It was then that the author was convinced that the creeper had some special qualities. However, he still didn’t know which diseases it could cure.
The author had another revelation after the lapse of some time when his farmhand Krishna came to him. Krishna, who had earlier been healthy, was pale and breathless. He came to know from Krishna that he was passing blood with stool and he suspected it to be piles. When Krishna went to the hospital, the doctors advised him surgery. Krishna was scared of surgery. Moreover, earlier Krishna had been cured of rashes by a Malayali sadhu who had asked Krishna to mix the crushed bark of a tree with duck’s eggs and eat. But, this time the sadhu who had grown old described the plant to Krishna as he had no strength to search for the plant.
Since the description matched the features of the miracle creeper, the author took him to the creeper which Appanna had tied to a tree and Krishna drank the ground tuber of the creeper with milk. He was completely cured in five days. Moreover, the author who had eaten a small piece of the root to see how it tasted, got cured of the pain in his heel. The swelling that had developed next to the bone of the heel for which the surgeon had recommended surgery, also disappeared.
The author, even after the cure, has a few doubts. He wonders whether the cure is coincidental or the effect of the medicinal quality of the plant. Even if it were to be the effect of medicine, he knows that he cannot be sure of which type of swelling would be cured by the creeper. With these questions in mind, the author concedes that Indian medicine, even if effective, suffers from the problem of the native doctors not sharing their knowledge with others because of their fear that if spoken about, the plant would lose its medicinal quality. He avers that this situation has brought India’s native medicinal systems to the verge of extinction.
In conclusion, Ruskin Bond’s “Around a Medicinal Creeper” beautifully illustrates the deep connection between nature and human well-being, showcasing the healing potential of indigenous plants. Around A Medicinal Creeper Summary Notes Pdf story also emphasizes the importance of preserving cultural traditions and the wisdom passed down through generations. Through Anil’s journey, readers are reminded of the invaluable knowledge held within our own environments and the significance of nurturing these natural bonds.