This Delhi summer has me doing most of my household chores in the buff. Not a kink, I assure you. If a healthy stance against marinating in sticky, salty, sweat soaked clothing is a fetish, then call it that. It all reached a sort of mad climax last Sunday. I had to convince myself, over a pint of the coldest beer, to seriously tend to my beloved garden, my little oasis of peace, which was almost giving up on me, protesting against my blatant neglect and the pathetically small amount of time I now cared to step outside.
Half an hour later, equipped with my most efficient shears and the surest trowel I own, I stepped outside. Sans garments. With a hosepipe handy, I admit that it was quite the experience. I did not hesitate to take regular showers even in the midst of my digging, and trimming and repotting, and thank heavens for that, because I still emerged into my home a couple of hours later, feeling a little woozy from the heat, but still quite intact. I was not sure exactly which of my urban friends would relate to this, and quickly took to the internet, to find that I had just accidentally, and quite organically (haha), joined a huge community in the world who had just celebrated World Naked Gardening Day.
First introduced into practice by nudist advocate Mark Storey, World Naked Gardening day was introduced so people could take a day out “to tend their portion of the world’s garden unclothed as nature intended”, the official website declares. That’s where the event’s institutional associations end, however, as World Gardening Day is not owned by any particular organization, and has become a diffuse but popular phenomenon throughout the world. People celebrate the event both in public, or in the private confines of their home, so please banish all mental images of a militant gathering of nudists that get down and dirty in the middle or suburban America.
The very fact that the event has caught on so well after it was first observed by a small group of organisers and supporters on September 10, 2005, goes to show how natural it feels to garden in the buff, gardening being the activity people are second most comfortable doing in the buff, the first being swimming.
It all makes sense, really, and Storey really hit the right note, it seems, when he called on people all over the world to garden in the cool confines of nature to breed a wholesome acceptance of the body. And hey, you have to admit, it’s so much less laundry to do. The event is celebrated annually on the first saturday of May, to coincide with International Permaculture Day, which falls on the first sunday of May. Another reason that all of it makes so much sense is the fact that this serves as a sort of spring cleaning for your garden- trimming, and tending plants at this time of the year helps boost growth in the warm and humid spring and summer months.
While I’m still a bit iffy about the concept of naked cycling (World Naked Bike Ride, one of Storey’s more successful campaigns that gained widespread popularity, inspiring World Naked Gardening Day), two thumbs up to gardening in the buff!