(Tara Jauhar:) “And she said, ‘Now what will you do?’ And I said, ‘Mother, let's do the book of flowers.’ And she was happy. So that was the last thing that she did. Every day I was taking flowers to her. She said, ‘I will not write anything with [only] a picture. You have to bring me the flowers, if you want me to write.’
So every day, all my morning used to go through the gardens collecting those flowers; and I would take them up to her in the evening. And she would write the commentary. And if you look in the flower book, there is a commentary (short commentary). But she wrote every day the commentary. And several flowers: ten, twelve flowers a day. That is how we did.
Because she would not do without – there were many flowers, which she had given the names while in Europe. They didn't exist in Pondicherry. And the Ashram gardeners started growing them in the refrigerator. (Laughter) And they succeeded! They succeeded with quite a number of flowers they grew in the refrigerator; so I could take the real flowers to Mother.
And then also some people brought the flowers when they were coming. On the same day, they would give it to me, and I would take it to Mother.
So this way, the book (which has I don't know how many, maybe a thousand, flowers)... and that remained inside. So wherever I go, I don't see India, the houses and roads; I look at flowers. So I never remember any road. (Laughter)
- Who did the photos of the flowers?
Who did the photos? So, I used to go take the prints to Mother; and there were many questions: ‘Mother, there is this flower that has so many colours, what will be the different names of the colours?’... and all that. And she would give. And I would come down her... I also had my own notebook, in which I used to note the questions and answers. (Which were not in what Mother wrote.) These would go to the two Richards: Narad (Richard Eggenberger), and Richard Pearson. They were working together on the botanical names, and on the common names. So every day, they would sit and do the work, and if they had any questions, they would give it to me, and I would again ask Mother.
So when the book was being printed, the first print we requested Jayantilal to help. He was the main artist for publication of books in those days. He started the Archives also. So when we went to Jayantilal-da, he said, ‘No, we will not put pictures, we will put drawings.’ And then he got somebody – I don't remember who it was – somebody to do the drawings. And the book was published several years later. After Mother finished. A few years it took to get the book, first published with those (gesture of drawing) things.
And many people were not happy; they could not recognize the flowers form the sketches. So then the big book was designed by the two Richards, again, and it was printed – I think the first one was printed in Singapore. And that is also out of print; now they are working on another one. A little bit improved edition they are working on, just now.”