From Me to You: The Last Rose


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The last rose standing as winter approaches

The last rose standing as winter approaches Photo: Lavina Melwani


From Me to You:

The Last Rose Standing

If O. Henry had the ‘The Last Leaf’, that lovely short story about how the stubborn last leaf on a barren wintry tree convinced a sickly young woman to be resilient and recover from her illness, I have ‘the last rose’ in my backyard. And while the last leaf was an illusion, a leaf painted on a withered tree by the girl’s sweetheart to give her hope, my red rose is very real, soft velvety petals deliciously bundled together.

Every year it’s a blazing riot of red roses in my backyard but by the end of October, they all wither and die, bowing to the inevitable coming of a harsh New York winter. The rose season actually has got over but no one seems to have informed the poor deluded red rosebud. In a bush of dying leaves and shriveled rose petals, it has suddenly shot up, bright and radiant, oblivious of the  callous winter and the screaming, whistling winds.

So while we all reluctantly put away our summer sandals and tank tops, our flip-flops and our sunshades and learned to dress like grownups in staid coats, mufflers and hats, and the troops of roses dutifully departed for the year, this wild little rosebud moves in the wind like a lone, intoxicated dancer. I like to think it’s tipsy on life, tipsy for adventure. As winter engulfs New York, this defiant rosebud facing the elements somehow cheered me up, made me happy.

The battle of the snow and the last rose

The battle of the snow and the last rose  Photo: Lavina Melwani

Then came the first snowfall of the season and people huddled at home or braved the white stuff swathed in coats and scarves. I glanced out anxiously at the lone rosebud which had begun flowering just a few days ago. The snowflakes became bigger and bigger and were now covering that little blob of red. I was getting a little paranoid – it was as if I had sent my pre-schooler out without a jacket! Would the rose be able to survive?

Finally as the snow got heavier, I went out bundled in my jacket and covered the rose in a plastic sandwich bag and secured it with a tie. Now let the winds rage and the snow fall!

A plastic snowcoat for the rose

A plastic snow coat for the rose  Photo: Lavina Melwani

The next morning, the snow had subsided, though everything was still carpeted in white. I gingerly removed the plastic cover – the rose was safe! The branches of the bush were drooping but by the end of the day the rose was sprightly and facing skywards once again.

A true survivor.

I don’t know how long it will last – after all, roses can’t live forever. But this spunky rose has made me remember a truth that we often choose to forget: our time on earth is fleeting and we must spread as much beauty, as much happiness as we can in the time allotted to us…


Sharing its beauty for the days of its life

Sharing its beauty for all the days of its life  Photo: Lavina Melwani


About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!


  1. What an eloquent piece about winter’s early sharp approach with just the right photos accompanying. Blogging is indeed a solitary act with often too few views and comments, but here your writing’s longing, feelings, tact lingering over the wistful details of the frozen fate coming near, embracing the feelings which are uniquely NYC, and a call to the universal epiphany that is winter’s approach are superb to witness, so thank you for writing and sharing.

  2. Deepak Sethi via Facebook on

    Deepak Sethi via Facebook
    Inspiring story. The lesson I got was to not give up and also to rise above much like the lotus – above the negative environment and circumstances of our birth! Thanks! Please keep writing

  3. Yoshita Singh via Facebook on

    Yoshita Singh via Facebook

    What a lovely story, heartwarming and inspiring. Here’s to the rose

  4. Manisha Bhushan via Facebook on

    Manisha Bhushan via Facebook

    Nice effort taken…to express the joy of saving a tiny life from such adverse climatic condition…this no doubt sustains the ray of hope that we all should have…. to survive, no matter what challenges we face!!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. My takeaways from your beautifully written piece….
    1. lessons learnt from life around us …plant, animal…. are truly inspiring
    2. wish more humans were like you and would respect other life forms on this planet and treat it with such TLC….would it not be heaven on earth!!

  6. You’re so right, Dina. We do have to share and nurture this small planet of ours, and if we look around there is so much to be learned from those around us. I am happy to report that the rose is still flourishing, even after a second snowfall, spreading its brightness in the snowscape!

  7. Lavina – I truly enjoyed your thought provoking piece on nurturing nature! Glad to hear that the rose is still flourishing – just goes to teach us life lessons on preservation with care – a little TLC goes a long way!!
    I always enjoy reading your blog! Great writing.