It’s that time of the year again when various spring blossoms cascade down trees lining the avenues of our city and lend it an indescribable loveliness ~ a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. A drive around the city in the months of March-April and the sights of these flowering branches makes you forget that the city also has the dubious distinction of being one of the most polluted in the world. For the last many springs i have harboured this ambition of capturing it all through a camera lens. That desire however, has remained latent for i know that nothing, neither words nor photographs, can truly capture the elation their majesty and stateliness evokes. Be it the flamboyant orange-red blooms of the majestic ‘gulmohar’ trees, the delicate lilac-blue wonders of ‘jacaranda’, the hanging yellow lanterns of ‘amaltas’ or the flame-like flowers of ‘tesu’ ~ one has no superlatives to describe their beauty except for exclaiming ‘oh, i just love that sight!’
The gulmohar derives its name from two words—‘gul’ being urdu for flower and ‘mohr’ is hindi for peacock. The name thus suggesting a spectacular show of colour, like the flamboyant colours of a peacock’s tail! In Bengali they call the flower ‘krishnachura’ meaning crown of Lord Krishna.
The name jacaranda refers to the distinct fragrance of those brilliant clusters of lavender that erupt in spring. As children we had heard that if you are walking underneath the jacaranda tree and one of the blossoms falls on your head, you will be favoured by some good fortune and so many happy hours would be spent waiting for that blossom of luck!
The most uplifting colours have to be those of what is also called the ‘golden shower tree’. It’s a favourite roadside tree and walking along a lane lined with amaltas trees in full bloom is a visual treat like none other!
The ‘flame of the forest’ was a name introduced to us as children by our mother. From her we had heard how those flowers were often used as holi-colours earlier since the trees bloomed around the time of that festival. Rabindranath Tagore immortalised the bloom in many of his songs where he likened its bright orange flame-like flower to fire. (the flower is called ‘palash’ in Bengali). In fact every part of India has a legend associated with this flower. So one was happy to see these blooms lining the approach road of the city’s new airport ~ young trees but laden with these bright orange clusters…a continuation of the colourful spring-blossoms-tradition.
And for a parting word, a quote from Kahlil Gibran~
“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness….”
(all images sourced from the web)