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Spring

Posted on: May 18, 2007

If one has observed, one would have seen Spring, as in season spring, all around. (It is another matter that seeing Spring adds a spring to one’s steps).
The last two months, it has been a pleasure observing the trees bloom as one zips by in a bus or any other vehicle. (It is difficult to observe this phenomena from the local trains as there is very little vegetation besides the railway tracks.

Peepul
The first to bloom are the Peepul (Sacred Fig Ficus Religiosa) trees. This is also called the Bo tree (Bo from Sinhalese). There are no flowers that this tree bears, but it is a treat to watch the new leaves come out on this tree. The new leaves are red, bright, shiny, clean, and soft and almost translucent. There is a touch of innocence to its appearance as they are also small as opposed to the green leaves that are already present in the tree. It slowly takes on a light green appearance and then finally matures to the big green leaf. By that time the environment has deposited a layer of dust and grime on it taking out the sheen and brightness and the youthfulness of the leaf. But the few days that the tree is spouting new leaves it is a real treat.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipal)

Laburnum
This tree starts blooming even as the Peepul is sprouting new leaves. This gives off a rich sweet odour and strews the roads with its yellow flowers. It is a pleasure walking along a road which is strewn with these yellow flowers. One still remembers the childhood where one was fortunate enough to live in a colony with quite some greener. Laburnum trees were abundant along a road of the colony and one walked under the shade provided by these trees and at the same time drank in the beauty of the flowers. (One probably did not appreciate the beauty then, but the fact that the these visuals are amply etched into ones memory is an ample proof of the impact this visual had on one’s mind).
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laburnum)

Indian Laburnum
Another tree to spout yellow flowers is the Indian Laburnum. It is used by the Keralites for their Vishu festival. It is a must for the celebrations. (Although it Mumbai these trees seem to flower a little after the festival is past). This tree becomes so abundant with flowers in this season that one can see flowers all over the tree and very little leaves. It is a treat to see these flowers hanging from the tree. If one wishes to observe shades of yellow and green this is the tree to watch out for. It is again a pleasure for the photographers to catch such shades.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassia_fistula)

Gulmohur
The last couple of weeks have been the weeks of Gulmohur or the Flamboyant tree. This tree really sets the scene ablaze with its red-orange flowers (four petals of red/orange and one petal of white). After yellow the road takes a red hue from the flowers of this tree. It is a photographers delight to capture the contrast between the red flower of this tree and the blue sky in the background. (One can similarly capture the Laburnum yellow against the blue sky.)
As a child one used to eat the petals of this tree which has a slight sour taste. One also used to break open the pods of this tree and play a mock fight with the stamens inside. (One could engage two stamens and try and break the head of each other).(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Poinciana)

The clouds have started gathering over the last few days. In the English language the term “gathering of clouds” is considered a ominous sign, but in India gathering of clouds is welcomed. It brings rain that one is desparate for. It brings relief from the searing heat of the sun that has tormented the country for the entire season.
Along with the clouds comes some very beautiful scenes of nature. One should observe the evening sky, just before the sun sets. The interplay of the dark and white clouds and the redness of the setting sun, the sun hiding behind clouds and coming out, the sun lighting the underneath of the clouds as it sets, is natures way of entertaining one. One will not fail to sense the beauty of nature under these circumstances. But as the poet D.H. Henry Davies, has captured very beautifully in his poem Liesure, ” No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,And watch her feet, how they can dance”. That is what the rushed city life has reduced one to.

One has been trying to spend time observing Nature as it goes past in one in the Time continuum, despite living in a hurried, crowded city with its hustle-bustle life-style. Hope one is able to immerse oneself fully in it, not as an escape from life, but as that should be the nature of one.

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