Friday, March 15, 2013

Tree Hugger

I want to talk about trees today. I was sitting in the backyard in a rocking chair, at about 1600 hrs, this afternoon under this Shirish tree. Which by the way, belongs to the family Fabaceae . I realized what an absolute pleasure it is to just sit under a tree. And since I absolutely suck at all that transcendental stuff, I went back in time to see all the trees I have met growing up. My first favorite tree was a crooked palm tree which grew at an angle of about thirty degrees to the ground. It made an excellent slide and was perhaps the only tree I could climb up for a long time. Then there was a tamarind tree that threw itself over a really deep well in my uncle's farm. It was so inaccessible that it was somehow more enticing. Close by, was a big mango tree. We used to try and swing upside down from it, with our knees locked firmly on the branch. The girls usually got an earful if the group got caught doing that, mostly because we never bothered to change from dresses into trousers before we set out for this adventure. I liked walking down the street to see the Parijat flowers fall on the ground, very early in the morning.  If you collect enough flowers and squish their red stems on your hands, it faintly resembles the color of henna.

And the ugly jackfruit trees we saw as kids on a trip to the beach, in Konkan! I always wondered what kind of desperate circumstances could have led humans to explore the insides of a jackfruit. And how pleasantly they must have been surprised! My grandmother had a special place in her room (and her heart) for Bakul flowers. We used to go to the temple and get strings of bakul flowers and use them as bookmarks. Later I saw these enormous trees in the gardens of the Red Fort in Delhi. Summer always reminds me of the Gulmohars. On those unfortunate days when you have to step out into the scorching sun, an eyeful of Gulmohar can soothe your mind. But the best Gulmohary memories I have are from the Jacaranda lined streets of Brisbane. It was a treat to the eyes to see the streets burst into purple every summer.The road to my school was lined with these Yogi Banyan trees. They were all sacrificed for bigger roads. But they still have a place in my heart. I remember driving under many tree-canopied roads around Kolhapur. It is one of the best kind of journeys. On those kind of roads, it is really easy to forget where you are going.

Uff! And who can forget Frangipani flowers? They used to be my favorite accessories when I played "Seeta in the forest". Gardenia flowers, jasmine flowers thrown into the water pot in summers, and the Jui flowers that covered an entire balcony in the rainy season -- stars holidaying  on earth. Fall in the US was second best only to the sunset in the midwest. I was fascinated by the weeping willows in the first few days of my life in the US.

It is funny how memories too have themes. And sometimes, your life so far flashes in front of your life with a theme. In my everyday life, Tree Hugger wouldn't be the first adjective I would use to describe myself. But all I have to do is sit in a rocking chair and stay away from my phone (except when I need to use Instagram to take that picture). :)

1 comment:

Meera Rao said...

Ah, you made me so nostalgic :)_