This is a revisited post from 5 years ago. I found this while sorting old documents and while reading I felt very refreshed. Good memories need to be refreshed every now and then. So here is the 'flower'-post revisited:
I was speaking to a friend and said, I feel like writing today...suggest a topic...and he said, why don't you write about flowers ? So here goes...I'm writing about flowers.
Although I'm reasonably fond of flowers, I don't go into raptures over them. I like flowers...different flowers hold different meanings and memories for me...and that is what I'll share today.
I had read somewhere that Carnations are given at death occasions - wakes, on coffins, on graves etc., but they never give me that feeling...I just love Carnations...their cut petals, their shape and different colour combinations.
Dahlia brings back memories of the bungalow we stayed in as soon as we shifted to Pune. It had a huge garden...almost four times the size of the house...and was full of different varieties of flowers...especially a whole lot of Dahlia flowers. I have fond memories of that garden and those Dahlia flowers.
I remember one occasion...there was a huge function organised in hounour of Pt. Jasraj and I was one of the volunteers. It was decided to have a decoration of Marigold flowers...and so about 20 of us sat for hours together making Marigold garlands and decorating the hall. It was hilarious...the whole hall was orange-mango... everywhere around us there were huge heaps of Marigold...and my friend and I were laughing something wicked continuously... and today I don't even remember why. Afterwards the smell didn't leave my hands for hours...it wasn't so funny then !
We were in Mumbai till I was in the 5th standard. We had a ground floor flat and it had a small garden as well. In our garden, there was this Prajakta tree. Although it was quite short, it would be filled with hundreds of flowers...tiny orange stem and delicate white petals. Each day I would pick the flowers from beneath the tree and count as I picked them...I would get tired of counting after 300 !! I love the smell and delicateness of Prajakta.
My maternal grandmother's garden in Pune had a large variety of flowers...right above the gate of the bungalow, there was Madhumalati. It has a mild fragrance...pink and white combination flowers with long stems. We used to take those flowers and make garlands or wreaths. There is a specific way to do this by just intertwining the stems together. It was a fun summer vacation activity. Then there were the Aboli and Gulbakshi flowers...Aboli was delicate and peach in colour (actually, in Marathi, aboli = peach colour!) and Gulbakshi was delicate as well, but was, well, gulbakshi, in colour :) The English equivalent of gulbakshi colour is magenta, I believe. Then there were the closed jaswanda (hibiscus)...light red in colour and the open jaswanda, rich red in colour. My aaji (grandmother) used to take all dried jaswanda flowers and make jaswanda oil for me...its very good for the hair. The flower that I remember the most from aaji's garden is Magnolia..I never knew which flower it was until very recently when I saw a picture on the net and realised that it was the same one from my aaji's garden. As far as I remember, it had a intoxicating fragrance..a bit sharp, a bit sweet.
By default, in all weddings, functions, the Mogra (Jasmine) gajra is given to ladies. In weddings the bride wears a whole lot of Mogra gajras in her hair. When I was little, when given a Mogra gajra, I'd prefer to wear it at the side of my head, perpendicular above my ear...one end fixed in the hair with a pin and the other end left dangling. This would ensure that with each movement, the gajra would come on to the face and I'd smell the fragrance. In fact, I'd move my head at the slightest pretext :))) Today it seems hilarious...it must have looked very funny ! :)
In the month of Shraavan (as per the Hindu lunar calendar), there is this interesting ladies get-together function called haldi-kunkoo. There, along with some seasonal dishes and uselful little gifts, Sonchapha flowers are also given. The stem is short, thick and green and usually has 1 or 2 green leaves. The petals are thickish and golden-yellow in colour...and the fragrance...so sweet..indescribable ! I love to place the Sonchapha flowers in a flat dish with little water...the fragrance fills the room and makes you feel pleasant.
While in college, Gladiola and Rajnigandha were the two flowers I always presented to others on occasions...I really can't tell you why I like those two...I don't really know...but I feel they're like the friends you may meet only once in a while and still feel comfortable with...your friendship is not boisterous...its just warm and reassuring.
In school I'd read "Daffodils" By Wordsworth and I had this strong urge to see daffodils like he had. Then much later in college I read somewhere that from his home he could see a mountain covered with daffodils and that inspired him to write this poem. Nowadays whenever I remember daffodils, the phrase "fields of gold" comes to my mind.
Yet another poem from school is deeply etched in my mind...because it was funny, gave me a sense of "what if not" in a humourous way...The Topsy Turvy World by W. B. Rand (I think)...it painted quite a few queer pictures...one of which was "If Buttercups ate cows" ! I hadn't even seen a picture of a Buttercup, leave alone the actual flower, but this imagery greatly amused me. To date I haven't seen the real flower...just its pictures. Ever since, whenever I think "Buttercups", I think, "If Buttercups ate cows" :)))
In office whenever a colleague celebrates a birthday, we present him/her with a Gerbera flower. I started this custom in office and I insisted that it be a Gerbera flower. I like them a lot. The colours are fresh, rich. They stay fresh for at least a week. Just one Gerbera can liven up a room.
When we first came to Pune we were living in a rented bungalow. Then we moved to our own home in a lane that is open only on one side...the other ends on the hill. It is a log winded lane, with a steep slope and lined with all imaginable trees. Of these, I loved the flowers I call Laburnum (recently somebody told me that, that might not be the real name of these flowers). They are bright yellow in colour...very very sunny...and the most important feature...they hang in bunches like grapes. Really. It looks like a large bunch of bright sunny grapes. Whenever I climb up the lane (yes, the slope is so steep that we have fallen into the habit of saying "climb up/down the lane"), I see them and feel sunshine inside me. Inside our building compound, there is this Gulmohar tree. When we were in school, my brother and I would pick up the fallen buds, open them up and eat the insides !! The peels of the buds we'd stick to our nails and scare each other pretending to be demons :)
Now for the flower that I love the most...Bakul. They look like delicate little beige-brown buttons with cut borders....and the fragrance ? TO DIE FOR ! :) I cannot put in words what I feel about the Bakul.
Phew...turns out I have a lot to share about flowers...I didn't think it would be this long ! :) Well, its a good thing I wrote...I revisited all those old memories, places and am feeling refreshed now :)