Tuesday, 21 June, 2011

Earth laughs in flowers*...

Look what I found growing in abundance in our back garden! It is what in Bangla we call togor phool. Google calls it the Crepe Jasmine. I love this flower and the mild sweet smell it gives out.

Since this flower grows in abundance where ever it gets a little space, even a city child like me was familiar with it. In my mamarbari (maternal grandparents house) there was a togor gaach/ tree which grew in one part of their uthan/back yard. How I loved the tree and to pick these flowers, since they were within my easy reach and playing with them on lazy summer afternoons when everyone else was taking a siesta. 

Holding a handful of the flowers in our London garden, I smell them and  it takes me right back to my childhood days. My grandmother used this flower to decorate her prayer room. She, my grandmother has moved several houses since then, but that quaint prayer room with its shutters drawn to keep out the scorching sun rays, decorated with flowers and alpona (motifs drawn with rice powder), smelling of flowers and incense floats in my mind's eye. It is as if my mind has opened an old album and memories, old yet vivid in their intensity, tumble out. It feels just like yesterday and not two decades ago that I was a kid who played in that room. The smell, the sound of laughter, indulgent smiles on my grandparents' faces, small feet pattering on the cement floor all come rushing back. I feel cocooned in love and warmth.

A train whooshes by in a gust of wind, rattling the fences, a small bird flies away in fright and my reverie is broken. Memories of childhood fade borne away by the hurrying train and I am left standing in the garden in bright sunlight. The memories linger, leaving a smile on my face.

The tree in our back garden does not belong to us. It is actually our neighbour's tree, but it has made our garden its own by climbing over the fence. Finding the flowers in bloom in our back garden is actually like finding a fragment of my childhood back :-) 

Ever since my brother and cousin sister went back to India, I have been in the grip of a strange lethargy. I function normally, but my heart is not in it. I started at least three blog posts, but finished none. Stumbling upon these flowers made me sit up and smile!

* A quote from "Hamatreya",  Ralph Waldo Emerson