No time to stand and stare

No time to stand and stare

There are five trees around my house, Pride of India, in full bloom. The mauvy-pink blossoms are a sight for sore eyes to behold. Right opposite is also a glorious yellow Tabebuia.  On the road are a line of cars at a standstill because of a traffic snarl. The windows are up because of air-conditioning, with people inside sitting in cool comfort. There are also two gyms in the vicinity, in and out which people constantly go. Yet, none stops to admire the flowers.

I keep bemoaning the fact that no one has the time to stand and stare at resplendent nature and enjoy what is for free. Yet this is the season when nature is at its best. The fragrance of jasmine fills the air. Gardens are full of colourful flowers. Cassia, jacaranda and gulmohur line the roads (where trees are still spared!) making a shady canopy.

I stepped out into the compound one morning to feast my eyes on the floral display. Imagine my surprise — a very pleasant one — when I perceived a gentleman with a camera busy clicking pictures of the trees! When he saw me, he asked, “May I?” I was so gratified that I said I would be honoured. He took several shots of the bunches of blooms. Then he took shots of individual flowers and buds. He filmed clusters of leaves and single ones.

He asked me if I had planted them. With great pride, I told him how I had got the saplings, tended them and nurtured them and protected them from stray cows and goats. I told him how I had watered them and saved them from vandals. Once they were big, I had left them to their own devices. Then, I had waited for them to bloom and rejoiced when they did.

One recalcitrant tree posed a problem. It did not put forth flowers. When one tree blooms, the neighbouring ones tend to imitate it (or, that is how I consoled myself). I said to myself that, at least, it provided greenery and shade. And anyway, there were always exceptions. Trees, too, had their individual traits. I had thus resigned myself.

The very next season, I spotted a couple of bud bunches. It seemed to me that the tree was doing so reluctantly and testing my patience. It was, literally, a late bloomer. So I said “Bravo!” to it. For a first time, it was a good effort. After that, the blooms increased with surprising speed. I was delighted and filled with a sense of satisfaction and, not to mention, pride.

The gentleman listened to my narration patiently and offered to take a photo of me against the background of the blooming trees. I said I would be an eye sore and he departed, laughing.