Courting trees

Courting trees

There is so much written and said about Bangalore's parks and gardens. But I have hardly read or heard of anything about its lawyers and of their tree-love. Well, Bangalore's lawyers are a blessed creed, I must say. If there is one added bonus for lawyering in Bangalore, then that definitely is the trees in its sprawling court campuses.

My lawyer-friends work impressively in several practice areas and effortlessly interpret the most complex law and legalese. But when it comes to their own work-space, most barely know the first thing about the trees they pass by everyday.   A frangipani or a jacaranda is simply a beautiful tree in their world. An oak or a mahogany maybe only a furniture-shade in their dictionary. Most of them, poor things, are tree blind!!

Over these past several years, when my friends darted between cars and courtrooms, I never resisted the allure of those tall, elegant beauties in the High Court's vicinity. Bauhinias, Jacarandas, Tabebuias, Gulmohurs, Lagerstromias, Millingtonias and countless other varieties offer floral tribute to the High Court almost every season, through the year. Come monsoons and the sweet smelling, creamy white flowers of countless Millingtonia trees carpet the High Court's driveway and bonnets of almost every car parked in its campus.

Warm autumn winds carry a delightful woody scent from the drying leaves of African Tulip trees and Mahogany trees into the court verandahs and fill them with an easy calm. Summer in Bangalore is when the Tabebuias, the Jacarandas and the Lagerstromias burst into bloom. Otherwise non-descript and drab looking, these trees in summer are the pride of the High Court grounds. The mood for court vacations is set when the campus lights up for weeks in vibrant bursts of pink, purple and golden yellow. Lawyers irresistibly click away and send pictures of these appealing sights to their less-fortunate brethren practicing in concrete environs.      

When it comes to trees, the courts in Mayo Hall are definitely not subordinate to the High Court! Tall Frangipanis and Bottlebrush trees lend a striking red and white background to the impressive Mayo Hall building.  The tiny totapuri mango tree that I saw at the gates of Mayo Hall nearly twenty years ago is a mighty giant today. An enormous red-fleshed jackfruit tree keeps cheerful company with the mango tree in the same compound. These two old friends have lovingly welcomed generations of lawyers entering the portals of these courts and continue to lend their cool shade to weary lawyers and litigants.

I often tease my colleagues when they try really hard to identify a tree in the campus. After years of playful taunting, I notice that they have begun giving trees a second look. I have even lent them books and flyers on Bangalore's trees - only in the fond hope that they will soon be as tree-smitten as I am.