Friday, March 08, 2013
The Beautiful Gulmohar in all it's blazing Glory
Ritu's Chemo backlash has subsided and we are now getting to resume some kind of routine once more.She has been cleared to attend the Office if she so wants--as well other Social activities.The backlash luckily was not as violent as I had feared it would be---so that is one thing that I'm more relaxed about.Her earlier Chemos in 2009 had had minimal backlash while mine were terrible---given the more advanced stage and toxicity used.
Summer is literally barging in on us--the Tempratures are soaring and the pleasant Winter interlude has finally ended.For me these are poignant moments---for Sudhir loved to see the Seasons change.It is truly like watching a Miracle take place--the Sky changes it's hue from a deeper Cobalt Blue to a lighter Azure one which will fade into the lightest of Aqua in the height of Summer.For me it has always been wonderful to see the hot colours contrasting with the bright,blazingly brassy Sunshine of Summer.The sight of the deep Orange and Red Blossoms of the Gulmohar standing outlined in all it's glorious Beauty symbolises the Indian Summer for me.It brings back a horde of Memories---of my own childhood as well the childhood of my daughters.Sudhir and I would drive down to Kolhapur each Summer from Bombay/Mumbai.The journey those days lasted 9-10 hours and keeping Sayali busy for that period needed plenty of inventiveness.It was this same Gulmohar that granted me a brainwave.The entire route was dotted with Gulmohar Trees--some in full bloom and some just with the first flush of budding out.I told her that she was announce each Tree which was in full bloom and count these on our way Kolhapur.While this gave her something to do it was some time before Sudhir got used to her sudden full throated yells of "Doomb!!Doomb!!" from the backseat!!In Marathi the term is "Laal Bund" meaning Blood Red.Sayali could never remember the entire word and replaced it with Doomb as a shorter version!!I would also point out the various Hill Forts or Gadhs that dotted the stark Summer landscape to both Lotta and Sayali---the craggy forts rising up into the Sky in the Summer haze .The Sahyadari Range of the Western Ghats is a steep one---and has many peaks which were fortified by our ancestors in ancient times.The legendary King--Shiv Chhatrapati carved out a Kingdom based on these Forts as his base in the 1600s and gave a tough time to the powerful Mughal Empire of Delhi.The Marathas evolved into a powerful influence in Indian History---leaving a great impact on it till 1818 when it was broken by the British.This way I'd teach them both a bit of both History and Geography---telling them about the Geographical Landmarks as well as the Historical ones.I'd also string the various exploits of the Marathas into stories and they'd listen with rapt attention.The trick was to keep them occupied--for these were the pre Air Conditioned Car days--and the dry hot Wind that blew in through the open windows of the Car was blisteringly hot and dehydrating!!Besides later Ming and Tina joined us--these two mini Lhasa Apsos were blessed with thick long hair and though I'd chop their locks each Summer they still would feel the heat immensely!!
There are plenty of Memories of the strawberry blonde Tina--fondly called Da Tuna by the girls--half out of the front window on my lap!!She was fat,cuddly and heavy---and the constant effort of trying to haul her in gave me great excercise for my arms--and muscles like a wrestler's!!Ming was more disciplined--he'd curl up in the centre of the backseat and snooze or just poke his disdainful nose a wee bit out of the window on either side--he never played favourites between the girls.Tina on the other hand had lots of attitude-----there were certain things that she loved to complain long and loud about!!During our journey Sudhir had to ensure that the speed never slackened,that we did not pass any Trucks for she hated the smell of Diesel exhaust---and that we took regular halts for plump,rounded little Da Tuna to stretch her fat little legs as well as relieve herself!!I have yet to see any female Dog so obsessed with her looks--a truly vain little b***h!!Ming on the other hand was wiry and springy-----a live wire who just couldn't sit still!!
Despite the extreme heat, those drives were the best---passing dry bare Hillsides full of dried Brush onto lushly Green Fields of Sugarcane--the way the Soil changed colour--from a dry sandy hue to a nondescript Brown and later to a rich loamy Black--I loved it all!!Sudhir and I would sing our favourite Songs--both Hindi and Marathi with a sprinkling of English ones too---his mellifluosly tuneful tones mixing with my off tune ones--but both of us having a ball!!The girls would also join in--at times purloin the stage by singing their own medleys--there would be "Maria","The Sound of Music" and "Edelweiss" from the 'Sound of Music',"Feed the Birds","Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
" and "A Spoonful of Sugar" from 'Mary Poppins' as well as some Hindi and Marathi songs too.Those drives are today saved in my Memory--bathed in the afterglow of nostalgia these are some of my most precious moments archived in my mind.
There was something timelessly primal and right about it--I felt a part of my Country,it's History and the Landscape---one with my environment!!Those days we were young and hardy----both Sudhir and I enjoyed the Heat,Dust and just being alive with gusto.The beautiful expanse of an Indian Countryside baking in the Summer Sun has to experienced--for no Picture or Photograph can capture the intensity of the ambience ever!!