Saturday, May 05, 2012
It s so strange that certain things can trigger off a chain of Memories-----even in alien Locations!!For me the sight of a flowering Jacaranda Tree with it's deep Purply Blue Flowers etched against a hot ,molten Blue Summer Sky did just that------it brought back my childhood vividly into focus!!!I love the Jacaranda Flowers---the beautiful contrast they create with the hues of the Sky despite being two separate shades of Blue is truly paradoxical.There is only one difference however--this is L.A. and my memory is about Chandigarh----more than 50 odd years ago!!!
Our back Lawn had a Jacaranda Tree--and it was something that fascinated me since we moved into that Bungalow when I was 5 years old.I had a penchant for climbing Trees---any and every that I came across but this was placed out of bounds by Mummy--maybe it's slender frame didn't quite aspire confidence about it's strength--or perhaps it's height made her edgy--but any way it became the only Tree I never climbed during my 12 year sojourn in that house!!Anyway this just added to it's mystique--and it became my very own "Faraway Tree" a la Enid Blyton!!!During the Winters I spent many hours stretched out under it on a "Dhurrie" or a handwoven Indian Carpet made with Cotton strands.These Carpets are washable and very tough and are woven on the traditional Handlooms---in bright attractive colours.Daddy had a penchant for buying lots of these for these were extremely practical but extremely durable and trendy too.One of these was mine--and it accompanied it wherever I went.
Lying under the spreading branches of the Jacaranda I'd Day dream about my Future--planning and mapping it out with each detail clearly underlined--just to scrap it and begin again.The scents of Winter would surround me and add to the drowsy,soporofic effect---the smell of the newly mown Grass,the mixed heady Scents of the Roses,Lilies and Narcissisi mixing with the elusive perfume of the freshly blooming "Bakuli" Flowers---all added to the magical effect.Today I still yearn to lie back under such a Tree---catching glimpses of the deep Azure of the Winter Sky dotted with puffs of White Cotton Wool Clouds visible through fine fronds of Green.Those days I used to paint--pretty passably.I painted this Picture in Oils--and Daddy had it framed for his Office wall---it accompanied him right upto his last Office in Mauritius---after that I don't know where it went--it was not among all his stuff that came back with Mummy after he died.No matter--- the Image is printed in my mind and there it will indelibly stay!!
The Summer Sky had it's beauty too---the hot molten Gold of the Sunshine gilded it to a wondrous shade of Blue and the contrast of the Jacaranda Flowers created was rivalled only by the deep Red and Orange Flowers of the Gulmohar at the other end of the Lawn.In between the bright Crimson of the Flame of the Forest or "Palash" as it is known in India bloomed hotly against the froth of vari-coloured Bougainvillae tumbling over the Boundary Wall.The Scents of Summer were heady--the two varieties of Indian Jasmine--The "Mogra" and "Chameli" released their strong exotic perfumes into the hot Air---and for me that was the best part of Summer!!!I spent the Summer days of my Vacations perched high up on my Dhurrie in the spreading branches of the spreading "Neem" or Margosa Tree--breathing in the bittersweet perfume of it's tiny frothy pearly hued Flowers.There was a nook of 3 branches that formed a Bookshelf for my Books--ensuring that I need not come down after I finished the earlier one to replenish my stock.Lunch was a necessary Evil--and after being the recipient of a hard spanking from Mummy the first time I refused made me descend daily---grumbling and fuming-- to present myself at the Table!!
I was a loner---preferring my own company and keeping myself busy either Reading,Sketching ,Painting or Writing and Daddy was very proud of me--specially my Memory.He'd make me read certain Books--for instance say "Gone with The Wind" and then just randomly read out a setence and ask me as which chapter or which incident in the Book did it belong to?95% of the time I'd be right---leading to his full face wreathing in proud and awed smiles!!!