A flower of one of the many varieties of Jasmine (genus Jasmium). Their spread across the world has been vaster than empires, and more slow
I woke this morning to the definite feeling that spring was here in full bloom. My nose was blocked, my eyes were watering. Hay fever, means pollen, means flowers. This is definitely not the virus, but my own body reacting to spring. It’ll have passed by mid morning. In my balcony the jasmine plant had begun to flower, the little white vincas are in bloom. In a little patch of ground below the flat I can smell the parijat, the night flowering jasmine. Looking out over the garden in front of us, the banyan tree is full of fruit, the mango tree is bursting into bloom, there are red coral flowers on top of a sea of green. In the mountains the musk rose, the peony, daffodils, must be in bloom. I stood on our balcony and stared at the deep blue sky flecked with clouds. I’ve never seen Mumbai look so beautiful. Today is a bad day, I can’t keep my mind from thinking of traveling up to the mountains, walking in the open.
As I sit and complete the last few jobs on my laptop, I can smell the fragrance of the night-blooming parijat (shefali in Eastern India) from a bush below the balcony. This has a made up name in English: night-flowering Jasmine. I can easily distinguish its smell from that of the Jasmine (mogra) which grows in a pot in my balcony. I love these, but they are so close to where I’m sitting that they drown out the milder fragrance of the champa (frangipani) from a tree a little further away. There is no rajnigandha (tuberose) in the neighbourhood, otherwise this fragrant duet which I’m writing about would have been overcome by its heady smell.
The traditional Indian garden is a place you can enjoy even with your eyes closed. All these flowers are white, and not very photogenic, so they never appeared in the old Bollywood movies where the hero and heroine would run through a colourful garden (except in the 40 year old hit called Rajnigandha).
Its time for me to shut down the laptop and pack it up. My next post will either be from China, or after I return.