This winter of 2019 has been unusually long and wet for Delhi. Well, the weather is becoming unusual in all parts of the world. However, the Tesu flower has arrived in its glory as usual in March,
The other day I updated my facebook status as ‘enjoying the Tesu flowers blooming all over Delhi’. A few comments expressed pleasant surprise at my actually noticing the Tesu flowers in our busy existence. Can one really miss the gorgeous flower? It is like a motif in Delhi throughout March. It signifies so many things — that winter has said its annual farewell, spring is in the air, the festival of Holi is coming and can summer be far behind!
Throughout winter, the bare Tesu trees, devoid of any green, wait. Stark and leafless they await their buds, which cluster and break out as soon as spring knocks at the doors of winter. And then in a few days the blooms begin and soon the trees are laden with Tesu flowers in hues that cover the entire spectrum of red.
The tree has a rather tough and staid botanical name, Butea Monosperma. In regional languages of India it has more lyrical names – Palash, Modugu Chettu or Kinshuk. It is now the State flower of Uttar Pradesh. Apart from being famous for its use in making Holi colors (the festival of colors that heralds the onset of spring), it has medicinal value too.
At a roundabout in central Delhi, on the way to my office , there are five Tesu trees. These days they are adorned with flowers that are pale yellow, yellow, orange, rust and flaming red.
The trees are aflame with the flowers; there is not a single leaf on the trees. The flowers color the sky and spread out a carpet below as they fall to the ground. The majesty of the Tesu flower is in its ephemeral existence. It is there to savor for barely a fortnight. Then the trees stand and wait for a whole year to flower again.
Spring is the most colorful and beautiful time in Delhi. A drive around Lutyens’ Delhi during this time is like a spin in a palette of color. The roundabouts are a riot of color, with a wide of variety of flowers blooming with abandon. This again is a fairly short-lived celebration, because as the mercury rises they speedily wilt.
However, the city ensures that for most of the year there is some color spread out in its skies. As summer catches the city in its grip, it is time for the bright yellow Amaltas to rub shoulders with the fiery red Gulmohar on the tree-lined avenues. At some places, the purple Jacaranda flowers add a mischievous dash of the third element to this gorgeous pair.
The red Tesu blooming these days seems to challenge the flaming Gulmohar, which is waiting in the wings to bloom.
I kook at the blooming Tesu trees everyday as I go to and fro from work. As I see the flamboyant Tesu flowers around the city, I feel a sense of hope. In its short stay in Delhi, the flower provides undiluted joy to whoever takes time to notice it. And it signifies that somethings have still not changed in nature, so what if the weather has!