City Landmark – Paakar Tree, Constitution Club of India, Central Delhi
A most luxuriant nobility.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
If trees like this didn’t exist, they would have been hard to imagine.
Consider, if you will, this luxurious Paakar tree providing more-than-welcome shade. Here at a side garden in central Delhi’s Constitution Club of India, best known for its erudite seminars, lectures and book launches.
Each branch looks like a separate tree trunk: So furrowed with cavities and lines that you maybe reminded of the face of a wrinkled man who’s experienced an overly-rich life. This afternoon, security guard Takdeer Kumar, resting under the leafy shade, tells knowingly as if passing on a secret that Paakar trees “are in fact called Pakariya in the villages.” Himself hailing from Kanpur, Mr Kumar goes on to say, with a certain pride, that “my home village has several Pakariyas.”
But here in Delhi the marvellous tree stands out in its isolation, unrivalled in these gardens. Its beauty merely intensifies on this appallingly hot day, providing cooling breeze for these quite a few lucky souls sitting or dozing beneath its huge branches. A woman is actually lying beside the trunk, asleep. And a crow is hopping between the dense tree leaves. To follow his movement from one branch to another makes one feel intruding into somebody else’s beautiful dream.
Now a TV crew moves in, promptly proceeding to interview an elderly intellectual perched on a chair under the tree. Somewhere nearby is the drone of a power mower. There’s grass, as well, under this Paakar, but it will never be mowed—because it’s plastic.