City Nature – Bougainvillea Trees, Lodhi Garden
Life outside the season
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Where have the pinks gone?
This pair of much-instagrammed bougainvilleas in Lodhi Gardens are so large that they are as imposing as a tree. In season, which is at least twice a year, the trees get loaded with tens of thousands of bougainvilleas flowers. They then resemble a hapless bride with too much jewellery. Of course, their blossoming have already been celebrated in this space. It is high time to applaud these friends even during a part of the year when they stray away from the dictates of conventional beauty.
This afternoon, in early November, the leafy trees are without their famous flowers, and are appearing disarmingly casual—like a celebrity in pajamas, without the make-up. On standing under the canopy, one can observe a leaf more minutely, as the smoggy daylight pierces through its translucent surface. The leaf that looked a plain green from afar is in fact more complicated in its scope. Half of it has the same green tinge as that of an amiya (unripened mango), but this shade, as it spreads to the other half of the leaf, turns to a pale yellow, summoning the memories of early Amaltas flowers.
And then you might make another observation: the tree is a commonwealth of nations rather than a solitary republic. The base of the trunk bifurcates into four parallel trunks just a few inches above the ground, and each of these trunks splinters into thinner trunks, which on a greater height entwine to produce a common crown.
During the blossoming seasons, the ground under these trees are carpeted with flowers that fall all day long. But today there is only mud, decaying leaves, and lots of bird feathers. The benches under these pinkless bougainvilleas are covered with layers of dust and bird droppings. Perhaps nobody has sat on these for a long time. Perhaps nobody would sit on them until the trees bloom again.
Same bougainvilleas in seasons