City Nature – Floss-Silk Trees in Blossom, Kamani Auditorium & Elsewhere
Consolation of winter
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The pink of the flower is as boldly surkh (ruddy) as the jama (coat) that Shahjahan is depicted wearing in a famous portrait he commissioned to artist Chitarman.
As Delhi-NCR dies a little everyday under deathly smog, the sole consolation of these depressing days is the blossoming of floss-silk trees. One magnificent floss-silk is strutting right beside the Kamani auditorium in Mandi House (see photo). Its 5-petaled flowers evoke the anar of the Diwali night, the firecracker’s sparks suddenly stilled in mid-air.
Here is a tour of some of these trees, whose blossoming in such a toxic air is nothing less than a miracle.
A luxurious floss-silk is shedding its colourful weight by a row of drab government flats in Kaka Nagar. A showstopper is turning eyes on Chelmsford Road: it stands just inside the gate of bungalow no. 7. A tall, spindly beauty adorns a neighbourhood park in Patel Nagar, the branches spread out like the limbs of a many-armed devta, each arm tipped with a torch of flaming pink. A cluster of three floss-silk occupy a park corner corner in Nizamuddin East, next to the balcony of an elegant apartment-cum-AirBnB. Then, there is a grove of floss-silk near the Ambiance Mall in Gurugram—the flowers drift down continually on a part of the driveway, getting crushed by the wheels of the passing cars.
Oh, there is also the much-tweeted floss-silk at the India International Center. More in tune with the times, it is left with very few flowers, the austere brown branches suggesting the outlines of happier days.
The most impressionistic spectacle is by the lakeside in Lodhi Gardens. This smoggy afternoon, the water is marked with pink smudges, like Monet’s flowers in his painting Water Lilies. These are blossoms fallen from the adjacent floss-silk trees.
A row of floss-silk also stands in another part of the garden. A couple is sitting under one of them. Their arms are entwined, their face tucked on each other’s shoulders. They seem unbothered by the pollution and by the floss-silk.