City Season – Best Bougainvillea Show, Chelmsford Road
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Cancel all appointments, postpone all deadlines, and rush to Chelmsford Road. Close to the New Delhi railway station, this spot might be hosting the best bougainvillea show in our megapolis. No amount of words or photos can depict the exact scope of its dream-like beauty. You have to confirm the superlative claim with your own eyes. True, Delhi and Gurgaon, and all our suburbs and satellite cities, boast of very many bougainvillea destinations. Such as: a roadside grove near Shankar Chowk (Gurgaon), a traffic circle near the Italian embassy, the Parsi cemetery near Khan Market, and the bougainvillea garden at Pusa. Readers might recall that the ongoing bloom was recently celebrated on this very page with a photo of author Annie Ernoux marvelling at the Delhi bougainvilleas.
While it is not prudent to go ooh la la on the same subject so soon, this repeat celebration is an exception, an urgency. Else we shall lose out on arguably the most glorious spectacle in the baggy wide Delhi region, currently.
The bougainvillea row of Chelmsford Road is no city secret. Its lushness pops up faithfully around this time of the year. The Delhi Walla has a visual record of the Chelmsford bougainvilleas of the last ten summers. But never before did they transcend into such etherealness. The multi-coloured shrubs are blossoming along a bungalow’s plain Jane boundary wall (neat address: 1, Chelmsford Road). The flowers are rising high above the wall, bobbing-and-bending in the afternoon breeze. This year, the bougainvilleas have gone wilder. Defying gravity, they are climbing high up into the air, entwining themselves into the foliage of a tall tree. This tree too is special. Chir pine is not usually spotted in Delhi (there’s a small cluster in Nehru Park). Also known as the Himalayan long needle pine, it grows profusely in mountains. Even so, here is the solemn pine, invaded by a tipsy mob of pink, pale pink, reddish white, orange, and mildly purple bougainvilleas.
And above the highest altitude of the chir pine, a tiny twig of bougainvillea is sketching a small pink arc in the thin air. From the road, it resembles the confident scrawl of a celebrity’s autograph. See photo.
Since such an extravaganza was totally unexpected, it might end as unexpectedly. Go now.