100 Things to Do Before You Quit Delhi – Stand Under Amaltas Trees at Midnight, Around Town
The perfect Delhi experience.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The sky is blank. The road is empty. And the yellow flowers of the Amaltas are looking like visitors from some other world.
As part of The Delhi Walla’s series ‘100 Things to Do Before You Quit Delhi’, I ask you to take a tour of the blooming Amaltas trees at night.
The Amaltas flowers surface in Delhi during the summer when it is so hot that the brain itself seems to be on the boil. The city seems on the verge of death but it manages to survive. Some credit for this miracle goes to the Amaltas. During the day, as the temperature soars higher and higher, the flowers of the Amaltas keep falling continually on the ground. Yet the trees don’t get naked.
The best way to admire the Amaltas is to stand quietly under its shade for a long time, and feel the golden-yellow flowers fall on and around you. Unfortunately, the searing hot days make it impossible to stay outdoors for more than a few minutes. But the Amaltas does not disappear with the sun. Leave your house at midnight and walk up to the nearest of these trees. At this hour, the flowers glow faintly. The street lamp, if any, adds a ghostly texture to the petals.
When seen against the dark expanse of the sky, the Amaltas flowers appear to be gold coins gently tossing on the surface of an invisible sea. The upper heights of the tree gives the impression of a faraway milky way, or of a twinkling city as viewed from an airplane window–each branch is a road, each flower is a home.
Surely, with such memorable sights, you might want the dreaded Delhi summer to stay forever.
It’s hot, it’s cool