City Season – Floss-Silk Flowers in Bloom, Lodhi Garden Lake
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Pink, but slightly faded—this is their colour. The flowers of floss-silk — or kurejia — trees are blossoming across Delhi. A brash display stands near the ITO crossing. Another is showing off adjacent to the Defence Colony flyover. There’s also a stunning row running along the driveway to Ambience Mall in Gurgaon. A most magnificent spectacle is inside the Shantinath-Satya Marg roundabout in Chanakyapuri.
The most heart-touching sight of these trees is by the lakeside in Lodhi Garden. This weekday afternoon there’s no one in this secluded corner of the park — except for a duck stranded in the middle of the water, like a motorboat without fuel.
The surface of the lake is crowded with the inverted images of the many trees reflecting into its still water. You can see the sun too, as well as the birds flying above. The lake appears to be aglow, here and there, with smidgens of something pink—that’s the reflections of the kurejia flowers above. Under the sun’s momentary glare, some of these blurs burn into utter whiteness before regaining their pink. The fragility makes the kurejiareflections look more delicate.
And then some more magic.
Like most flower-laden trees, kurejia’s flowers keep falling off their branches. Even as we talk, they are dropping off one after another, noiselessly, into the water. Each detached flower occasionally floats across the reflected image of the tree it was recently a part of. The sight is surreal, as if a freshly departed soul was surveying the details of its dead past. In a corner of the lake, a solitary pink kurejia happens to be lying atop a mass of slow-drifting dry leaves, as if being carried to its funeral by a crowd of professional mourners.
The most unlucky of these pink flowers have fallen on the shrubberies skirting the lake. There, they have crash-landed most crudely, their petals squashed across leaves and grasses. Distorted into weird shapes, the flowers are looking ugly. Some of these must have died a day or two ago, for they have turned brown.
And now you again look up at the trees to see the kurejias, still alive and so pretty. They too will soon fall.
Republic of pink