City Season – Amaltas Bloom, Green Park & Elsewhere
A season of loss.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The tree is clothed in golden-yellow, but of a very pale shade. Amaltas flowers are known for more glow, more flamboyance. This tree, here in Green Park, must be an exception.
It is that giddy time when summer begins and Delhi avenues lit up with the blooming of the amaltas. But in this year of pestilence, when people we personally know are dying due to the coronavirus infection, the blossoming might not bring that same happiness. This evening, nobody stands under the tree. Nobody is to be seen on the road either, except for a masked guard outside a bungalow.
Indeed, this year, one can’t go out to view the amaltass in bloom. The grief-stricken capital is in curfew. You will miss the show at central Delhi’s Hailey Road, where the sleepy stretch of tarmac will soon be lined on both sides with dense bunches of amaltas flowers. You will not be able to experience what you had taken for granted in any other summer—all day long, flowers falling down on the pavement like a continuous snowfall, making the dusty ground look as if it covered by a golden mat.
Nor will you be able to see the amaltas’ splendour at Amrita Shergil Marg. There the blooming trees appear like a painting by an artist who has lost all her sense of proportions, and went overboard with golden-yellow smudges.
Nor will you be able to make that noon-time trip to Second Avenue, the path that links Lodhi Road to Jor Bagh Road. There, just beyond Bharat Taxi Stand, a row of amaltas trees is splayed out into a dramatic sight. You feel as if you had entered a tropical forest of florescent yellow. In a week or so, the snaky branches will transform into impenetrable thickets of yellow that will spar with the unforgivingly hot sky.
Gone this year, too, the pleasure of walking down Bungalow Road, in north Delhi. Its great treasure of amaltas flowers is swept away every morning by the municipal staff.
And forget, too, about enjoying the amaltas at night, when their yellow color becomes entangled with the gold of the street lamps, the branches twinkling like baby chandeliers.
Meanwhile, here under this Green Park amaltas, a flower is falling dead every other moment.
Amaltas in the pandemic