City Hangout – Frangipani Yard, Nehru Park & Elsewhere
Heaven on earth.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Last night the moon broke and fell into pieces. Some of those pieces fell in central Delhi, close to the prime minister’s residence. In Nehru Park. See photo.
Citizens obsessed with verifiable empirical evidence might challenge the assertion, dismissing these moon shards as fallen frangipani flowers (tomayto, tomahto!). Whatever, this little yard in Nehru Park, confined within intersecting walking tracks, is among the most beautiful sights in the capital region these days. This evening, the ground is studded with these frangipanis. The flowers have obviously dropped from the yard’s many trees, leaving their branches totally nude.
To gaze upon a lone frangipani is like being absorbed by a timeless Vermeer or Van Gogh. So much detailing within such a limited framing. The flower has a delicate yellow at its core that streams out softly along the white petals. While the intoxicatingly sweet aroma invades the senses, perishing the next moment.
Delhi region is full of frangipanis, particularly the lucky Gurugram. Some service lanes along the Jaipur highway there are liberally speckled with these trees. On nearby MG Road, a long row of frangipanis frees the patch from its commerce-driven topography. Dense white bunches seem ready to fall any moment under the force of their weight. The pave is frequently carpeted with these flowers, many squashed by the feet of insensitive pedestrians on way to a mall or an office tower.
A most dream-like setting exists on a traffic island close to Nehru Park, across the road from the Egyptian embassy. It contains a tiny grove of fulgent frangipanis. The circle has a mossy pool in the center. The fallen flowers float in its shallow water, along with an occasional amiya or two that falls from an adjacent mango tree, currently in season.
This evening, here in Nehru Park, a walker pauses by these dead frangipanis. In black suit and tie, he could be a foreign diplomat working in one of the area’s many embassies. The solo bench in the yard is empty, but for a solo frangipani lying on it. The man gazes at the picturesque corpses for a fistful of seconds, after which he turns towards the direction of the car parking.