City Season – Amaltas at Night, Around Town
Angels of the darkness.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
8pm, a roadside close to the Rose Garden, Sector 15 Part 1, Gurgaon: Gilded petals stranded in mid-air. These are Amaltas’s golden-yellow blossoms at night. The tree itself is barely perceptible in the dark, but the flowers are smouldering as intensely as volcanic ash.
The Delhi Walla first reported the summer sighting of Amaltas flowers a few weeks ago, before an unexpected spell of rainy days disrupted the blossoming. Now the heat has returned earnestly, creating the right conditions to celebrate the post-twilight exquisiteness of Amaltas flowers.
A day later, 10pm, Hauz Khas village parking lot: The ground beneath an Amaltas is covered with golden-yellow flowers. More are falling onto the pile. A car appears, its headlights emblazoning the freshly dead blossoms into a heap of momentary incandescence.
10.30pm, Aurobindo Marg: An emancipated Amaltas stands on the road divider. The glow emitting out of an adjacent lamppost is making the tree’s handful of pathetically pale yellow blossoms shine brighter than the electric lamp.
11.15pm, Hazrat Nizamuddin East: A black dog is plopped along the smooth curve of a speed breaker. From an adjacent tree, Amaltas flowers are falling intermittently about him. The sight is dream-like. At this same instant, such similar blossoms might also be fitfully snowing upon every inch of the Hailey Road in central Delhi, its long stretch being wholly flanked by Amaltas trees. The flowers are likely to be as well drifting down along the Amaltas-lined pavement of Amrita Shergill Marg. And also on Bungalow Road, in poet Rahim’s tomb garden, on Malcha Marg, in Civil Lines, on the Ring Road beside Rajghat, etc.
Amaltas at day are stunning without doubt. But watching these blossoms descend noiselessly through the silent desolate night can sometimes come close to the point of intoxication. A dazed spectator might even risk hallucinations, seeing the golden-yellow flowers fall faintly not only in front of her, but in the entire universe, faintly falling until the end of all the summers to come, upon all the living and the dead.
A most lush Amaltas at night in the Delhi region is at…. well, let this place be a secret (see photo!). Console yourself with the hope that there may be a superior nighttime Amaltas nearer your home.