Towards the end of October and then through December, there’s a totally heady scent that cuts through the gritty grime, the fumes, and the general smell of something burning, here on the streets of Delhi. There’s a huge tree right outside my house, in fact. And though it’s done blooming, there are plenty in the neighborhood under which I pause just to inhale the scent. Late one night, a friend and I were going to coffee in Defence Colony. We parked under one of these near the gumbad, and asked one of the parking attendants the name of the tree. He did tell us what it was called but the next day neither of us could recall what he’d said.
But, then I asked my handy dandy walking-talking Encyclopedia-Botanica (my mother) and I hadn’t even gotten to describing the sheflara-like leaves when she pronounced I was drunk on Alstonia Scholaris. She said it’s the only thing she misses about Delhi.