Treasure from a jewel. This vase was a gift from a very special person the year I moved back to India. I was trying to adjust to being in migraine-inducing Delhi after 12 years of living away, coping with a toxic, soul-sucking job that had sounded amazing in the interview, one I gave up my entire trajectory, security, and lifestyle for only to find they’d handed my designation to someone else. What kept me going through the feeling of, “Did I give up my life for this?” was the family I lived with, a family I sort of borrowed from another family-friend. I moved in with my oldest friend’s mausi, who, with her husband, daughter, husband’s two nieces and nephew, 3 dogs and their house help became my scaffolding, my anchor, my shelter.
I would try to make my presence less of a burden by trying to bring cakes and things for the motley crew from the market and would also get myself flowers to brighten up my space.
I don’t see them a much as I should (ugh, Delhi!) but I still count them in my blessings and am grateful for them every day!
This vase harks back to that time … and yes, I still buy myself flowers.
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Some time last year, the road by the Radio Club in Colaba was festooned with these. I don’t think I’ve ever needed to use the word ‘festooned’ before but it’s the only one that fits. The little globes are, of course, marigolds – definitely the coolest genda phool collection I’ve seen.
I haven’t been to Crawford Market in forever. Actually, I’ll have to check with my mother to find out if I’ve ever been at all (I’m acutely wary of implanted memories based on my mother’s stories of a time gone by). Today at lunch, Tan and I whizzed by two storefronts that were completely bedecked with flower wreaths (“All the better to drown you with, Sheranwali“) for Navratri, we presume. Ramzaan and Eid just finished, now it’s Navratri and Durga Puja and next up is Diwali. I LOVE being back. All this exuberant color is instant seratonin!
Oh and a sehra is the headpiece of flowers worn by the bridegroom when he’s up on his white mare, fetching his new bride with the baraat, unable to see a damn thing, at least in Punjabi 😉
The monsoon is nearly over and at least one soul in Mumbai is very sad about it. (hint: me!) Today we had a brief burst of rain and it made me happy. The last few days have been disgustingly bright. Here’s a photo from the terrace after the rain, of our wrought-iron garden furniture against the ixora. I love how the drops of water look blue as they swell to unsustainable girth, then plop and shatter, regaining their transparency. I could watch these for hours. Preferably while it’s still raining 🙂 (And I’m singing “Brishti Pore tapur tupur” in my head) (nope, can’t find an mp3 or a video from the movie I’m thinking of.)
I recently celebrated a birthday — and had myself a party. And got more flowers than I knew what to do with. Every single vase in the house was in use. Finally, I resorted to breaking up the bouquets and chucking the baby’s breath and other fillers to fit the actual flowers into smaller vases. I squeezed the remainders into a pen stand, wine bottles, and even a breezer bottle.
Fresh flowers — I think I’m addicted. Just looking around my digs makes me happy. Six days later, the place still smells great! And the corridor outside looks stunning, if I do say so myself 😀 So I had to document it with my camera phone and share my handiwork! Pause a minute. Take a deep breath. Maybe you’ll be able to smell the roses…
(The rest of the flowers have been photographed on my Olympus and, therefore, don’t belong on the blog.)
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.
The Nine “divine” days of Navaratri just finished. (I had no idea it comes twice a year, btw. Yeesh.) and there were a lot of poojas and such all across the country.
In Bombay and Kolkata, idols of the goddess Durga were eventually, erm,
drowned, immersed in the sea with great pomp (holding up traffic madly). On the 10th day (Vijay Dashmi), in Bombay, at least the cars all wear a smile of marigolds. I have no idea why. And some shops and homes are wreathed in garlands, too.
This photo was taken in Delhi. Bhola Singh was up to his elbows in pretty flowers when we left. What fun!
So, early one Saturday, I went downstairs to get something and heard Meena, one of the maids, screaming from the garden to Anita the other maid upstairs on my floor to shut the balcony door immediately — there was a monkey on the parapet. Given that Anita is petrified of the dogs, Meena guessed right that having a monkey come in while she swept would not have amused her. So Anita shut the door. Meanwhile the monkey hung out and calmly watched all the chaos.
I can’t believe that such a huge wild animal is hanging out in suburban Delhi. Yes, we see them at tombs and in large parks but in congested, residential South Delhi? Anyway, I’m haunted by the thought of said visitor stealing my underwear which dries in the balcony he was just below. I’m not sure what I’d do if I found this chap in my bra and panties — let him keep them, I guess.
There is a loo blowing in Delhi now. No, I’m not saying there’s a toilet…blowing in the wind. This is the hot wind that blows across the Thar Desert. Temperatures are soaring. Right now, at 9:50pm, it is 43 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit). Last week though, everytime the temperature pushed 41, it rained. And during one glorious shower, the flowers blooming in the garden were crying petals. It was so pretty. There was hibiscus, bougainvillea, lillies, and flowering shrubs leaning up into the falling drops.