So the BMC has decided it will now prune trees to prevent stray branches from falling. You know what that means, right? They’re just going to start chopping everything down in sight. My neighboring building society head told me that they’d chopped down the tree between us because “mosquitoes are breeding there”. He claims to be a horticulturist. Who never went to school, evidently. Because in his next breath he also told us it didn’t matter because “Only Tulsi” gives out oxygen, other trees are not important. I nearly slit my own wrists. Maybe these little clay gods will protect this peepul from being ‘pruned’ BMC horticulture style …
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.
Dilli is blooming. There is purple jacaranda blossoming all over and boughs laden to the verge of drooping with yellow lanterns of laburnum at intervals. But nothing gladdens my heart more than the vivid splashes of orange and deep red the Gulmohurs bring. My heart is smiling.