I have stayed in government accommodations ( read : government quarters ) for more than half of my life. And there are always Gulmohar trees around them.
Come summer, their dazzling colours enamour, enchant and invite you. The other months of the year – they are just there. Deep green. Silent. Overlooking. At times majestic.
.As a child I was fascinated by its buds. The sepals – beautiful green on the outside , glimmering magenta inside – very much like a woman. Calm demeanour on the exterior and a seething volcano inside. I used to put those utterly smooth things on my nails – like claws. At times, I still do that. The bud opens….carrying a bounty within it Waging battles with its pollen tubes fascinate me.
At the peak of summers, these brightran oge flowers fall and the bloom is just everywhere ….. a feast for the senses. The fruits disappoint me though. Green pods eventually turning dark . But I tend to ignore them. I love to walk on paths where these wonderful flowers fall, just after a sudden downpour.
My school had a large, ancient Gulmohar tree. We used to play around it while we were in primary classes. It was the centre-stage of our crazy games , mass drills, parades, passionate fights and a host of other activities. It fell prey to a terrible storm that shook all the vegetation in the campus. The Gulmohar didn’t die immediately. In a couple of years , it withered. Then turned into a stump. With time, it lost its existence.
Today I often refer the place as “where there was the Gulmohar” – still clenching to the memory of a tree where many of my most pleasant memories were made.