Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?


We were standing outside our office, watching the rains, between our drags and conversations. As we basked in the relief of a much needed cool down of the hell that is also known as summer in these parts of the country, our conversations meandered across several topics. From work, to how the traffic will be later, to the general state of affairs.

Suddenly my eyes fell upon a tree that peered from behind the rows of parked cars. The rains had washed away the thick layer of dust that forever cloaks such trees which are ill-fated enough to be growing within industrial areas (or pretty much any area here). Now it revealed its lush green leaves. The greenery forming the perfect backdrop to the bright yellow flowers that thronged its branches. Flowers, which earlier had been barely visible among the dust laden foliage.

‘What do you call those flowers in Hindi?’ I asked.

Peela phool ’ he replied.

‘No..no..what is the name of that flower? ‘, I repeated, ‘ Like, in Bengali, we call it Kolk√©, what do you call it in Hindi?’

No one seemed to know.
Of all the five-six odd people, nobody knew.
The flower in question was the Yellow oleander (Cascabela thevetia ).

It struck me as a bit odd. Why is it that nobody knows the name of a fairly common flower?  And by nobody, I mean the common people, the guy/girl next door, not the erudite scholars.

For as much as I can recall, during my childhood days, all of us knew the names of flowers, at least the common ones. I couldn’t help but wonder, do the children these days know? The same smart children, whose parents beam with pride on how their child took to the smart phone like ducks to water. Or are we so divorced from nature that distinguishing between successive models of technology products is valued, while all of nature is clubbed under generic tags. Or is it a more geographical phenomenon? Is it, that in these parts, the race to material worth left nature behind in a state of casual apathy? 

Will the Radhachura ( Copperpod, Peltophorum pterocarpum ) and the Kolk√©  be forever clubbed under the dismissive Peela phool  tag henceforth ? Will we not stop by to marvel at the flowers on Hailey Road; or will we do so, but never know it is Amaltas ( Golden shower, Cassia fistula ).