That evening when Papa left Chennai i would've cried myself to sleep if i had not in my sane self walked on to the terrace of my apartment. The breathtaking view of the different shades of green interspersed with the Haldi Gulmohur calmed me down. i was morose on my father's departure and just the sight of this brilliant yellow turned my mind to someone else. A fellow nature enthusiast and deeply helping other novices like me with his encyclopaedic works to know more. Silently i thanked the Wild Wanderer Karthik whose beautiful work on flowering trees enables me to know Haldi Gulmohur as Copper pod tree.http://www.wildwanderer.com/journal/flowering-trees/
Maybe this would be why it is said that nature cures all maladies. Even if it is incurable.
After i had a hearts fill of the lush foliage i turned towards my neglected babies on the terrace and it seemed as if they too were very happy to see me after a fortnight's gap. Some were badly in need of grooming and as usual one by one starting from the periphery i started to weed out the extras that were stealing the nourishment from my babies...poor things. Okay these babies are my plants that i refused to give out when my balcony could not house them as they had outgrown the small space of my balcony. Actually they were shunted out as my husband found them messing up the space that he often desires as he sits and enjoys the view from the balcony. Well he is a true minimalist who finds open spaces for sit-outs more beautiful than having the area cordoned off with greens. i can tell you this that if he could he would just want a free space with just a chair and nothing at all. However both of us may disagree in our choices he is the reason for all my creativity in the balcony which caters to both our needs. He gets his space and i get my greens which i have cleverly grown in small round pots which look more like miniature ghadas (round pots) and which do not clamor for much space.
But the terrace though has made my plants hardy yet they look savage compared to the constantly and regularly nurtured ones i have in my balcony garden. The frondy palms which i have reinstated in ceramic sinks have lost their lush green looks and look pale yellow as if they were inflicted with jaundice. The apartment sees improvements from time to time so when the ceramic sinks were replaced by steel sinks my job was to keep a watchman's eye on the unbroken ones and with the permission of the Inspector of Works the IOW as he is known as, i was able to collect 8 in number. These were heavy and so even though they were transported to the terrace by lift there were a couple of casualties. And they were perfect for my frondy palms which had sort of cracked the terracotta pots and badly needed a new one. My constant garderner enthusiasm inspired a couple of more occupants to place their extras too on the terrace and so my babies got to meet more friends. Now that my side of the terrace looks beautiful with my comrades and their mates all lined up against the periphery of the parapet walls i often find excuses to go to the terrace more often .
i cannot explain my delight as i had no hopes of seeing this as this plant has been a rather sick one, so much so that at one point of time i thought it would not survive. As you can see there are bare stems with not much leaves and it has been like that for the last four years. While most of my pots are all filled out this one looked kind of struggling to survive. What added to my amazement was that not only had it sprouted new cute leaves but had these two very pretty blossoms with a heavenly fragrance. The fragrance nagged me because it reminded me of something. However i was too much happy to think about something that i couldn't remember rather it was a time for revelry. A close perusal showed me 2 more buds and there was nothing more left for me to do now but to just bend low , see the beauty and enjoy the fragrance . Taking in the fragrance i'm trying to get the name of the flower but could only manage a guess work...Magnolia ? Champaca ?
The AHA moment that evening led me to one exhausting search on google on flowers and just a couple of hours back i found that it was none other than the one that produced my husband's favourite aroma on me Gardenia. Personally i am more of a lavender enthusiast. This one on my terrace is Gardenia augusta whereas the best variety is known as Gardenia florida. Native to Cape of Good Hope it is also known as Cape jasmine. Also found in Southern China....More and more as i Googled but that was not so important now because i got the answer to that nagging thought when i had first received that intoxicating fragrance on the terrace.
Well Gardenia was the smell of my honeymoon days in Goa way back in 1985. Along with my trousseau my Papa had presented me with a collection of Original French Perfumes but the one that i took along with me to my honeymoon was this roll on called Gardenia maybe by Avon. i might be messing up with the brand though because at that time mostly i used any perfume by Avon. This friend of mine from school days whose name was Shalini had an aunt in the US who was dealing with Avon perfumes and i used all my pocket money to buy these from Shalini at discounted rates. Not that she did it as a favour but that she informed me that in the States the perfumes which go out of fashion are actually sold dirt cheap. At least that's what she told me then and i was not least bothered about all these nitty gritties for it made me thrilled JUST to own a phoren perfume. i still remember the fragrance which had settled in some part of my subconscious and just a whiff and some search on my part took me back to the most beautiful but exciting days of my life. My husband still nudges me to ask on the counter where they sell these imported perfumes at lifestyle for Gardenia. Don't know why but i was giving it a pass all these days and now all of a sudden i want Gardenia. AND where are you dear Shalini?
images courtesy: http://www.profilekiss.com/images/1/gardenia.html