Thursday, May 20, 2010
This particular tree could be yet another associated with my childhood memories.i am just guessing though because locally in Arrah, a district of Bihar where my father was posted then, it was called Agastya and pronounced more like Agast. i was then a baby maybe 3-4 years old and although my memories are fragmented yet they make me very happy today.It is the memory of unpolluted, spacious and country like surroundings with fields, beautiful fragrant trees and cows which produced enough milk not only to feed the family but also to massage us with. Ma used to massage us with the froth of the freshly squeezed milk and later wipe us with a soft gamcha (a soft towel used in Bihar for wiping the body).i still remember how we detested that smell and the procedure and how we would bawl and rebel to get out of her grip wincing and flailing simultaneously to slip free.
Ma and Papa were different then in their appearance naturally as they were so young.Ma wore sedhe palle ki saree (Saree worn the Gujrati style where the open end covers the front) which would be bright and colourful and lots of glass bangles the sounds and colours of which fascinated me enough to want to wear them myself.Ma told me much later how i would refuse to sleep and want to play with her bangles instead while she tried hard with her stories and lullabyes to get me to sleep.
Papa was skinny, fair and dark haired and brought us toys from wherever he went on tours.We were just two kids then.My elder brother and me. So we had plenty of attention and affection of our parents and we were happy but pampered kids.Pampered by parents and all the helpers including the peon, cook, driver and all those who would come to work in the fields.Pampered wherever we went be it the shops or even the single cinema theatre in town.We were the priceless kids of the HAKIM Saheb and MEM saheb.And anyone who visited us would applaud the two of us driving our baby cars which moved as we pedalled like we were budding formula one champions.Big brother in his blue one and me in my red one.
i get flashes of the huge bungalow the kind which housed the Britishers earlier with very high ceilings and wooden Jalousie/louvered windows. But more than that the vision of the huge campus which had this tree along with the rest of the cultivable area where everything from grains to vegetables were grown, often crosses the mind's eye.
This particular memory of the flowers of this tree makes me impatient to speak about the delicious pakoras (fritters or crispies) that were made with these flowers.i know how eager we would be not so much for the pakoras but the paraphernalia involving the preparation of the special meal which would also have these pakoras for lunch along with other things.
Someone would be called from the fields or if they were busy the cook or driver would happily oblige with the picking of these flowers.Someone would prop the ladder and few others would hold us not by force but more by cajoling as we jostled to have a go on the ladder.While someone would hold the ladder stable as the other would climb with a basket to pick the flowers.This simple task of the flower picking would keep us stay put and enthralled when otherwise we would be squabbling over the same toy or perhaps giving Ma a hard time as she monitored our mischiefs into sobriety.
" Agast ke phool ka bachka kahiyega baua ji", (Little one would you like to eat Agast flower crispies?) the cook would ask us lovingly and till it was stuffed into our mouths mixed with the dal chawal (cooked rice and lentils) we would not relent. Later we would follow the driver to the neighbours where the rest of the picked flowers were distributed.
i have this craving to eat Agast ke phool ka bachka and i am alert.Although i am not sure if i would be lucky enough to see it what to talk of finding enough to eat yet i wait because i know that when you want something very badly something pushes you towards it.
This time when i speak to my father i have to ask him that when he sang this popular film song while i sat in his lap and shook as he would try to play imaginary tabla with both his hands, did he know that Agast was that Kachnaar. i can hear him sing distinctly,".Kacchi kali kachnaar ki...kach...kach...kach...kach...kachi kali kachnar ki...." as i delve into that tree, below which i sat sometimes with my dolls and played house house and that even as a baby wanted to climb and sit on it's branch with my cherubic cheeks close to the flowers to get the fragrance and later to pick one or two for Ma's pooja.
Can't memorise all but nice to know the names in different languages as i try to remember,' Kacchi Kali Kachnaar ki...kach...kach...kach...kach...Kacchi kali Kachnaar ki...hai kya samjhegi batein pyaar ki...kya samjhegi batein pyaar ki...Kacchi Kali Kachnaar ki....'
Tamil-Nilatthiruvatti/Shemmandarai, Telgu-Bodanta, Malayalam-Chovanna Mandaru/ Suvannamandaram,
Kannada-Devakanchan/Arisinatige, Oriya-Borodo, Bengal-Koiral/Rakta Kanchana, Marathi-Rakta Chanda, Gujrati-Kovindara, Sanskrit-Devkanchan, Hindi-Kachnaar...or as Bauhinia is also the National flower of Hong Kong .
There are many varieties of Bauhunia which has been aptly called as 'eye candy' on: http://toptropicals.com/cgi-bin/garden_catalog/cat.cgi
And now for the song that papa used to sing:
Posted by shivani singh at 2:33 PM