Friday, May 7, 2010


Rangoon Creeper

Rangoon Creeper It was just another day and as i drove along to my destination something stopped me right in the tracks.In any case i had to halt as the traffic signal showed red and this was going to be a more than 3 minutes wait as the digital meter at the traffic signal was showing 180.So i pushed the gear to neutral and let my Maruti 800 rest a while.Had to open my window screen now as the AC was off and while i did that the sight of something forced my mind to think of HIM.

Him who is etched to my childhood memories as much as this Rangoon Creeper that i saw in full blossom in some stranger's porch driving in Nelson Manickam road.There were mixed emotions now as i battled to have full view of this creeper as you don't get to see many of these in Chennai while thoughts were pulling me to that image of him which i wanted to remember clearly removing the cobwebs of my now hazy memory.

Thoughts are my own and i have the time maybe think of him later i said to myself and instead indulged in the beauty that my eyes wanted so badly to feast on.One always has a choice and this time my choice was Madhavi lata (creeper) first.Madhavi lata is the local Bihari nomenclature to Rangoon creeper which is also known as Red Jasmine.

So beauty entices isn't it true?And the more fleeting it is the more we want to linger.This particular moment i wanted to just walk out of my car and probably knock at the gate and ask permission to go near and just smell the flowers.i did have the scent in my memory but just wanted a fresh whiff.
Impulsive my husband would say to that however he was not there to reprimand me and ask me to stay put on my seat so i looked up at the digital meter which clocked 77 now.Still some time so i started but was stopped again in the middle of my tracks because a tin placard which had the picture of a ferocious dog with snarling canines jutting out, proclaimed,'Beware of Dogs'. Mustering some fearlessness i did walk near the gate and did what the onlookers would have thought about a crazy 40 something doing Praanayaam near an elaborately artistic wrought iron gate.
It was not bingo entirely but i got the same faint whiff and my day was made.Peering through the slits of the grill hoping to hear a growl i did manage good glimpses of the lusciuos green foliage and definitely the red blossoms when my mission was interrupted by the mad honking of automobiles.Needless to say how i ignored the dirty glances and shut my ears to fierce Tamil cursing in between lipsynching sorry to quieten the behind the wheels mobs.If looks could kill i would be dead but anyways i managed to scoot.Inside me a kaliedoscope which showed me these and kept me smiling instead of swearing.

Madhavi lata as we know it i wonder what Chennaites have against it. If i owned a house of my own instead of the bougainvillea this would have adorned my gate.Maybe Vasanti Amma is right when she says that fragrance attracts snakes or else how can one not have this which has beauty combined with a fragrance that either give you divine thoughts or romantic thoughts nothing in between.Actually nature brings you closer to God as i found out from this fellow blogger who too is enamoured by nature and says he feels closer to God when he takes his nature walks.

So those who study about plants will know it as Quisqualis indica as for me i will know it as the evergreen and fragrant Madhavi lata and there are yet others who call it Madhumalati  also Radhamanohari and debate whether it has fragrance or is odourless but then i cannot agree to that because the one that i know from childhood , has a divine fragrance especially in the evenings and it reminds me of HIM.Him that i knew and lived next door and is a mortal just like me.Him will definitely occupy my next post as one cannot be dissociated with the other.

Once again when i Googled i got this from the net and because it is simple and beautiful i would like it to be here with my blog as i condense my thoughts.However once again i don't know the creator all it says is that it is contributed by Dr.Uma Asopa.
   " Madhumalti
Wise woman she is-
a cultivated creeper
grounded in stable soil                      
with wisdom worn like
green umbrella
interspersed with prints
of pink and white flowers, Rangoon Creeper
Madhumalati is her spirited name;
she is sweet scent of night
walks in wilderness,
roaming like untamed bride.
Morning calls her back
She is home with first ray of light-
spirit loaded with perfumed flowers
coy and sleepy with night's plight."

Walked in wilderness when i did wasn't i too the untamed bride of that lanky and dark boy so much elder to me when i was say 7 or 10 and his family wanted me to be his bride when i grew up.
Oh no! not again that is going to take me back again to Boring road when it had just few concrete houses and where ever eyes could reach fields of tur dal (lentils) and paddy could be seen way upto Patliputra colony.
Maybe laters right now let me be with my Madhumalati...


Image Courtesy:                                                            


  1. Superb Shivani. That was one good post. I could nearly smell those Madhavi-Lata flowers. I have seen those in India but I too feel they dont exhibit fragrance as much. I will definitely make extra effort this time when I visit India to really spend some time with plants and flowers. Thanks to your posts. Keep these lovely nature posts coming.

  2. @Tandarin thank you for reading.Well actually the clusters emit an exotic sweet,fruity and intoxicating fragrance in the evenings and night mostly...sure maybe my posts will remind you to spend some time with nature.

  3. Like this series of posts loosely related to flowers very much. Madhumalati reminds me of a couple of Bangla songs... very popular flower in Bengal.

    Looking forward to next installment. :)

  4. @Anitban thank you for appreciating the series...and songs definitely there has to be like ek chameli ke mandve i shall google on the Bangla songs thanks for telling me that.:)

  5. As a child used to spend most of my evenings swinging in my balcony, observing people and singing songs to myself. Right below was this creeper of "Madhumalati" clinging to the gate, it's columns, the walls. Just the sight of those delicate little flowers used to cheer me up.

    Your post made me go into a rewind :))

  6. Shivani,

    Lovely post and beautifully written. I remember theses fragrant flowers in my gradparents house. Your posts bring back old memories and I just wanna dwell in them.

  7. As beautifully written as the flower itself. You transported me to my childhood!

    What's the next flower? :-)

  8. @Purba thank you so much for stopping by.Yeah i am going in a rewind too.But what stopped me from going further was ur post very well written and instead was mulling over your words which rightly conveyed much of my own angst.
    @Preeti thank you baby for going down memory lane with me...yours slightly different than mine...but wait my next post should talk about THE HIM...and the best part i know now thanks to technology that he too is still the same.Rather got much better with time.

  9. @Raja thank you for appreciating what i actually thought i was unable to do justice with my writing...i mean the beauty of the fragrant creeper.The beauty of this and others i feel cannot be penned down...memories yes can definitely be relived again.Thank you once again.

  10. i have a nice nice madhavi lata creeper at the back of my house.....a nice thick green foliage laden with beautiful flowers and a heavenly scent prevades the area surrounding them ....... jealous , eh ?
    then ......
    raat ke 2 baje .... a cow , comes to my creepers ...drawn by the scent which atrracts humans and animals alike (as can be seen ) .... and without much ado begins munching at it !!! the rustling sound awakens me ( forget not that i sleep in the balcony in the summers) ..... it scares the shit out of me (the sound )... ghosts !!! i shrieked ! i threw stones at it (which were ready to be hurled at the animal in a broken dustbin ) ..for the time being she went away .. i too went to my room to have a good sleep after accomplishing a BIG GREAT TASK !
    but the beast came again ...only to leave the semi-strong creeper in the worst condition possible .
    the next morning , i ask myself , " am i dreaming ? did i have a madhavi lata here ?

  11. @Anonymous a.k.a Gauri lol! trust you to get spooked at the slightest rustle but feel awful about the munching off.Don't fret... as nature will have it ur AND eveyone's Madhavi lata will grow all new and bloom all beautiful with all it's fragrance once again...i am so sure about that...Thank you so much for taking time out for me.

  12. Nostalgia...what else!!

  13. @Amita Thank you for sharing this nostalgia with me.

  14. lovely..lovely..lovely...i used to plant a madhumalati creeper whereever i lived.. was it in this life time? we picked its petals and use dit as falso painted nails on our hands...simple joys..simple life..thank you.... many many memories here and in my heart too. sweet as summer. sad as rain.

  15. @ Anonymous thank u for stopping by. Feels nice to know that u too have memories associated with this beautiful creeper. And it feels touching what u say about memories " sweet as summer, sad as rain". Wish I could go down on ur memory lane too.

  16. Your lovely post brought back fond memories of my childhood when we had these fragrant creepers hugging our bungalow walls. Don't see much of them around these days. Even to this day the memory of their fragrance and and their graceful beauty still lingers in my mind.