Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quisqualis Indica

i smell honey and see the queen through my window. Point is, this honey smells different, like perfume.
Deep and Penetrating. And this queen is the queen of specialities for me and oddities.
i smell MadhuMalti and translated it means just that. Madhu- Honey and Malti- Queen. But along with that i smell more...memories.
i have already spoken enough about my memories chronicling it to the best of my ability and dedicating my two blogs to MadhuMalti

 Now so many years and once again she is here right next to me and this time she creeps again on another window...very next to mine. Where i sometimes see greys with black lines and metallic colors...other times flashes of browns and metallic blue blacks...occasionally a host of other vibrant colors too...

So then although memories never leave you but along with those memories i also see the Robins, squirrels and that Sun bird couple that come and go and plenty of colorful butterflies too. But there's another dimension also now added because i have that time the inclination and that luxury of having her so close to me that i have come to observe the specialities / oddities about her. For instance unlike other creepers she does not stick or twist by means of stems like many creepers do instead she becomes a large woody creeper just rising up and supporting herself by dint of her own merit rolling on to anything that she can find even if it is a vinyl cable or for that matter anything that is dangling. And if i was dangling then without sucking me dry of my own juices she would perhaps have used me for support to quietly creep over me and just go her way without causing me an itch. That way gaining considerable height but without being parasitic in nature. The last society apartment i resided in i witnessed her rise steadily and swiftly right up to the twelfth floor. By now she might have canopied the terrace of that fifteen story building...i guess and spreading her divine fragrance far and wide.

Then when the new plant grows for the first six months it is quite a straight and erect looking shrub. After that it starts taking those artistic turns like a ballet dancer but also in the process becoming stouter and stronger than the original stem which continues to look thin and emaciated. Although from my own plant picture it may not seem very clear as to what i might be saying but one has to observe a very old tree to be able to figure out what i mean. Definitely since i own a terrace of my own which has plenty of sunshine i have a huge pot and a MadhuMalti of my own. And this time she better creep where i want her to creep and just not someone else's window.

The lush and fresh green foliage of the shrub set off clusters of pendant flowers. These blossoms are fragrant especially early mornings and in the evenings and night. Something special in the blossoms too. They are first white, then they turn pink and then red. Together they form an interesting bouquet. Some whites have streaks of pink in them too. As if they were hand painted. As if some pixie came in the quietness and stillness of the night and sprayed some color dust on them.

The pink buds which look like tiny lollypops grow erect when they are small but when the stem stalk which is lime green in color extends to several inches they droop first and then open. The lime green stalks are also interesting. They look like flexible tubes. These tubes are divided into five segments. Between these segments five oval shaped petals are inserted and they form a point star. So when they open they are first white or off white and part pink in color. As days pass they deepen in color first turning completely pink before darkening to a red and then drying up. But the dried flower looks deep dark red unlike a dead brown.


Appearing by March till May and again after the rains they are in a way perennial however there comes a part of the season when all the leaves have fallen and all her branches look like a mass of tangled mass of twisted twigs. And what's strange is that chances are that you might still find a few blooms there among those rough looking dry tangled mass. Another oddity. i am actually peering to catch one of those to get my out of the box picture that i'm looking for. All i am able to churn out is this... 
...the tangled mass with perhaps just one bloom alludes me...

There's a catch phrase for some commercial and i don't remember the product though, "Just one is enough". And if this catch phrase was a title then i think no one deserves it better than this queen of vines and creepers. For spreading perfume for miles around and even when the doors and windows of the rooms are closed. The blossoms keep reminding one of their presence especially in the evenings. And midnight when all is quiet and one is sleeping.
Strange though how even in that slumber breath you can actually sense the smell and feel their presence and not hear the crickets/insects or their tunes that reside in those dense clusters or for that matter anything else that scuffles and shifts or croaks there. Perhaps smell is something we don't much ponder about or even try to develop. For all i know there are people who have a condition and can't smell anything at all and still others who can smell but for them all smells are just flower smells nothing different or distinct and they can't single out one from the other.

Kwiss kwa liss...that's what she is known, Quisqualis indica. Quisqualis is a Latin word i found out recently and it means Who or What. Another i found out was quite exciting too. For maybe i am centuries late in my observation and noticing peculiarities/ specialities but a German born Botanist employed by the Dutch East India Company was the first to discover this queen maybe in Indonesia which was then known as Ambonia. And just like me he was perplexed too by the odd behavior of this species. His name Georg Eberhard Rumphius. And he thus named the queen Quisqualis which means ???? Who/What or perhaps Which too. Because i feel if you go on to describe the tree, the trunk, the bud, the leaves, the blooms, the fragrance the description might have a lot of whiches too.

Also just like me it was also another famous man who has followers worldwide. Whose words actually make sense to me although i never followed him. i want to now when i read his work in whatever comes my way.
Well he was very fond of this particular tree. According to him God especially made this tree on a Sunday when He was over with the hurries and worries of the world.
Yes this Godman to many surmised that God made this tree after He had made everything else and was having his day "off". i got particularly attached to this piece of his mainly because he mentions that for him too this tree stood for memories. And so today i would love to end this blog by using a quote from this discourse of his. It is an extract from his ' Glimpses Of Golden Childhood'. No riddle this i'm talking of none other than OSHO...
" The wild Geese
Do not intend to cast their reflections
The water has no mind
To reflect their images...
And still the image happens.
The Buddhas do not want to reflect the beauty of the work, nor does the world in any way intend to be reflected by the Buddhas but it is reflected. Nobody wills it, but it happens, and when it happens, it is beautiful. When it is done, it is ordinary, when it is done, you are a technician. When it happens you are a master.
This is communion.
I am not speaking about anything in particular...
The wild geese and water...

For the full discourse kindly see


  1. The simple and wonderful colours of nature.
    Did not know about the Latin connection of the word.

  2. @ Haddock...thank you for going through this too. Whenever I see u here I feel like I was work was someone who inspired me and when u comment I feel like I was heard too. :) thank you so much. Yeah there were errors in spellings which I see now because along with u I went through mine again. Will correct them right now...

  3. picture seven looks so colorful and beautiful and nice shallow DOF also :)

  4. @ joshi daniel very very happy today....the Master speaks...guides and appreciates. And I am on cloud nine...all those trials and errors I feel great that u r watching as I am trying.... Thank you so much and very very grateful indeed. Pls keep watching me. I shall keep trying :)