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12 March 2008

Spring-Summer collection

When I see other blogs with photos I marvel at the dedication of the blogger/s and in fact there are people who do only that- a photo walk around the city.

In contrast all I do as I did last weekend is take a few random pictures when it is simply too beautiful to resist- that too with only a phone camera- because to me these samples of spring-summer collection represent such a burst of joy.

Other than the temperatures in the city touching almost 38-40 deg., these blooms are a sure sign that summer is in the city ( mangoes used to be the other indicator but that was before all the jhoot-moot ka artificial ripening and sale of the fruit)

The Bougainvillea is an oft-seen flowering shrub that drapes itself creeper style on barbed wire and concrete walls in the city. While walking or commuting the Mumbai streets, the grey and brown urban landscape of dust, tar and concrete is suddenly ablaze with the spurt of bright colour that this hardy shrub offers in myriad hues of red, fuchsia and white - a sight for sore eyes indeed and though it is a tropical shrub that is found in many places around the world- to me, the bougainvillea is a integral part of the Mumbai Mosaic.

Near Century, Worli- The skyscraper in the background a reminder of the changing landscape.

At Andheri. I cropped this to remove the cars parked beneath.

The wikipedia link provides a more beautiful close up of the detail of the flower. Its small white center is the real flower and in fact the coloured portion are only the leaves.

The British/English legacy left the city with lovely trees such as labnurms, raintree and the flame of the forest, gulmohar. The residents then planted more traditional trees such as mango, neem and even others like papaya, curryleaves, tulsi, guava etc; flowering creepers and shrubs such as hibiscus, jasmine and its varieties (mogra, jai, jui, saili) ; pink and white roses (also called gavti gulab or indigenous roses), lilies, neriums, marigold, parijat, anant, raat ki rani, something called locally as 'cup and saucer' for its shape as such- a white flower with a heady fragrance and so many others - flora that were normally seen in every street, house and compound but seems to have not entirely, but gradually disappeared from the city.

In its place the newer constructions have replaced their landscaping with some nondescript ornamental 'imported' varieties that have no charm or beauty. Not to mention so much more expensive to buy, maintain and grow. (Though there is another school of thought that states the contrary too)

The bougainvillea by its very nature did not command any such respect as the above mentioned flowers and was relegated to a 'lowly' compound wall shrub- mainly because of its thorns; not being a flower that has any fragrance or used in worship and in fact I think quite due to this very reason, the poor plant still manages to survive in some manner. It is too humble to even merit destruction.

In a changing urban landscape, I take a few minutes to enjoy the few vestiges of bougainvillea still left in such unexpected corners.

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