The Gulmohar tree, right across the window pane in front of my small corner writing desk, had been blooming with red orange flowers all through summer. It’s quite rightly called ‘Flame tree’ as it blooms brightly like flame in the hot summer. The leaves which show their prominence the entire year are given a backstage when the flowers have their share of showcase in four months of summer.
The Gulmohar has a special place in my childhood memories. I recollect, as children, my friends and I used to take the leaves and make soft cushioned beds, enclosed by bricks, for stray dog puppies in our neighborhood. The leaves, which are compound, were easy to separate from their twigs and also a real fun activity for us as kids. Our efforts would be rewarded when the puppies, whom we would,at first ,really have to run after to stay on these cushion beds, would sleep atop each other in a bundle. (Yes, if we had the smart gadgets (mobile phones) or cameras back then this would be a picture worth setting as a backdrop on the smart gadget and sharing across with friends.)And we would all be smiling for efforts had paid off fruitfully. But the next day all would be a mess as the puppies would dig out all the leaves and would be running and playing everywhere. Once again, our ritual of collecting twigs and removing the leaves and making beds would begin with the same love and passion as before. It was a game which never got us tired or bored!
The other memory is of tasting the slightly sour flowers. I don’t know if I would allow my kids to do the same now but we enjoyed eating and tasting those flowers when one of our older friend would get a bunch from the tree and we ate it under the trees own shade in summer vacations. The other activity was to take the about–to-bloom buds and open them, with our little hands, into a flower. The pleasure we derived with this art or may be craft cannot be attributed to any of the modern day games that are available now. Many games were played under the vast canopy of this warm and loving tree which housed many birds in its arms.
As I am writing, it’s raining outside and the droplets of rain are drenching the tree from top to toe. The leaves are soaking in as much water as they can to quench their thirst after the hot summer. The floral display is over and they now take over the scene to display as many shades of green as they can until the next summer. It’s a changed scenario, both for me and my surrounding, with a feeling of nostalgia!!!