Summer in southern India is a study in stark contrasts. The weather in Hyderabad in general right now is hot, the air heavy with fine grained sand dust but luckily not humid. Don’t think I could take the dustiness with the heaviness in the air at the same time, so there is something to be thankful for the mercies of the many gods and goddesses. The sun is left to burn in the clear blue sky in these plains.
What I adore the most in this early summer pre-Monsoon season are the trees and shrubs in glorious bloom. My absolute favourite of the many Indian trees is the Gul Mohr.
It is probalby the most striking of India’s ornamental trees. Each April this bare lonely looking tree that lines the roads in the driest of possible earth bursts into fiery red and orange blooms that cover the entire tree. The only other trees I’ve ever seen so full of blossoms are the ornamental cherry trees in some well taken care of parks in Canada. The contrast is so startling because I associate richly blooming trees with moisture and rain, whereas here they just burst into colour after a YEAR of drought. Not only is Mother Nature a magnificent painter but also full of sizzling hot surprises!
Looking at the intensity of the red Gul Mohrs every day on my way to work wakes my senses and gives me a feeling of a totally different life force. We all need to experience this force as we go through the many ups and downs and sorrows and joys. I am reminded daily – in case I forget as so many of us do – of the need to preserve these treasures in places like southern India. The very city I now live in has already been totally transformed from a small by Indian standars town into this sprawling global-era mega city permanently under construction. The trees and shrubs are fighting for the same space with the office towers and parking garages.
It is almost as if the few green spaces that have been left here are showing their spirit of fighting back by setting themselves on fire once a year.