Trees all over Bangalore are laden once again with yellow loveliness. Not the Tabebuia Aurea that was in bloom last month, these are flowers of a different kind.
I am never not happy at the sight of these flowers, either on the way to work or while running errands or just roaming around the city. In a city that has grown amazingly hot and dry, these flowers, along with the gulmohars, seem to provide a burst of cheery colour to soothe your frayed nerves.
Over the last weekend, fighting the urge to sleep in at home and later take huge gulps of iced tea and chilled fruit juice, the husband and I set out for a day of aimless wandering and photography. These yellow beauties beckoned, and I couldn’t resist capturing them in frames.
These flowers seem to cascade from the trees like fountains, and it is not surprising that the tree is popularly referred to as ‘the golden shower tree’, as a quick search on the internet told me. Wikipedia says that the scientific name of these flowers is ‘Cassia Fistula’, but I like ‘golden showers’ better.
Wikipedia also tells me that the tree has several medicinal uses, and is referred to as ‘aragvadha’ or ‘disease killer’. So, the tree is not just all prettiness!
My mother-in-law saw me thrilled by these flowers and added to my knowledge about them. She told me that the Malayalis call these flowers ‘Kani Konna’, and that they are an important part of the celebration of the Malayali New Year, Vishu. Before the sun is up on the day of Vishu, these flowers are beautifully arranged in a plate by the ladies of houses all over Kerala, along with money, new clothes, sweets and seasonal fruits, and placed before the idols of God.
Known as Vishu Kani, this plate full of auspicious things is the first thing that the families see on the day of Vishu, marking a beautiful start to the year. I personally think it is a lovely custom – to start the new year by seeing something beautiful first thing in the morning.
The blooming of these flowers indicates that Vishu is near, and that celebrations are due.
Lovely, aren’t they?