Bangalore is full of these drooping white flowers now, bunches and bunches and bunches of them across the city. Going by the scientific name of Millingtonia and popularly called the Indian cork tree or Akasha Mallige, these flowers are not much to look at when on the tree. If you aren’t deceived by their appearance and get close to one of these trees, you get to see how beautiful the individual flowers actually are. You also get rewarded with a whiff of their lovely, heady fragrance. As if they wish to deceive onlookers and reveal their secret only to those who care to look beyond their exterior.
The scent has always bewitched me, a haunting mix of spicy and sweet – not too sweet as to be sickly, nor too spicy as to be pungent enough to burn your nostrils. I find it an exquisite fragrance, the kind that comes in nice, happy, fluffy, romantic dreams.
I happen to have one of these trees right outside my home, and it graciously drops pristine, gorgeous white flowers all over the road, sometimes right into the waiting, outstretched arms of passersby. It is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, and reminds me of Bahaaron phool barsao, mera mehboob aaya hai. My imagination acts up whenever I see these flowers dropping to the ground, and I can almost see an excited Vyjanthimala collecting bunches of them to wear in her hair, the handsome Rajendra Kumar standing by to gaze adoringly at her beauty.
I am tempted to spread out my dupatta and stand underneath the tree to gather as many blossoms as I can before they touch the ground, but I resist.
I often collect little bunches of these white beauties and bring them home, to keep in little jars and teacups. Or I just keep them on my work desk. Like today. I love bringing a little bit of the outdoors home that way, and each time I do so, I also bring home a bit of magic, a bit of sparkle, a bit of sunshine. My drab work desk perks up, and waves of the spicy-sweet scent waft across the home with every gust of wind that manages to get in. And then, I do not mind the nasty stinker mails, the looming deadlines and the achieving or not achieving of my KRAs.
Nature, as always, rubs off on me, soothing me from within, giving me the impetus to go on in spite of the odds.