It’s raining Amaltas in my city! Look across any street and you will find beautiful yellow flowers enveloping almost every tree. On a sultry summer day, when most of us prefer to hide indoors with our juices and showers, the Amaltas flowers beautify the surroundings, inviting us to have a tête-à-tête with them.
My affair with the Amaltas started when I was in school. Next to the school bus pick up point, there was a lush tree covering a wall. I would pluck yellow bunches and carry them to school to gift my class teacher. Amaltas flowers were also the easiest target when we had to pluck flowers to play Ghar Ghar during summer vacations. Unlike other flowers, Amaltas seemed more attractive due to their bright yellow colour and the fact that they came in bunches.
If you are still wondering why am I getting so obsessed about some yellow flowers, I suggest you rush to Lutyens Delhi, Delhi ridge area, Chanakyapuri, or any park near your house. The flowers have a strong bond with Dilli and you will find many roads carpeted with yellow flowers in your welcome! Once you experience the yellow carpet welcome, you too will fall in love with them.
And if you are lucky enough to spot a Gulmohar tree next to an Amaltas tree, the red and yellow combo will truly brighten your day.
Fortunately, I don’t have to work hard to enjoy the company of these yellow delights. The park near my house has abundant supply of Laburnum trees. It’s bloom time and the entire park looks heavenly; the jogging track donning the yellow carpet look! No wonder it’s also called the Golden Shower tree! Gives the lazy me an excuse enough to go for a walk and bask in the beauty! While as a kid, I enjoyed plucking the flowers as I walked in the park, now I prefer to enjoy the scenic beauty of the yellow flowers blanketing the trees and prefer not to spoil the look by plucking the flowers. However, the guard has a hard time driving away kids who like the earlier me, can’t resist plucking the flowers.
Officially called Cassia fistula or the Indian Laburnum, Amaltas is found in abundance in India, Thailand, Myanmar and many other countries of South East Asia. Did you know it’s the national flower of Thailand (the yellow leaves symbolize Thai royalty) and the state flower of Kerala? In Kerala, the flower holds immense importance during the Vishu festival and women especially decorate their hair with the yellow flowers. Although I haven’t been there, I can imagine what a beautiful sight it would be when yellow blooms complement the joy of a new beginning!
The tree also has a special mention in the Ayurveda for its laxative properties though I was also surprised that excess consumption can be poisonous!
Whether Rain Gods oblige us with shower or not, the golden shower tree definitely makes summers a delight and I leave no opportunity to spend time exploring the blooms in my colony!
The lovely Laburnum blooms
In several hearts making rooms
Showering their golden love
Amidst the cooing of koel and dove
The yellow carpet throughout the street
Makes my heart skip a beat!
The showers slowly reduce, exposing the leaves off hiding
Me watching the hide n seek, can’t stop smiling
Come monsoons and it’s time for the blooms to part
I wait for the next summer for a fresh yellow affair to start!