In Bloom… April 2016 Muse Of The Month Winning Entry By Priyanka Sacheti

Flowers bloom – as the seasons change, and this blooming of flowers puts the author into a contemplative state of mind. April 2016 Muse of the Month winner.

This year, we bring you the Muse of the Month contest. Congratulations to all the winners of the April 2016 contest.

The cue for April 2016 was:

“‘How like the flowers we are,… knowing nothing of the fate we simply inherit from others.’”– Jaishree Misra, Rani.

The first winning entry is by Priyanka Sacheti.

In Bloom…

Every morning, as spring segues into summer, I walk through my lush tree and garden-filled neighborhood, gazing up at flowers blooming in the trees. The Japanese have a word for flower-viewing, hanami, which also describes a traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, especially cherry blossoms; for them, the cherry-blossom symbolizes the beauty and fragility of life, not to mention how ephemeral it is. I can’t help indulge in a hanami of sorts myself as one season transitions into another, losing myself in the delicate world of these flowers. I wonder if the flowers are more beautiful whilst blooming or when lying upon the ground, becoming ground poetry to read.

As I pause to gaze upon at a fallen, perfectly intact champak flower, I find myself interviewing them. What is their most memorable moment? When they bud into being, knowing nothing and yet everything? Or is it when they fall, simultaneously knowing and embracing life and death?

If you had come to my neighborhood even just a few days ago, you would have glimpsed plump blood-red silk cotton flowers studding the bare tree branches; they were the first trees to bloom in spring and I thought the flowers monstrously beautiful. You could have scarcely walked below a silk cotton tree without smashing an army of fallen blooms under your feet. Crows greedily snacked on the flowers, frenetically encircling them at dusk, the tree becoming a kinetic blur of black and red. Now the flowers have vanished and the ones which remained have metamorphosed into fat oval green pods, bearing future flowers and branches and leaves within.

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And what of the jacaranda flowers? I discovered a triad of jacaranda trees quietly and elegantly blooming away in a garden, which I named the ‘Garden of Surprises’, because I never knew what delightful surprise I would encounter there whenever I visited it. Sitting on a stone bench, I would watch the jacaranda flowers waft in the cool morning breeze before joining the gradually expanding sea of mauve petals pooling upon the jade green grass. I would unkindly think that the flowers appeared lovelier when collectively blooming on the tree before separating and whirling in the air, making their lonely descent to the earth below.

They are gone too, the jacaranda trees now heavy with leaf – and it is as if the flowers were never ever there in the first place. The trees however already have a memory of the flowers being there. Once, when I went to see the trees at dusk, the sky was the color of a jacaranda bloom; when I gazed at the trees, it was as if either the flowers had melted into the sky or the sky had crystallized upon the tree branches, like sky icicles.

The kachnar tree knows too, how ephemeral existence is. The kachnar tree, which I see from my study window every day, whose exquisite mauve-pink flowers I wrote poetry about. Its muddy green and brown leaves are now sharing branch-space with earrings of hanging green seed pods – and I think of the time when the tree was luxuriantly enveloped in blossoms, the pink petals dropping on to the forehead of street dogs, who reposed below. How reluctant the kachnar tree had been to relinquish its blooms, stubbornly clinging on to them, even when its peers had already let them go and started sprouting new green leaves in their place.

One morning, I spot a magenta salwar-kameez dressed flower thief: she jumps once, twice, thrice beneath a large shrub heavy with yellow flowers. For a moment, she is air itself. The fallen ones are just as beautiful, I silently message her, watching her unseen from the window, hoping her attention will gravitate towards the dozens of shut yellow blooms scattered across the ground below the shrub. Yet, she keeps on jumping, relentless in her mission to acquire one of those blooms. I momentarily turn away and when I look back, she is no longer there – and I never do learn whether she was successful in her mission or not.

How like the flowers we are…knowing nothing of the fate we simply inherit from others. Yet, the flowers keep on blooming, existing just for the moment, each moment a microcosm and era in its own.

Priyanka Sacheti wins a Rs 250 Flipkart voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the 10 top winners at the end of 2016. Congratulations!

Image source: jacaranda trees in bloom by Shutterstock.


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