Nishi Pulugurtha explored the campus of a famed university with her camera and added words to embellish what her camera clicked
Spring was all around, offering, as it were, some much needed solace. It is easy to miss the sights of spring in the concrete of the city – sights that bring in some colour with the trees in bloom. Yellow, red, violet and a little orange peeping here and there – one just needs to pause and seek them out. Most city folk prefer heading out of the city to catch up with the blooms of spring
I was away too, in the town of Roorkee in Uttarakhand in northern India. I needed some rest, a breather. As I walked around the IIT campus in Roorkee in the evenings, I felt the greenery colour my soul. The tall trees reached high. Their branches were bare despite the red flowers hanging onto their skeletal limbs. A few flowers had fallen below. Parrots were engaged in animated exchanges on high leafy branches of other trees. There were colourful blooms almost everywhere I looked.
The small church with its beautiful lawns stretched out an invitation to the lazy dog asleep under a tree. The waters of the canal flowed fast. The yellow flower-laden tree, the weeping bottlebrush, the jackfruit tree with younger ones stuck to the trunk and fresh green leaves all around.
An old lady was sitting on a bench. She smiled back as I walked around, soaking in the picturesque setting that is so rare in a big city of steel and concrete. The church would open only on Sunday’s at 8.30 am when the service was on, she said in response to my question. It was all locked up as the spring sun mellowed down.
My walks took me along the canal with its two huge lions on guard, the bridges spanning the two sides and the foliage lining the canal. The yellow gulmohar tree was in full bloom — some of its branches entwined in the electric wires were reflected in the rippling water.
The Ganga Canal was built in the nineteenth century for irrigation purposes. It seemed to flow in peace, guarded by lions. This is a setting that has been featured in many Hindi films.
Nature proliferated all over the campus.
The Livingstone daisy was commonplace. The magenta petals that emanated out were painted white within.
Sweet alyssum tufts held together amidst the green and the other blooms. And some magenta ones not only added colour but were curled into a ball.
This bi-coloured bloom also is a member of the daisy family. Its yellow adding brightness as I paused.
Tufts of the beautiful sweet William caught flies huddled together. A lone plant that stood among many others.
Another Livingstone daisy had some action going on – summer was still some time away.
Some ziziphora were green, a few turned violet in the centre before the entire bunch matures to a shades of the amethyst. All on one plant.
Herald’s Trumpet or the Easter Lily Vine bent down and looked out. They seemed to offer a colour contrast to the parrots with loud their screeching calls.
There were cineraria blooms lining the lawns, defining with their vibrancy.
The weeping bottlebrush looked happy and bright despite the element of sadness in its name. These trees sometimes stood lone and sometimes, in the company of small shrubs and plants.
Small raw jackfruits hung on to the tall trees, reminding one of culinary delights that are part of summer menus.
Bunches of white periwinkle, gently swayed just by the kerb, unmoved by social distancing norms.
And amid all the concrete housing, an orange bougainvillea branched out.
The Sacred Heart Church was close by. Its morning bells pealed at about 5.45 am every morning. As I peeped out of a window in its direction, I could see the lighted cross in the darkness.
The charm of what I saw has now become a part of my being. The smell of the greenery pervades my senses, with nostalgia that remain — that linger on for a while as life moves on, at times bumpy, at times slow.
Nishi Pulugurtha’s works include a monograph Derozio, travel essays Out in the Open, edited volume of travel essays Across and Beyond, and The Real and the Unreal and Other Poems.
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