Mar 25, 2009

Sisira’s (Shi-shi-ra) gift

Sisira (the Dewy season) isn’t so effective here as in Northern parts of India, but his presence can be felt all the same. You can feel the coldness early in the morning and even when the red sun of dewy season turns hotter, Sisira cools down the effects of that scorching being. Sisira, a twin of Haemanta (Cold Season – Winter) heals the works of his brother. He’s mild unlike his twin.

He lets the plants heal and shed their torn and damaged parts, making them ready for Vasanta (Spring). That’s what he did to the citizens of Plantsville. He’d cover the plants in dew early in the morning, getting them ready for the red hot sun during the noon and with the arrival of the moon, he’d soothe them again with his gentle coolness.

Returning back from my night shift at four in the morning, I drove back home one day in the calm roads, Sisira blowing in my ears. Hair on my arms stood on the tips as he sang his mellifluous music in the silence of the morn. His music kept me from nodding off to sleep and concentrate on the road.

A hot shower and half hour of pûja washed the sleep out of my eyes (at least temporarily). Finally, after long, I got to visit my Plantville during dawn. Riding on his seven horses that signify the seven days, Sûrya (Sun) crossed the hour ruled by Mars (hence the day came to be known as Tuesday). An early-riser flew across the sky, calling out to his (/her) chummies, announcing the arrival of yet another day.

I watered all the plants and hardly noticed this at the first time. While picking the flowers, I squatted down, when out of corner of my eyes, I spotted blue. As most of you know by now, I’m obsessed with blue in my garden (though green is my favorite color in general), I took another look. Not clear…

I moved the foliage away to get a better view.


That’s the first bud! I never thought it’d bloom! I mean the photos of te bloom I saw online looked too unearthly that I thought my garden wouldn't be so blessed.

Afraid that some pesky pest might like this for its feast, I hid it behind its foliage, as it was.

The next day, I got closer to inspect how it might look like when fully open…

Any clues? I returned later that day to see if it’s opened, but no… May be it’d take days to open fully, I told myself and turned my attention to others.

The next day, due to the usual weekly shift change, I slept over the dawn and as usual, my mom watered the plants and she came downstairs excitedly and said, “We have crochet threads growing in our garden!”

“Wha’?” I opened one sleepy eye partly.

My mom smiled down at me, “Go upstairs and look for yourself, but it isn’t all that beautiful.”

By now I was awake and thought, Not Beautiful? May be she was building up my interest.

As if she’d read my mind, she said, “No, no. It isn’t as beautiful as you said it’d be. Looks like bunch of crochet threads tied together.”

My heart sank. I was expecting an exquisite beauty. “May be it’s not open fully.” I replied as I washed my face.

“I don’t think it’d look so beautiful even when fully open,” I could tell that my mom wasn’t joking.

But hey, first bloom is always special – beautiful or not, it’s special to me. I grabbed my camera and ran upstairs. The moment I entered the boundaries of Plantville, a faint, sweet fragrance invited me. Sûrya was up and bright. I neared the pot and what do you know! A strong fragrance hit my nose. I closed my eyes before I saw the bloom. That smell was very familiar – not the mild scent of Jasmine, but… what was it?

Ah! I know, that’s the scent of Canon Ball Tree’s bloom, which I always wanted to grow someday when I have a garden space on ground. I opened my eyes, excited and look at what I beheld!

What was my mom thinking when she said it wasn’t so beautiful? Such awesome fragrance with such complicated beauty! It’s more than just beautiful. I went crazy with my camera.

So that’s it! The Purple Passion Flower! Tina and MarionL guessed it right. So here’s the special photo for you two!

Purple Passion Flower - Passiflora incarnata

Within few days, the beauty began giving out further buds and I’ve started clicking away their progress every day.

So that was Sisira’s parting gift. Officially (according to Hindu Almanac), by March 27, the Dewy Season gives way to his most handsome brother, Vasanta.


tina said...

I had no idea I guessed it right. Congrats to me!:) I think it is beautiful but even if I didn't, the way your wrote it makes it most beautiful. And always the first bloom is the most precious. Glad it bloomed!

Petra said...

Hello, wonderful pictures as usual and I really must admit that I liked the way you discribe it all.
Best regards, Petra

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

I love the way you wrote this post! You are a great storyteller! I think the flower is beautiful, I don't know if I've seen a passion flower like that before. I'm glad you get to enjoy it and have more on the way!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Gorgeous!! Loved the photos...that's something I haven't photographed. I'm so glad you posted several photos.

prue said...

Wow that flower is amazing looking! love the story behind it too.

MarionL said...

You are truly a poet with words in your beautiful post, as well as with the camera and your green thumb! Reading your post made me recall the joyful memory of my first Passionflower---I now have them all over my yard. I am tryly blessed!

Here is the history of how it got it's name: "In the 16th Century Christian Missionaries in South America named the flower (Passiflora spp) because they saw it as being a symbol of the death of Jesus Christ. It was the first flower they saw on their journey and they saw it as a good sign.

They thought that the five sepals and the five petals of the passion flower represented the ten disciples without Judas Iscariot and Peter.

They also thought that the double row of filaments (corona) on the passion flower represented the crown of thorns that Jesus was made to wear. It also resembled a halo.

The vine tendrils represented the whips that were used to scourge Jesus.

The styles of the flower represented the nails Jesus had hammered into his palms and ankles when crucified.

The stamens represented the wounds Jesus sustained when crucified."

Blessings to you! Oh, I have to agree that the smell is amazing. The scent reminds me feintly of grape Kool-Aid, a powdered drink here the the USA---or it could be that purple color that makes me think of grape!

NellJean said...

What a lovely post!

When I was a child, these vines grew in our cotton fields. We called them 'Maypops' and never thought of them as beautiful, just weeds.

We knew the story of the crucifixion as Marion told, using the flower.

The passionflower vine is the host plant for Zebra Longwing and Gulf Fritillary butterflies here.

Sankri said...

The pictures are great and I enjoyed the way you narrated the event

Chandramouli S said...

I'm soo glad it did too, Tina. as I mentioned before, I did expect it from you. I'm glad it did too :)

Oh, thank you, Petra. I'm impressed.

Wow! That's a lift to my pride, Catherine. Hope the publishers to whom I'm writing queries for my first novel think so too. Got my fingers crossed.
You should give it a try too. Mainly for its lovely fragrance. Those who love the smell of Canon Ball tree flower would definitely love this.

Thank you, Kanak. It's first time I've laid my eyes on a Passion Flower (I mean for real). I never thought it'd be so heavenly! I mean, its complex structure transfixes your eyes on it. I couldn't stop clicking!

Thank you, Prue. I'm constantly trying to refine myself.

MarionL: All OVER your garden? Wow! You truly are blessed. I'm sure you can understand my craziness about its fragrance. I just can't stop talking about how lovely it smells.

Glad you liked my post. As I said before hope the publishers feel the same way too.

Thank you so much for the fine description, Marion. This new information about this plant makes it more special for me.

Yummmm.... again, what a lovely smell. I can't hardly wait the other buds to bloom open.

NellJean: Thank you :). These are weeds in a part of the world? Wow! I'd go crazy if it grew like a weed here! I wish butterflies now start frequenting my garden often.

Thank you, Sankri. Glad I entertained you :)

Anonymous said...

That beautiful blossome was well worth the wait! How exciting to watch it slowly start to unfurl right before your eyes.

Chandramouli S said...

It WAS, Racquel. It was so exciting, like the Adenium.

Antigonum Cajan said...

Horticultural greetings!

I would have preferred to write this
in an email. But it is not possible.

There are a few new pictures of
flowers from my collection. Actually the first ones in my blog,
of my favorites.

I bet you may love one or two.

I do this to reciprocate what
I have learned in your so far away
place, sharing so many species.

Your guests may also enjoy them...

Until next...

Chandramouli S said...

Wow, I'm impressed by your comments. Thank you :)
I just now was over at your blog and liked your latest post - food for thought.

Antigonum Cajan said...

Well, there are very
few blogs telling, teaching
something, to me...

Without botanical names understanding a garden
as a habitat..most become
a repetition.