24 May 2018

Cannon Ball Tree (ThursdayTreeLove)

Kailaspati, Lecyhidaceae, Couroupita

This beautiful tree with glorious fragrant flowers growing out of its main trunk goes by the unlikely common name "Cannon Ball Tree". This is due to its large round fruit resembling cannon balls.  Its botanical name is Couroupita guianensis and the species has been introduced in India. The tree belongs to the Lecythidaceae family. 

The flowers are uniquely shaped almost like a Shivalinga. Hence the tree also goes by the common name Kailaspati. When plucked, the highly fragrant pretty flower stays fresh in a bowl of water for a day. 

In sharp contrast, the fruit is filled with a foul smelling substance. If you look closely, some fruit are visible and seem to be strung on the trunk. If one of them falls on someone's head, it can cause an injury! 

Kailaspati is native to the Amazon rainforest but seems to be happy in India considering its gregarious flowering and fruiting! It grows to be quite tall and is an imposing sight!

I am joining Parul's #ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see some wonderful trees from around the world!

10 May 2018

Twisted Trunk (ThursdayTreeLove)

Tree trunk, IUCCA, SPPU
Twisted trunk
What could have been the reason for this twisted tree trunk? Considering its pretty huge and old, and growing in the open, I am sure the curves must be natural.

One of my first posts on the ThursdayTreeLove was Sleeping Trees that I saw in Moscow. Just as I could not figure out the reason for those 'sleeping' trunks, I simply cant find an explanation for this.

Here is another image.

Bonsai artists often 'wire' trees for which they face a lot of criticism. Surely no such intervention was done here. Yet the trunk has acquired wonderful curves that simply will stop you in your tracks.

What do you think?

I am joining Parul in her #ThursdayTreeLove39 bloghop. Do head over to see some amazing trees from around the world. 

09 May 2018

Blazing! (WordlessWednesday)

Delonix regia, Mayflower, Gulmohor
What do you see? The glorious Mayflower or the stunning SPPU main building?
 Image credit Pankaj Kulkarni

07 May 2018

2018 AtoZ Reflections

#AtoZChallenge reflections logo 2018

There is huge void at the end of 30 April , a massive lull as it were, after the frenzy of writing, reading and commenting on posts in the April AtoZ blogging challenge. I was travelling part of the month and associated connectivity issues meant I could not comment on as many posts as I wanted. Somehow I never did get around to doing it later.

This was my fifth attempt at the challenge.
2013 was my first attempt and I did not have a theme.
In 2014, I wrote about Exercising for fitness.
In the year 2015, I wrote about public parks around Pune.
In 2016 I posted about herbs from AtoZ.

For some reason, I was unable to comment on some posts from my cell phone. Also, some blogs only accepted comments via Facebook or Google Plus. I did not want to comment via these platforms so despite wanting to say something, I just could not reach out to the author.

The AtoZ Twitter handle was not as responsive as it used to be earlier. It would have helped if they had retweeted posts in which they were tagged.

I found a huge number of Indian bloggers, many from India and some living overseas. There was a fair number of older people participating which means blogging is not an exclusive purview of the younger generation. Older folks are also learning the tools of the tech trade and using them pretty well to get their thoughts heard across the world!

04 May 2018

The Gift

Abhi woke up to the sound of Rahul’s protests at having to eat breakfast. This was the only time that she got backseat on her mother’s daily agenda. She patiently waited for Ma to finish her chores and come to her. It was only a matter of time. She could hear the school bus, blaring its horn at the end of the lane and Rahul as usual was not ready. Dadima never really did object to this tardiness. Homework was often incomplete and exam scores below par. But all was excused.

Ma was soon with her and Abhi twisted her mouth into a smile. “Rise and shine dear, today is your big day!” Ma said. ‘Good morning’ Abhi echoed but the words ended as guttural sounds from her out-of-control vocal cords. Ma chatted away as she helped Abhi out of bed and prepared her for the day ahead. Today would be a difficult as Hetaldi had set a new task for her. Would she able to do it? Abhilasha steeled her mind to the looming challenge. She needed to focus.

Dadima was at the table but buried herself in her knitting as soon as Abhi came there for breakfast. Abhi attacked her food with gusto. Ma always put an extra dollop of butter on the parantha just the way she liked it. The salty smoothness of the butter helped the pieces slide easily down her throat. Most of the time her cheek and tongue muscles were way beyond her control twitching and moving of their own free will. The yellow velvety blob somehow calmed them sufficiently to allow her to swallow. Dadima complained about special meals for Abhi, “I want more tea,” she said now and Ma rushed off to the kitchen to prevent another onslaught of derisive comments. “And don’t forget to put in the ginger and cardamom”

Abhi hated having to depend on anyone least of all her mother but there was precious little she could do. Ma had almost become her arms and legs now. Abhi could feel her strength, hope and joy at seeing every miniscule progress. Mother and daughter functioned at a single level as if still bound by the umbilical cord.  Ma perfectly understood Abhi’s feelings, her needs and her dislikes conveyed through her expressive eyes.

Before the tea arrived, Dadima took off for her pooja. Abhi could smell the burning incense. It was rose today and she hated it. The tinkling bell accompanied Dadima’s tuneless bhajans.  How could God endure this daily audio torture Abhi wondered? Did he really ever listen? Or did Dadima’s God too prefer to ignore Abhi’s prayers?  But there was no time to lose, as Ma reminded her of their appointment.