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Today while driving back from the dentist, or should I say being driven back since I was not the one at the wheel, I saw a golden shower tree in full bloom. The past few days I have been noticing a few bursts of golden yellow flowers in many of the trees in and around the area. But this particular one seems to have put in its all and come out with every single bloom it possibly could manage at one go. There was not a single leaf in sight. Only golden yellow blooms in profusion.

“It is still February!” I told the tree in tones of admonishment. “But here you are all decked up in your finery, too early! By the time April is here, you’ll have gone bald!”

Never mind that I was inside a car with windows rolled up and the tree couldn’t even see me, being stationed well back from the main road. Also, even if it heard me, it could hardly be expected to understand a human language.  Hmm.. there perhaps I wrong trees, and plants, shrubs, vines and grass too. I hear scientists have proved they DO understand us humans, if not the language, at least the tone. Anyway, that scientific research and a discussion on it is for another day. Suffice to say that if the tree had heard me just may be it would have understood my words.

April is the month when Vishu is celebrated in Kerala. The flowers of the golden shower, called konna in Malayalam, is an integral part of the celebrations. Considered auspicious, bunches of it occupy pride of place in the vishukkani (The items on display to be viewed first thing on waking up on Vishu. Read what Wiki has to say on Vishu). The day before you’ll find brisk business happening in konna, sold tied together in a bunch along with raw mangoes and small tender jackfruits on stalks. When konna cannot be found anymore, people sell the yellow flowers of the copperpod tree (abundantly found and full of flowers too at the same time of the year), the logic being, if not the original then something that closely resembles it in color.

So yes, it is in April, and not just on any day of the month but particularly on Vishu that golden shower blooms are in great demand, which is what I meant by what I said to the young tree. It had in its enthusiasm (and may be ignorance?) gone overboard and let all its flowers bloom at one go in February itself, too soon for the festival month which is more than thirty days away. Would the flowers last that long? No. Besides what if it rained? The flowers would just get washed away. The tree would then be bald while the others proudly displayed their heads of crowning glory.

Back inside the moving car, the L&M glanced at me, a questioning look on his face. What was that all about, his look conveyed.

“What?” I asked him innocently, and in all seriousness added, “I was not talking to you, but to the golden shower tree we drove past.”

Relieved (and not really surprised), the man wisely went back to his driving.

And I continued musing. What if the little tree was being rebellious? Or just wanted to be different? I no wanna bloom when every tree has yellow blooms coming out of its ears and nose and mouth. I wanna bloom NOW!!!!!!! And I will. Try and stop me. Ha! Besides, no one’s gonna pick my flowers in this season. Yay!!!

I bet the tree is having the last laugh.

©Shail Mohan 2017