Among flowers, I have always been impressed by the unconcealed beauty of Tesu ke phool (Butea Monosperma). I have been listening stories of them from my parents since I was a child. This flower is found around whole of Indian Sub Continent, but the reference usually comes whenever Holi is around the corner. I would be enamored by the stories where all big drums of colors were prepared from soaking in for a day or two and then heating the liquid of water and flower petals to get the fragrant colors of Holi in right shades. I have still this innate desire to play Holi one year only with such riot of tesu colors.
Few years ago, I saw them in full bloom in Gir National Park in Gujarat few years ago and was mesmerized by its beauty. Everything on the tree was orange red and there was no other color on the tree, not even leaves. In the forest backdrop it was simply aesthetic and beautiful. I have just one picture of that in my records but the blooming was not as impressive as in Maharashtra in this spring.
Recently on a visit to Ajanta-Ellora caves, I was travelling between Manmad Junction to amall town of Ellora, famous for rock cut caves. In those 100 odd km of travelling I was awestruck by the beauty of the blooming tree after tree on both sides of the road. I could not control the child in me and asked my driver to stop the vehicle so that I could take some pictures and also could be clicked. I posed like a young boy. It was simply an soothing for soul experience.
When I came back, loaded with these memories, I came to know that it was called by multitudes of names in different parts of India like Palash, Dhak, Flame of the Forest, Keshu and Keshudo, Plasu, Modugu Chettu. It’s also the State flower of Jharkhand. The flower is beautifully mentioned as a mataphor for red nails of Kamdeva in Geet Govinda, written by Jayadeva centuries ago. This picture below perhaps dittoed Jaydeva’s metaphor.
The memories of the flowers have remained with me long after I drove to Ellora and even came back to home. The shape, the fragrance, brightness and the contrast of them with the landscape of Aurangabad, Maharashtra is still attached to my senses. It was the bliss of Indian springs and I was really lucky to be there.
Thanks God. Thanks Tesu for being a part of my life.