Today is Vishu, the day of many new beginnings if you happen to hail from Kerala, as three of the Ogres here do. Interestingly, the assembly elections in our home state have seen over 75 percent voter turnout. Good beginnings, we hope, are in season.
Vishu is also associated with wealth and prosperity, and one of the festival's enduring symbols is the Indian Laburnum (Cassia fistula) or Golden Shower Tree, known in Kerala as Kani-konna. In northern India, where the tree flowers copiously at this time of the year, it is known as Amaltas.
Two weeks ago I saw several trees in abundant flower in Nagarahole. But here in Bangalore, the best trees seem to be hidden way inside the campus of Christ University. Flowers are eagerly hunted on this day by displaced Malayalees looking to recreate a semblance of homeliness, so many trees are forced to part with their pendulous golden cascades.
|Wherever they are in the world, Mallus (like these in Pondicherry) can be easily identified as they raid Indian Laburnum trees for their blossoms on the eve of Vishu|
Wish you a Happy Vishu!
Photographs by Sahastrarashmi. Text by Beej.