When Sky Jasmine rained down

The Indian Cork Tree's expended blossoms infuse rare magic into the morning after a stormy monsoon night

I stay on the coast in Pondicherry. My sense of infinity is linked to the sea. It is not confined to poignant gazing at the horizon but often it attains a physical dimension -- like infinite solar energy, pumping up infinite moisture-soaked clouds and, eventually, the infinite deluge.

Often this happens during the Diwali holidays. 

Not surprisingly, the question on the returning monsoon is my favorite weapon to stump a studious class X smart-ass.

Luckily, the second flush of the Indian Cork Tree (Millingtonia hortensis) coincides with the monsoon here. Sometimes, the rains pause to take a breath. One such pause was on the morning after Diwali when I took these pictures.

Five days later...

Three hundred kilometres away in Bangalore, the city's tireless chronicler, Peter Colaco, wrote of the Cork Tree:
It was late in the year, most of the flowering trees had no blossoms. Clinging to the sides of the bowl were tall, stately trees with hanging sprays of white-scented flowers. The botanical name is Millingtonia hortensis and people call it the Cork Tree. But its Kannada name most accurately describes it: 'akasha mallige', sky jasmine.

Text and photographs: Sahastrarashmi