One of the many things which I miss about Assam is the flowers of Parijat. In its blossoming season, it is treat to watch these trees and ground beneath them. It is completely covered with its fragrant flowers. The flowers are very small with white sepals and one orange colored speck in the center.
Children collect the flowers in little bamboo baskets. I asked them what they will do with so many flowers, to which they answered that these will be dried and added in cooked vegetables. The shrubs there are very healthy like all other vegetation which seems to grow literally before your eyes.
The land has been laid down in seams of very highly fertile soil. All this is the dower given by mighty Brahamputra river to Assam. The river which flows very peacefully along the mountain from Mansarovar lake towards East but becomes very virulent when it enters the plains of Assam. Sometimes, during the monsoons, the river brings so much water with it that it creates floods in all the Assam and Bangladesh. The whole of area looks like a big lake. It uproots the islands and hurls them at different places. But it is all the blessings and anger of the river. The whole area is lush green and weather is entirely different from rest of India.
The shrub is called Nyctanthes arbor tristis in botanical jargon. It grows in India, Pakistan and South East Asia. The flowers occur in clumps of two to seven in numbers. It is also called tree of sorrow because of its short life span of one night only. In Indian mythology, there is story connected to the bringing of tree branch from heaven to earth by Krishna to appease his demanding wife Satyabhama.
The story goes that once Krishna and Satyabhama were invited by Lord Indra for a lunch. After lunch, Krishna and his wife were strolling in the garden when they happened to pass by the heavenly tree. Instantly, Satyabhama took a fancy to the tree and insisted that Krishna steal a branch and take it to their home and plant it there. Krishna despite his resistance had to pluck a branch.
As he was hiding the branch in his clothes, Indra noted it and cursed not the Krishna directly but prophesied that the shrub will not bear seeds and propagate on the earth.
This does not seem to be true, otherwise how so many trees grow in different parts of world. Incidentally, I have noticed that shrub grows hardly near Mumbai. Only in one house I noticed one plant.
Another plant has been planted in our colony by a Bengali family. In Bengal, this grows in abundance and is called “Shiuli”. Here in Mumbai area, the plants’ main thrust seems to be on leaves which are wider than their brethren in Eastern India. The color of leaves is lighter in Assam than here.
I found a very beautiful link to auspicious trees. It is called Namahte.