Saturday, February 27, 2016


For Abhi

​On the ​usual path I have walked a hundred times before, to my Silk Cotton tree in Cubbon park, I come across a very strange-looking seed. With a huge wing for dispersion. I am fascinated. I send the picture to my friend Abhi. She makes the most beautiful sketches of nature, birds, and animals. She notices so much and she cares enough to know the names of things. She searches and tells me it has to "pterocarpus" something. A great tip to get me started on my research.

The Google search takes a while as there are so many kinds of seeds under this family. None of the pics look like this. But the curiosity will not let me stop, I need to know who this is. :)

And then I manage to find a beautiful drawing from this 1924 German book, where I finally identify it! Centrolobium Robustum. A Brazilian tree, also known a Zebrawood. I am thrilled to bits!!

A friend asks me how I see these things, this is not my first discovery. :)  I just look down and walk. The park floor is a treasure house. You find seeds you never noticed before and then you go around looking for the tree. And oh, the excitement of finally locating the tree! Trees from all over the world, now home to our squirrels and barbets and parakeets.

If you look, there are always new things to see in the same place you have seen a hundred times before. Nature doesn't sit still. Forever changing, forever new, forever the same at every return of the season. How is boredom even possible?

Seeing, the reward for looking. The most simple of things to do.


Papilionaceae seed pods—Handbuch der Systematischen Botanik (1924)

​Centrolobium (a pic of how the seed looks when green): ​

Thursday, February 18, 2016


For some reason the tabebuia roseas make me cry more than the others, I don't know why. Maybe it is their sheer abundance, the lush thickness of their  inflorescence, their reckless overflowing generosity. The photo is from last year, but they are getting ready for a repeat. Stood at the bus stop and cried again this morning.

Or maybe it is because they make me feel like Sudama returning home after visiting his old childhood friend Krishna, and standing dumbfounded at the sight that greets him. His poor hut has been transformed into a palace, and his happy wife and children come running to greet him, filled with wonder, their rags replaced by beautiful robes.

He had asked for nothing, and was given everything.