In February, the weather does a somersault. Old leaves are shed; most of the trees adorn a bare look, while small plants bear seasonal flowers. The wind blows dust and pollens, and the entire atmosphere acquires a mysterious look, covering the green lands with a subtle layer of amber dust. The yellows and browns, alternate with the greens and an inspiring message of positive and negative emerge, walking hand in hand. Naughty wind plays with one and all, embracing the fallen and caressing the blossoms. It feels as if the entire nature is contemplating an overhaul. Enough of sad, gloomy, dry, wintry days, here come the ever refreshing spring.
As I slowly descend from my rickshaw, admiring the driver’s skill to keep it running, despite blinding dust storm, I am surprised to find a tiny yellow flower blooming right next to my door, in the open, sandy area, separating land from drain. It is a delicate plant, with peculiar heart shaped leaves and frail looking stems. The green of leaves is soothing, the contrasting yellow charming. I am drawn towards the pea sized, five petal flower, as if in a trance. Its appearance is dainty, but even more surprising is the timing. In high noon, when the dust storms build up, almost everyone looks for shelter, but here is a fragile soldier of nature, standing tall against the harsh realities.
The more closely I observe nature, the more I become engrossed, looking for some connection with the wide open sky. As if following my mood, the light blue acquires a darker shade as the storm rises again, as if trying to strike a conversation. Of late the blazing Sun, the cool moon, the shining Stars, the fluffy Clouds, speak to me in hushed tones, enticing me towards a chasm, I have concealed, deep in my heart.
Oh My! Here I am, again lost in thoughts. I hurriedly brush off my musings and look for my mobile. Deftly focusing the camera on fine petals, I carefully take a photograph. For no reason, I am elated. It feels as if I have caught hold of an exquisite butterfly. Well, the exclusivity has a charm of its own. Isn’t it?
I am curious, curious to know its name, its origins, its character. And, as is usual, I ask my mother about it. I have an inkling that she knows about it. But, her memory and sight is not as sharp now as before, she recognizes it but is not able to say much. I Christen it as Dhool ke Phool literally Dust Flower and post the pic on Facebook, looking for some clues. And, surely I get a lot. Friends recognize it as Yellow Woodsorrel, a variety of commonly found Oxalis. Though, in India, it does have a special name, the Sourgrass aka Khatte Patte.
Yes, the plant is as peculiar as it looked at first, its leaves are edible and have an appealing sour taste. Kids love eating it for fun. And, as I talk about it, my mother also affirms, yes it is one of those plants, she cherished as a child. I am excited. The information pours on. It is a weed, generally growing profusely in moist, sandy places. And, as is the case with most weeds, it is often considered ill fit to thrive in gardens. And yet, these plants have their own niche. They are used to clean brass and copper utensils, the metal preferred by Indians for Puja(Prayers) and Religious Ceremonies.
I firmly believe that the eyes often behold what stirs the heart. The inner conscious does know where to connect and what to find. Serendipity is often synchronicity in disguise. And, here I am now observing Yellow Woodsorrels, my Dust Flowers, everywhere I go, tasting some and feeling a subtle connection with the Nature’s Soldier. Oh the Ways of Life!!