Saturday, March 8, 2008

Indian flowers

We went for our usual 5:00 pm walk today, even though it had just been drizzling. It's getting too good to stay indoors. My daughter leaves a trail behind her - her socks, her sandals. If she were ever lost in the woods like Hansel and Gretel, this is how I'd trace her, not by breadcrumbs, but her pink socks and those velcro'ed sandals.

Our home is on one tip of a triangle formed by three roads. In the winters from the main road, you can see our apartment in the distance. Now it's too green to be able to see far. When I wait for the bus, I often have to duck down under the low cherry branches to check if one is actually coming.

I took the longer route today, walking uphill towards the middle school, instead of doubling back the way I came. Somewhere near the wild growth on the roadside I smelt a mild fragrance that reminded me of home. I peered, and found something that smelt like jasmine, but didn't look like it. There were whole bushes of it, low on the ground, instead of the stubby, rounded shrubs back home. The fragrance wasn't as intense, but I think the rains had washed some of the intensity away. When we were younger, flower vendors would pick the buds early in the morning, string the jasmine pearls into garlands and come selling them - all by 8:00 in the morning. We'd wait till evening, and when they would just begin to blossom, we'd pin the garlands around [url=]our plaits[/url]. (Not me of course, but you get the picture, what the Tamil ideal of beauty is.)

As young, unmarried girls we were expected to wear flowers in our hair, a bindi on the forehead, and jewellery around the neck and hands, which should never be bare. I used to rail against these things when I was younger, couldn't wait to get out of my orthodox family's clutches so I could wear jeans and shorts, but now I deck up in my Indian clothes every occasion I get :)

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