Parijata

Adansona digitata is the botanical name of this flower. Parijata is what my grandmother called it. Prajukta, shefali, shagufta call it any name.
Beautiful white with a coral orange stalk. I am seeing this after nearly twenty two years. When I set my eyes on this I am back to my child hood. Though then the tree did not seem as fascinating as I could not climb it like I could climb the sampige tree next to it.
My grandmother Singari used to tell me that it bloomed after Ganga Dussehra and that it was brought down to earth by Arjuna for his mother Kunti. Since I did not know Ganga Dussehra then it did not matter.
My maternal great aunt Kitta-doddamma my teacher of tulu folklore told me this was a tree that emerged during the samudra manthan or churning of the great ocean.
Then there was this famous movie Sri Krishna Parijata, made from a Yakshagana prasanaga Parijatha Parinaya. Where Krishna helps Indra win a war and when Indra asks him what I can give you in return Sathyabhama Krishna’s wife asks for the Parijata tree in Queen Sachi’s garden. Indra refuses, leading to a battle between Krishna and Indra and eventually Krishna bringing it for his wife.
I remember my older cousin Ahalya patiently collecting the flowers stringing them with either thread or stringing them through a broomstick, as the flower had a visible hollow. My pleasure was in breaking the string. She would not be perturbed and my mission would be foiled.
During my teenage years for awhile stringing the parijatha into my earrings or wearing them round my neck was interesting. Unfortunately they would wither in an hour.
Today when I looked at the Parijata, the childish sibling rivalry gone, it brings a smile, reminds me of the calm presence in my life my lovely sister Ahalya.

Adansona digitata is the botanical name of this flower. Parijata is what my grandmother called it. Prajukta, shefali, shagufta call it any name.
Beautiful white with a coral orange stalk. I am seeing this after nearly twenty two years. When I set my eyes on this I am back to my child hood. Though then the tree did not seem as fascinating as I could not climb it like I could climb the sampige tree next to it.
My grandmother Singari used to tell me that it bloomed after Ganga Dussehra and that it was brought down to earth by Arjuna for his mother Kunti. Since I did not know Ganga Dussehra then it did not matter.
My maternal great aunt Kitta-doddamma my teacher of tulu folklore told me this was a tree that emerged during the samudra manthan or churning of the great ocean.
Then there was this famous movie Sri Krishna Parijata, made from a Yakshagana prasanaga Parijatha Parinaya. Where Krishna helps Indra win a war and when Indra asks him what I can give you in return Sathyabhama Krishna’s wife asks for the Parijata tree in Queen Sachi’s garden. Indra refuses, leading to a battle between Krishna and Indra and eventually Krishna bringing it for his wife.
I remember my older cousin Ahalya patiently collecting the flowers stringing them with either thread or stringing them through a broomstick, as the flower had a visible hollow. My pleasure was in breaking the string. She would not be perturbed and my mission would be foiled.
During my teenage years for awhile stringing the parijatha into my earrings or wearing them round my neck was interesting. Unfortunately they would wither in an hour.
Today when I looked at the Parijata, the childish sibling rivalry gone, it brings a smile, reminds me of the calm presence in my life my lovely sister Ahalya.

3 Replies to “Parijata”

  1. Yep, the Krishn story has another aspect. He got the tree for Rukmini, so Satyabhama got jealous. To solve the issue, wise Krishna planted the tree in Satyabhama’s orchard, but the flowers fell into Rukmini’s garden. Both happy!

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