Parijat3 mins 18.2K 3 mins 18.2K
The sweet smell of Parijat flowers titillates my senses from within. The small white flowers with a hue of orange holds a special place in my heart. "Parijat", as my maternal grandfather's (nanaji) bungalow was called, beckoned us every summer to its warm and cosy environs. We set out for Dehradun every summer bidding adieu to the cacophony of city life-Dehradun's tranquility a haven and the warmth of "Parijat" an icing on the cake.
It was an old rambling bungalow set amidst the vast mango and litchi orchards. Two benevolent Parijat trees flanking the obdurate bungalow gate on each side-two contrasting entities in the same vicinity-welcomed us in with a gentle shower of their flowers. My Nana-Nani awaited our arrival every year and indulged us with delicious jellies, mouth watering marmalade, yummy pickles, all home made infused with utmost love and affection. The backyard, a tended expanse of 100 square yards, bore a myriad variety fruits and veggies. It was a treat to pluck home grown chillies, cilantro, grapes, litchis, peaches, mangoes direct from the trees. One incident that still brings a smile on my face is that of a hot summer afternoon. We were a group of 5 cousins who gathered every summer at Parijat and spent our summer vacations together.
Lunch time was always special as it required all of us to squat on the short stools (patla in local dialect) and Nani (grandmother) would serve us steaming rice laden with lentil soup. We ate to our heart's content, each of us trying to outdo the other till we reached the the point where our bellies could take-in no more. Nani would eat in the end when she had finished serving one and all. On one such occasion, Nani sat down for lunch and beckoned one of us to pluck some green chillies from the backyard (she loved seasoning her lentil with some hot chillies). All hell broke lose, each one of us ran, pushing and shoving each other, in our bid to bring her the chillies first. There was mayhem, and all of us came and presented her with 3-4 chillies. So, there were 15-18 chillies in all. Instead of reprimanding us, she hugged each of us tight and took a bite from each chilly. It was a fair justice for us but so unfair for her as she burnt the insides of her mouth-her stance that it was a little price to pay for the love and affection of her grandchildren. What an example of selfless and unconditional love!!
There were hordes of activities that kept us busy in the daytime-from jumping on haystack, strolling around the canal, climbing the mango and guava trees or simply plucking litchis and peaches, Parijat and its precinct never offered a dull moment. Night time was special as we would chase the fireflies, trap them and release them in the bolted dark room, located at the corner of the bungalow. After collecting 10-15 fireflies, we would sneak in and enjoy watching the natural light show. The twinkling fireflies looked so pretty in the dark room.
As our summer vacations came to an end, every year Nana-Nani would give us a teary farewell. Nani would see us off with a little package of things: a jar of mango pickles, a bottle of sweet lime pickle, a bundle of hand knitted sweater or muffler she had knitted years before. Just as we left the gated premises, the Parijat tree also seemed to be shedding its flowers as if giving its share of farewell.