Last week, I was waiting outside my daughter’s school gate.  The city had just about woken up and was steadily rushing to meet the day. I too had an agenda and hence was armed. I carefully held the mean machine, took aim and shot. He did not utter a word but stood majestic as he had always been. Intricately entwined, he intrigued me for I had seen none other like him. I didn’t know his name, so I made a mental note to ask Google for an introduction.  
 
Fortunately for me, Bhavana posted a picture on FB of a similar tree she had shot at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. That’s where I learnt the name of the tree was Nagamani. Asking Google for a favour was now easy.
 
 
 
Scientifically known as Couroupita guianensis, it is also called as the Cannon Ball Tree is what I learnt. Thank you Wikipedia. I just realised that if I had to type a search, I’d probably look for ‘an Indian tree with flowers coming out of the trunk.’ One of the images led me here. It’s amazing how the thirst for knowledge can never be quenched. It however does  refresh you, from time to time. Discovering the identity of this tree did that for me.
   
 
If you look closely, the flower does look like the hood of the snake (naga) protecting the gem (mani) or the shivalingam as popular belief.

  

This Nagamani tree is a part of the ordinary cityscape that I live in. Many mothers stand beneath this tree every day. They wait for their precious ones to leave from yet another day at school. Maybe they know. Maybe they don’t. But the Nagamani does not differentiate. He provides shade to everyone oblivious to his stoic presence. And to those who tie a garland in devotion, he promises to protect in peril.

 

 
Disclaimer : All pictures belong to the author and may not be used in any form.
 
 
 

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