An marvelous bloom of India
|Jasmine, the queen of summer
Jasmine, the queen of Indian summer is easily my favorite flower. My eyes stay on the jasmine bush for long minutes enjoying their pristine whiteness and the round little shape and breathe in their matchless fragrance. Like stars full of glee and glitter, they bloom thick all over the bush or vine, the two varieties of the jasmine plant. They look like home-made butter globs, pure white and winsome sitting on each stem ready to be picked and use worthily. Their fragrance is heady but not intoxicating.
The scent of Jasmine wafts on the night's air to my bedroom-window and works on me like a sleep-inducing agent. I fall asleep inhaling the pleasant smell. At night under a moonlit sky, the beauty of the white blooms is beyond words. One has to see it to believe. It is as if several fairies are smiling and beckoning you.
Jasmine evokes an atmosphere of love and romance.
Songs of love are composed in many regions of the country, wherein the lover persuades the pretty girl to come to the jasmine grove for a rendezvous, while he waits for her with bated breath and a loving heart. The cuckoo in the nearby orchard serenades the lovers.
Jasmine is the most preferred flower in Indian weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and festivals. It is best suited for decoration and worship in the temples of India. It is considered auspicious in the Indian culture.
Jasmine flowers and leaves are of great significance in the ayurvedic medicine of India. I have seen an oil therapist using them for making his oil. Its leaves are edible for medical purposes.
The bridal chambers and the bridal cars are decorated with garlands of seasonal flowers with a special emphasis on the jasmine.
Almost every house boasts of having a jasmine bush or vine in their yards. Its flowers are picked in the morning for worshiping the household deities. It is supposed bring wealth and weal to the family. Some jasmine vines live for generations if carefully nurtured.
I remember the day I got the jasmine saplings. Shan, a student of the college, where I worked for sometime, brought a couple of them for me. They have now grown to full blooming bushes. I have a jasmine vine too that yields big white variety of flowers.
He mentioned that his family had a jasmine farm. In summer jasmine blooms are harvested almost every day. Many hands are employed for the picking of flowers. The flowers have great demand in the wholesale markets.
Out of curiosity and love for the flower, I visited Shan’s farm, during summer holidays.
I was amazed at the sight of the farm. My eyes met with an ocean of jasmine flowers in full bloom. As I walked through the well-laid center paths and edge ways, their fragrance swirled around in whorls. The cloudless white sky appeared to be bending on the farm just to kiss the up-turned delicate flowers.
We sat in the small shelter on the bank of the farm. Sham got us glasses of fresh and cool coconut water. Sipping the delicious drink, I asked him how he and his father managed the farm.
“Ma’am, our state, Andhra Pradesh is one of the Indian states that cultivates jasmine for commercial purposes. Jasmine originated in Arabia, actually. Its name was Yasmin before it changed to jasmine.
“Is your soil suitable for jasmine cultivation?”
“Definitely, yes. Our soil is a mix of sand, silt and clay, which is known as loam soil. It has the ability to hold water for long and then drain slowly. It is rich in nutrients and minerals and loose enough to let the roots spread and grow strong. This is the kind of soil, jasmine crop requires. My family has allotted an acre for the jasmine plantation. We have eight thousand bushes, each separated by two or three feet. Irrigation is not a problem with the jasmine crop. We water the crops once in every fifteen days with the help sprinklers and tubes. Weeding is essential for plentiful growth. Pest should be kept at bay.
Sham’s father joined us after sometime. He holds a degree in agriculture. And the son is following his example. Jasmine will be in the family for a long time to come, I mused. Sham introduced his father.
“ Nanna, (Telugu term for father) this is our language teacher Miss. Anu. She wanted to see the flower farm.”
“Namaste, Ma’am,” he said with folded hands. He seems to have a lot of respect for teachers.
“ How do you do sir?” I responded.
“Doing fine Madam. Thankfully, there is a lot of demand for jasmine.”
“Where do you get your orders from, if I may ask?”
“Sure madam. Usually, orders arrive from wedding parties and hotel owners. Sometimes householders ask for a few kilos of flowers for a function or an occasion to celebrate.”
“How do you sell them if there are no orders?”
“In that case, we send the flowers to the whole sale marketeers, who sell them to the buyers from the cities and towns around.”
So, there is no dearth of buyers for jasmine, I guessed. I am convinced that its popularity and commercial value are never going to fade.
Dusk is about to fall. The sun started sinking slowly into the Eastern Ghats. It’s time to say goodbye to the flowers and flower keepers.
“Shan tells me you love Jasmine. Thanks for visiting us,” said the gentleman handing me a beautiful bouquet of jasmines and roses skillfully woven. The white of the jasmine and yellow of the roses made an endearing combination, filling the evening air with their sensory appeal. Memories of that sweet summer visit to the floral farm lasted long.
Word Count: 960
Written for World Weavers’ Championship hosted by Nana Spindle