Flowers have always had a mesmerising effect on me but I never thought that the sight of ‘ilenji’ flowers could excite me so.
This seemingly humble, creamish white, tiny, hairy flower was capable of bringing forth a flood of nostalgic memories and emotions.
The millennials and kids of today may not relate to it but I’m sure that those romantics born in the sixties, seventies and eighties, would have memories of these trees standing tall in the compounds of churches and temples and would not be able to resist the charm of these ilanji flowers.
The memories of making garlands and bracelets and wearing them unabashedly in our hair and around our necks and wrists, now bring a smile to my face and brighten my day.
And yesterday, as I chanced upon this carpet of tiny flowers scattered under this tropical greenwood tree, my enthusiasm new no bounds.
But the charming part of picking up the flowers from under the tree was that I got help.
No, not from kids but from the adults, who were around.
The setting sun last eve, might have beamed with amusement to see this rare sight of a retired colonel, an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor, a housewife and a teacher diligently gathering ilanji flowers.
I consider myself lucky, for I am able to rejoice in these simple pleasures and for being the trigger to bring up a rush of forgotten memories in those around me.
And just like the ilanji flowers, that fade in a day, our freshness, youth and charm may be fleeting.
But like it’s slightly pungent, sweet fragrance, that can remain for a long long time, even after it dries, we can preserve our innate happiness and spread cheer as we move on in life, inspite of the hard knocks.
By Annie Cyriac