The majestic and mystical Nagalingam tree in the verdant Sri Ramana Ashram in Thiruvannamalai has had a deep impact on me.
Situated in the garden opposite the samadhi of the master, this tree is always profusely in bloom. The flowers are bright, big and pink in colour with yellow stamens that look a snake’s hood. Its fragrance mingled with that of the incense from the temple.
Couroupita guianensis or the Cannon Ball Tree is a native of the rainforests of Central and South America. The fruits look like a cannonball and have a hard outer shell with pulpy flesh and seeds inside.
In Hinduism and in Buddhism, this sacred tree has a special significance. This tree has an irresistible charm and I can gaze upon its beauty for minutes on end.
The other tree that left an indelible imprint is the grand old Flame of the Forest in our farmhouse in Appakudal village, near Bhavani town.
Butea monosperma is native to the tropical and subtropical parts of India and southeast Asia. Its bright scarlet flowers cover almost the entire tree when in bloom and signals the arrival of the fleeting Indian spring.
My sister and I would have just returned from boarding school and would spend hours playing in the veranda, watching this tree. Squirrels and birds would vie for space on its branches and its dense and thick foliage would provide a cool canopy for our house. Indeed, it made the burning summers more bearable.
It was a sentient and live air conditioner that continued to work 24x7.
Geeta Sridhar is an apex member of the environmental NGO Siruthuli