Dillenia indica

  I am participating in the April AtoZ Blogging challenge and my theme is Plants featured on Indian Stamps. This is my eight attempt at the AtoZ. 

My theme is inspired by an online talk by Daniel L Nikrent of Cornell University, USA  held by Maharashtra Vriksha Samvardhini about Parasitic Flowering Plants featured on Stamps

I am not a stamp collector nor a fan of stamps. Hence almost all my posts are purely based on research on the internet. I have tried to cross check the info before posting here. Please do share correct info and links to the same in case of discrepancy. 

India Post has a very strong network reaching deep deep into the interiors of the country and I depended on it for news from home when we were posted in far away places.  In this age of smartphones, Internet, how many of us really write letters – snail mail as they are now called?

 Despite this , I find that new stamps are being issued and we have stamps on diverse topics including Armed Forces, Films, Personalities, Wildlife, Handlooms, Handicrafts and so on.. It is amazing!

D has a unique flower namely Dillenia indica of the Dilleniaceae family. It is a native tree and the large downward facing fragrant flowers are quite uniquely shaped. Its leaves are very beautiful being dark green, with a serrate margin and deeply impressed veins. While earlier, it is was not very common in Pune, now I see is very often in gardens and even roadsides. 

Here is an image of its leaf and flower from my collection.


Here is the stamp with the lovely Dillenia flower on it. It was issued in 2005 and its denomination is 5 INR. Category: Commemorative (Flora and Fauna of North East India)

Post of India, GODL-India https://data.gov.in/sites/default/files/Gazette_Notification_OGDL.pdf, via Wikimedia Commons

The India Postage Stamps website  has a complete catalogue of stamps. Please click the link to see many many wonderful stamps.

Colnect is a comprehensive portal for Stamp collectors. It gives detailed information about every listed stamp.  Click here for detailed info about Stamps – what is a stamp, types, formats, water marks, perforations and much more. 

Do visit tomorrow for some more beautiful plants on stamps. 

Till then, Take Care and Stay Happy!

Feast (ThursdayTreeLove)

Instead of a tree growing in the open, today I have my Bonsai tree for you. We call it Wax but botanically it is the Ehretia microphylla or Fukien Tea. It belongs to the Boranginaceae family and I have seen it growing in the Andamans but its ‘cousin’ Ehretia laevis does grow in Pune. Its shiny small leaves make it a perfect species for Bonsai. My tree is a Shohin and the reason I post it today is that currently it is fruiting and is a big attraction for local birds.

Shiny dark green leaves. Buds and fruit on the plant. Birds leave the green raw fruit alone.
The red ripe fruit is irresistible to Sunbirds! Its about the size of a grain of Toor Dal.
A pair of Sunbirds feast on the fruits!

Here is my tree in case you are curious… It is about 10″ tall.

My plant is still Work In Progress especially the Apex.

Fruit on my Cherry Bonsai

The same species that I saw in the Andamans
Thats Cherry on my Bonsai and Bulbuls love it. However the green raw ones are left untouched and once ripened the Bulbus unerringly feast on it.. You can see a half eaten cherry here!

We are a small group of Bonsai Moms and shower our trees with love and care. As you can see, the trees reciprocate by blooming and fruiting profusely which in turn is a feast for birds and insects. And a source of immense joy and satisfaction for us.

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see fantastic plants from around the world. Better still, join in.

Well Settled (ThursdayTreeLove)

Today, my tree is not really a tree.. its a woody perennial climber that grows huge thick trunks that almost look like tree trunks. Its very well known for its flowers and very common all over India. This non-native species has made itself at home and seems very happy judging by the profuse flowering we see.

Well settled as it were!

The flamboyant blossoms are not fragrant but are a sight to behold. Strangely its ‘petals’ are not really petals but bracts. Its fruit is said to be an achene but I have not yet seen one.

I am sure by now you have guessed which plant I refer to.

Yes…. Its the Bougainvillea!

The plant belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family and the Bougainvillea glabra is a common species B spectabilis is another.

What a wonderful roof cover!
Just a few of the glorious colours!
The Pink bracts enclose the white flower!
India Posts has issued a stamp to honour this plant.

Some Bougainvillea variants lend themselves to being made into Bonsai and are popular among Bonsai artists in India. Here is wonderful Bonsai by Master Nacho Marin as it put up on the Bonsai Empire website.

A stunning Bonsai by Master Nacho Marin .. Image uploaded via a link from the Bonsai Empire Website
This is a Bougainvillea bonsai by late Mrs Mandakini Malaviya . Photo added on 15/1/21

Where have you seen the Bougainvillea? Which colours have you seen? Have you spotted the double coloured cultivars?

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Do head over to see fantastic trees from around the world. Better still join in!


Photo by Daniela Constantini on Pexels.com

The incessant whistle of the cooker woke her up. Her mind was whizzing as put her thoughts into perspective. Five years of hope and hard work that did not yield results.

Ever since leaving school, it had been her dream to become an IAS officer. With single minded dedication she had prepared for the exams. This was her last attempt at the coveted Civil Services entrance exams. She could not make it through the Prelims  in her first attempt but progressively improved to reach the Interview stage by her third attempt.

She consoled herself that things could only become better. Yet the next two years saw her unable to ace the interviews. No amount of coaching or studying or motivation or morale boosting seemed to help cross the final hurdle. Time seemed to be running out as she would be reaching the age cut-off for her category. 

She gave in to her parents demand and  got married.

This final attempt was simply to appease her conscience that every opportunity had been taken up. She was unsure how her new family would react to her dream.

But she was in for a huge surprise.

He took complete control and let her concentrate on her goal. Not a single problem however trivial reached her. She gave all she had to this attempt. Whenever she did find some free time, both of them went for long walks. He introduced her to Classical music. Occasionally they played Rummy.

She felt calm and confident and optimistic. A new job awaited her.

“There’s coffee for you.  I am making Alu Parantha for breakfast. Come on….the website should have the results soon.”

So saying her husband of one year opened the Laptop.

I am joining Vinitha in her Fiction Monday series using the Photo prompt.

The Will

The paper was blank but Meena’s mind was full of thoughts.. What should she write.. They had a Talk on making a Will and all residents of the Elder Home were encouraged to do so. She had been living here for the last ten years. All said and done she was fairly comfortable. Food, company, medical help and entertainment was quite good.

Nothing to complain really.

Meena had sizeable assets that logically had to be willed to avoid disputes later.

What should she do? Did her two sons deserve anything after the way they had shunted her off to this Home? Sonam was more worthy according to Meena.

She did not remember when she last met her sons. Of late even the video calls had stopped. She consoled herself, that her elder one was busy in his career.. after all he would soon be the MD of his company. The younger one had become a father for the second time and naturally all his free time was spent with his kids.

Sonam had been their neighbour and was the only one who visited regularly. Just chatting with her was the bright point of Meena’s week. They spoke about old times, movies, current happenings, her work. Sonam was to be a mother soon and they had booked a new flat. Meena planned to make some baby clothes for the little one.

Over the years, Sonam became the daughter she never had. The two had become quite close.

Her eyes were moist as she looked back at her life. Was blood thicker than water? Her confusion over, Meena picked up the pen and began writing her Will…

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I am joining Vinitha in her Fiction Monday series using the above photo prompt and word prompt ‘remember’.

The Envelope

Photo by Roman Koval on Pexels.com

It lay there on the table, untouched for a week, a seemingly innocent envelope that had become a huge source of discomfort to her. Whoever said letters got lost in transit was obviously wrong, as this envelope had travelled five cities – each time redirected via multiple addresses in hope of finding her.

P Shrikant, Delhi was clearly the original sender of the letter.

The name triggered memories of a tightly shut past. Why would he contact her after six years?

Six years ago she got married and left Delhi and severed all connections.

With Shrikant and all her college friends.

The graduation years were marked by a host of activities and Shrikant was always with her. They studied together, travelled together, and competed for the top spot. She felt there was something beyond friendship between them but was not sure if Shrikant reciprocated. Neither of them spoke and going with her family’s flow she married the chosen Boy as soon as her final year exams were over.

A clean cut was the best to settle into her role as a wife.

She was happy and content now.

A hundred possibilities crossed her mind. What if he wanted to reconnect… Was she ready to go on that road?

Her husband was curious about her sudden agitation. Who is he? Why don’t you open it?

Finally, she did.

With trembling hands, she unfolded the single sheet.

The envelope held her BSc Degree that Shrikant had collected from the University and sent to her last known address.

I am joining Vinitha in her Fiction Monday series.

Wall Flowers (Wordless Wednesday)

What do you see when you walk on the road? For me, the no brainer answer is Trees but very often it’s flowers that catch my eye.

Night blooming flowers may fall down and decorate a compound wall. These Wall Flowers make the structure more beautiful!!

I am sure you will agree!!!

These beauties last only till the Sun comes up!
Fragrant !
The lovely Plumeria!
Morning harvest! Flowers and PC Nilima (Hibiscus, and Magnolia champaca)
I am joining Natasha in the Wordless Wednesday Bloghop

Henna (ThursdayTreeLove)

Today I have a Shrub instead of a Tree but I am sure all of you will enjoy this plant!

The title has been the spoiler so no surprises about the identity.

Yes, these delicate flowers are of the Henna or Mehendi plant. Botanically called Lawsonia inermis, it belongs to the Lythraceae family (that is the family of Crape Myrtles). It is a native and evergreen species.

In my childhood days, I remember it was grown as a hedge plant – I was told that the leaves are bitter hence goats, cows stayed away. However neighbourhood girls always managed to pluck the leaves, grind them on stones and apply the paste on our hands. The red colour was sufficient attraction.. the design was simple – a circle in the centre of the palm and capping the ends of the fingers. There was no thought of making designs.

That’s my plant.. still very young..
Fruit of Mehendi

I do remember we used to put a dot on the forehead.. this is one part where Mehendi does not colour the skin.. the story was if the forehead skin took up the colour then that girl would be a Queen!

No… mine never did colour!

Over the years, this way of putting Mehendi has ended.. readymade Mehendi cones have replaced ground leaves and designs are elaborate.

I am not complaining.. I love the colour and the fragrance that Mehendi leaves on our hands!

Besides India, Mehendi is also used as body art is several countries. We also use it as a hair conditioner and to colour hair.

Here are a few images of Mehendi as body art.

On the top left, the artist is at work! The Peacock and Lotus are popular design elements.

I am sure most of you would be familiar with Henna/Mehendi .. Have you seen the shrub?

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Priya had been thrilled to take up the Salon offer. Four sittings for the price of two. An unbelievable deal. At twice a month, she need not look for deals for their upcoming 30th anniversary. She could confidently accept compliments like “you look as if you were married yesterday!”

Appearances had unknowingly become a priority… and she had given in.. As an active member of the Tea party, Cocktail, Kitty circuit; she felt as if she had to look young 24X7.

But of late, this was becoming too strenuous. Suddenly the fine lines needed extra effort to be hidden and the greys appeared faster. Fatigue was setting in. In her fight with Age, the latter seemed to have the upper hand.

Priya was tempted to stop these frequent Salon visits but lacked the will power.

And then, out of the blue, the Lockdown happened. Everything was shut. Salons. Gyms. No parties either.

That meant her wonderful Salon discount could not be used.

After a few weeks of hesitation, she gathered courage to look at her reflection.

The fine lines and greys did not laugh at her.

When she smiled, they smiled back at her.

Suddenly the mirror became her friend as did Aging.

I am joining Vinitha in her Fiction Monday series using the word prompt Mirror.

Reflections on 2020 AprilAtoZ

Reflection #atozchallenge 2020

Hello! This is my seventh attempt at the April AtoZ blogging challenge and my was Experiences of a first time grandmother! 
Some sweet, salty moments and learnings! 
In case you have missed out, you can catch up here
Congratulations to all awesome bloggers who have completed this challenge. This year is unique as all of us around the world are facing the Covid19 pandemic. 

Luckily, the Internet Gods were kind enough to allow me to schedule, post and comment on many posts. The AtoZ master list listed 510 participants and 89 bloggers revealed their theme on the #BlogchatterAtoZ Theme reveal and I saw 144 awseome posts on the first of April!! Obviously I still have a lot of catching up to do, something that is top of my to-do list. 

I had delayed my decision to participate (its my seventh attempt) and once I did, I went into a frenzy of writing and managed to schedule all my posts much ahead of time. Y turned out to be most difficult and I was gasping for ideas till the last day! My posts were not image-intensive as it was more about my feelings and emotions and I did not make the effort of looking up memes to accompany the posts. Does it indicate a certain weariness? I cant say really! 

Visitors to my blog were generous with their comments and I Thank all of you! Even if you have not commented! 😉

Across all the challenge, I saw the popular themes related to writing, books, travel, cooking and best of all, I found 4 blogs about babies/kids and one by a grandmother one about future grandkids!! Yay! I was not alone!! 

Here they are..

This post is incomplete without mentioning Quilting Patch Applique by Frederique.. She posted outstanding quilting work and has even suggested an awesome knitting site that I plan to sign up for soon. Thanks Frederique!

A couple of wonderful Nature related blogs..

As in earlier AtoZ challenges, Keith’s Ramblings by Keith Hillman and Canvas with Rainbow by Anagha Yatin were outstanding with their fiction.  

The Lockdown has been extended in India as we try to accept an upcoming new normal in our lives.. that of always wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitisers. Greeting by way of Namaste and washing hands and feet have traditionally been a part of our lifestyle and I am glad the entire world is now adopting it. 

I pray that this calamity ends soon. 
I hope all you of are healthy and safe in your part of the world. 

Take care everyone!
It was nice meeting you all and reading your thoughts. 
Lets stay in touch! 

Stay Home! Stay Safe!

Here are links to my previous AtoZ attempts. 
2013 Mixed Bag
2014 Exercising For Fitness
2015 Gardens of Pune
2016 Herbs
2018 Contemporary A to Z
2019 Caring for the Caregiver