Sunday, July 13, 2014

Where are the blue flowers in your bouquet?

When I was a journalist(aw, there I go again), doing features, I had  the luxury (imagine, in  the good old Times of India which is pretty bureaucratic) of choosing the stories I worked on (being in the newest Features section of the Sunday TOI). So I would write from disappearing anti-biotics(when there was a epidemic scare back then), to child marriage by Arabs in Hyderabad,   to sudden appearance of yellow butterflies in Mumbai. I fondly remember the late Frank Simoes, ad guru, sending me a letter saying that how in the pall that was journalism my writing and choice of subjects was different and heartening (or something to do that effect). I cherished that letter for years, till, in the shift that has been my life, it got burned in a huge fire at my home.. I threw all my three big folders of bylines and my whole life as a writer into the other charred remains, and since then, up till now, looked only towards yoga.

Any case, I had written, years ago, on the Little Yellow suddenly dancing all over Mumbai.. it was a sudden beautiful thing, one summer. But nowadays I hardly see butterflied, though I fix orange rinds on my window sill (it is said to attract them).  But they are rare..I have seen the Monarch, large and majestic. And at the two nurseries near by (one at the Bandra Talao) you can still see large butterflies, attracted by the cluster of vigorous plants and flowers. ,, but that is just a rare freak thing..

Any case, this blog is about the next best thing to butterflies, flowers, even if they do not grow on my window sill -- if there is too much of a cementy dust, from excessive construction activity, the pores on the leaves seem to get smothered. I realize it is very difficult to maintain a terrace garden in Bandra ..

Last month I got an urge to keep a blue flower in my room. Usually I buy Rajnigandha for its intoxicating fragrance. If you cut the stem often and refresh the water, you can make it last all of one week, with the fragrance still spilling into your space.It costs just Rs 20 a stem, and is the most affordable from amongst the other exotica.  But I wanted a blue flower or a purple one. I hunted high and low, and the only flower with both shades that I could find in all florists was the blue orchid, which costs a whopping lot. 100/120 bucks for one stem. I had no choice but got it-- but though it had no fragrance, it lasted a long long while, its petals turgid and firm, and the color unfading and still magically glowing. I was amazed how long it lasted and understood why it was a favorite part of many large bouquets.

The point is most florists have a stock number of flowers -- roses in plenty, mostly in red, yellows, pinks and whites. No blues. The white flower line-up -- Queen's lace, lily, gladioli, gerbera. Of the last three again, there are several shades -- but usually the more popular yellow, orange.  Go and check the florist closest to you and you will see what I say is so true -- these are the dominant colors, not with shifting shades, but with strong monochromatic colors.  Barring the orchid, which u can get in one more shade, you will not find any blue flower with your florist. That was quite an eye-opener for me!

There is no third-eye (ajna chakra) representation in the floral bouquets of India. Have you seen blue flower themes at weddings? At other major events?! Most likely not. It is intriguing, , this avoidance of a color which is said to represent loyalty, trust, dependability.

No blue bells, no blue roses, no hydrangea, though you will find the nurseries do sell hydrangea plants with the large globes of blue.. that that is ok in the garden, but not in your bouquet..

And the blue orchid also, if you look at it properly, is more of a pinkish shade.. not quite purple(another color sorely missing with the florists) and not so blue except in photos..

I am curious if the rest of the major cities are also hung up about only white, yellow, pink, red colors for bouquets, wedding decors and parties..

And if the change happens, when blue flowers are more easily available,  will I still be around? Or will -- till then -- be required to  make do with a painting or a paper copy of a blue flower..

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