Indian Summer

I have been away from wordpress for so so long. Travel meant I couldn’t sit down and write a long post. So a collation of several posts on the Indian summer that I did on tumblr.

First up the most ubiquitous of summer (and spring) flowers, the jasmine.

In the east it is highly esteemed, and the Indian women braid it into their hair when they receive it from their lovers, inasmuch as it promises long affection. [X].

Excerpt on the jasmine. The kunda is a spring flower and varieties of jasmine bloom through spring and summer in the subcontinent.

And though symbolic of a romantic bond nothing at all to stop one from a solo enjoyment of its flowers in the hair:)

Artwork: 1. Deepal Kilewala, 2. Rohini, 3. Vilas Chormale.

The bougainvillea is an import, nevertheless ubiquitous as summer blooms.

The bougainvillea girls enter in a flock, like dragonflies at noon. Their sudden laughter peals over me. Warm salt waves that take the breath and pull you to drowning. They float through the musty dark of the store, glittery dustmotes on a ray of light. The Mistress of Spices, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. 

Pics: 1. DOT, Daizy and Tapushi 2. Peach, photographed by me 3. via tilfi 4. Via parama_g

Summer flowers and staying cool in Sanskrit poetry.

 

A crest of double jasmine nestles in her braid, fresh after bathing;
A necklace made of trumpet flowers pours coolness on her breast’
an acacia blossom, delicate of tip, adorns each ear
The summer offers its insignia
to a woman’s every limb. Madhusila [X]

Pics: 1. Laxmi Chhaya wearing jasmine 2.  bridal photography by Anbu Jawahar (flowers in pic not the Indian trumpet flower but suggestive of trumpet flowers) 3. detail from a Hemen Majumdar painting 4. Still from Kumki.

The fruit of the season, the ubiquitous mango. It’s blossoms appear in spring poetry and the fruiting tree in art and sculpture.

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In Sanskrit, mango has 63 names. Some of them are as follows : Kamashar, Madhavdruma, Bhrungubheeshta, Seedhurasa, Vasantdoota, Atisaurabha, Madirasav. [X]

The most common words in two ancient languages are: amra in Sanskrit and manga in Tamil……. Most languages have words for mango derived from amra or manga. [X]

Pics: 1. Salabhanjika at Sanchi where the tree is a mango tree 2. Detail from a miniature painting with a fruiting mango tree 3. Detail from a Kumaril Swamy painting 4. Snagging a Mango (2017), Aditi Raychoudhury.

And the jackfruit.

jackfruit

This is April.
The jackfruit tree that shines
like slashed gold at the touch of a chisel,
and the honey-mango tree that always tempts the hand
to carve a toy boat from its trunk,
will be shaking now
with, blossom, with fruit. [G. Sankara Kurup via X]

Though this artwork is related to Deepavali, the jackfruit is also a summer fruit.

Pic: 18th century miniature painting.

And lastly, my personal favourite. Summertime is jamun time. (wiki on jamun). But do not eat it with mangoes says the Sushruta Samhita:).

The luminescent beauty of Lord Krishna’s dark skin is compared to the shiny black fruit; just as a woman’s round, beautiful eyes is often poetically referred to as ‘jamuns’. The God of clouds – Lord Megha incarnated on earth as the jamun and that is why the colour of the fruit is like the stormy monsoon clouds. [X].

Pics: illustration of the jamun tree, Raag Megh Malhar, Jamun Kheer by kharakapas. 

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 18th century, 1930s, 1940s, 20th century, Ancient India, Art, contemporary fashion, costumes in art, Culture, fashion, Flora, Flowers, Flowers in Literature, India, Indian Aesthetics, indian art, Indian Costume, Indian Flora and Fauna, Indian Literature, Indian Women, miniature paintings, Paintings, Seasons, Women, women in art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Indian Summer

  1. You have made me very nostalgic – especially with the flowers in the hair.

    • Anu M says:

      Hi Aditi, it was your artwork that was the origin of this post – I saw it on tumblr and was so charmed! I love the piece, it set off a lot of thoughts on the season.

      I post a lot of flowers and they make me nostalgic too:)

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