Butterflies and Jasmine.

When I wrote my post on The Butterfly I did not mention why the butterflies come into our garden. My friend and regular commentator Sandeep reminded me to make amends with his comment: “A similar looking butterfly seems to have made our garden its home. It seems to be partial to the jasmine flower, for some reason.” I shall post photographs of Sandeep’s garden soon.

We too have a few jasmine bushes which have been allowed to grow as hedges along the fence that borders our compound. The butterflies must be coming for these.  The photograph above is a close up and here are two other photographs:

Both the photographs were taken early in the morning, from the veranda where we sit to have our tea, read the newspapers etc. The top photograph shows the plants covering the North West corner of our compound and the lower one shows the jasmine flowers that have fallen on the paved ground. We have paved the garden rather than have a lawn as we keep moving potted plants around. The gaps between the stone slabs had thick grass growing which we have mowed down for the monsoon. Fresh grass will now sprout and cover the gaps with thick green colour soon.

The jasmine flower is blessed with a heady scent. When the breeze is from the right direction, the veranda and part of the living room immediately behind it get the scent and it is unbelievably enticing.

The jasmine flower is used to make garlands and the garlands are worn by many Indian women in their hair as an aid to beauty and for the perfume.

In the good old days (ahem!) we had an institution called the mujhra to which men of refinement would go in the evenings for some entertainment – the Indian equivalent of a night club! They would inevitably be welcomed inside by the Madam, with a garland tied around their wrists from long strands of jasmine stringed together.
The men would lounge around on thick mattresses on the floor, spread around the periphery of a hall and the dancers would dance in the center. The men would keep smelling the jasmine tied around their wrists in the belief that it enhanced their perception! Here is a very popular mujra scene from a famous Hindi film. You can see some of the patrons with the jasmine flowers on their wrists.

The Butterfly.

Last Friday, I sat in my favourite garden chair in our veranda in the afternoon having my tea and was also absorbed in reading a book at the same time. A butterfly looking very much like the one pictured above, came gently and sat on my forearm resting on the arm of the chair. I stopped reading and drinking the tea lest it gets disturbed and enjoyed watching it slowly fluttering its wings for quite some time before it flew away.

Pune is partly located in the Western Ghats, our mountain ranges in the Western part of India. This is home to many varieties of butterflies and many are very rare. For those interested, this site will give some fascinating information.

When Urmeela was alive, she used to sit in our verandah during the day time besides the early mornings when both of us would sit there having our morning tea. I used to join her sometimes in the day time too, when I had nothing calling for my attention inside the house. On many occasions, both of us have had butterflies sit on some part of our bodies and we would always be very happy when that happened.

Since her passing away, this was the first time when this happened and I went through a period of intense longing for those days. It is difficult to explain that particular experience, but it was like as though she had come in the form of the butterfly to give me a message. Vivid imagination, I said to myself, rather than a paranormal experience! Ashok, I hope you do not mind!

What about you? Have you had some extraordinary experiences like this?