Where are the buraas ke phool?


By: Eesha Duggal

Living and growing up in Shimla  feels like being Mogli of Jungle Book sometimes. Born in the building, somewhere, in the jungles, then playing in the woods, climbing every possible tree, running at the site of monkeys, building a temporary house of ‘ghaas-phoos’, being friends with every stray dog around, doing crazy stuff all day and eating ‘rasbarees‘, ‘kashmal‘ and yes, how can I forget our favourite flowers rhododendrons.

With the advent of spring every year, we used to get really excited about the blooming of these reddish maroon juicy flowers with white stamen. Though langurs and monkeys left only some flowers on the branches, but it relieved us as kids that some are still left. By the mid of April, trees used to get laden with huge flowers. All birds enjoyed them and specially green colour parrots and red of rhododendron complemented each other really well.

These flowers were the best feature of spring. And yes, they tasted great. People around used to extract juice from it, some used it as yet another type of ‘chattni‘, back in the summer of 1999 (and before that also). When bidding goodbye, spring promised its return with greenery, lemon sunshine and buraas ke phool.

But with the passage of time, their growth has diminished to a critical extent and this year there were hardly any rhododendrons in Shimla. In  previous years, very few grew in late May which was quite surprising (2007 being the exception),  just like snow in Shimla on 1st of March, 2007! Oh my God!

But this year,  they were faintly spotted. Even the woods near Summer Hill and Boileuganj, in Shimla, abundant in rhododendron trees were standing without their spring ornaments on. With the rapid change in the weather, destruction of jungles and construction of human jungles, killing of animals, pollution and growing disregard for Mother Earth in some ignorant minds, this consequence is certainly not a surprise.

But whatever!!  Don’t know, if we can  help these trees  attain their pride again but who would want buraas ke phool to be a tale of passè for the future generation, “Once upon a time, there was a flower….”

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  1. Pretty right there…

    I'd spotted them for the first time while on our way to school as we passed thru the lanes of Bharari. At that time, some fie to six years back, the lanes used to be filled with these red flowers but this year I spotted just one or two flowers hardly…

    Nice writeup Eesha

  2. nowadays people have forgot the nature's show like this… they are more interested in other ordinary things in life…

  3. Yup.. that was vintage Shimla

    Remember as a kid used to go to the Sanjouli Road and collect the booty. The trees around Boys college and the hawaghar nearby were our favorite joints as they were easier to climb to. I was too small, a bachha to climb those trees. One of the bhaiyya from the neighborhood would climb up and would collect all the buras ke phool. Once the booty collected mom used to prepare juice out of it.

    Ah.. nostalgia! the good ol days.

    Brilliantly written story. Congratulations

  4. Very imaginitive beginning.. being grown up in Shimla we actually do a lot of Mogli acts..Nice writeup Eesha.

  5. Nice work Eesha!

    We have now unfortunately come to an age where most of the things in the nature will make us feel amazed and shocked sometimes..

    Forget about the “typical” WHITE CHRISTMAS of Shimla, I think we are moving towards a time when it will be more likely to see snowfall in May-June, precipitation in October-November and no rainfall in June, July & August.

    The climate systems have changed so drastically in past five decades and it doesn’t seem to come to a halt even if we take CONCRETE ACTIONS to fight against climate change. BUt still, to make the future safer for our coming generations, we must act now.

    I work for a voluntary organization ‘PARIWARTAN’ over similar things. We are aiming to promote focused individuals and groups who want to contribute effectively towards the protectino of nature & environment as well as the welfare of the marginalized communities.

    With regards,


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