The White Hibiscus

My whole life I had seen only red/pink hibiscus in Varanasi. It was a pleasantly shocking discovery for me when I first saw the white hibiscus at Water World in Udaipur. It was a kind of sublime feeling that can’t be explained to those who have grown up seeing white, yellow, orange etc. hibiscus around them. To reach even remotely close to the feeling, one has to be first deprived of that beautiful sight, and then suddenly come upon it: a la Wordsworthian daffodils. So, the unseen flower was seen from the first time, and the urge to acquire the plant was sown in my mind’s soil. It grew roots there and established itself securely.

I was walking from Pulla side towards Bhuwana when I saw a plant bearing a white hibiscus. It was the road side display of a plant nursery. I went in and bought the plant without any of my habitual bargaining. I brought the plant home and kept it in a pot in the drawing room. Keeping it outside would be its death sentence. The summer sun of Udaipur literally burns leaves and shoots. It grew well. New flowers came: white as usual, and beautiful as always. I have a very blurred image of the stalk with five flowers in their various stages of opening on it.

w hib

We had to go on a long trip and leave our white hibiscus behind. As we could not take any chance, I requested a friend of mine to keep it at his place. The choice wasn’t random. The request was made to that specific person because I had been to his place and had seen his collection of plants and his love for them. He wanted a white hibiscus for himself and it was agreed upon that if we didn’t return, the hibiscus would be his. We did return, but the hibiscus remained his, because we didn’t remain friends for long, and I wouldn’t ask for it from a person I did not even communicate with. We left the city, and the plant there.

It took more than two years before the white hibiscus could enter our place, that too, when I am nearly ready to launch on a new journey. Here, I put a few photographs below:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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