Spring in India is short lived. The transition from winter to summer is 15 days, a month if you are indulgent. In North India, spring generally falls in the 2nd week of March. The weather is pleasant, steadily growing warmer towards the heat of April to June/ July. The mornings and evenings are cool. This the season when the best kept gardens show their best blooms. In fact, gardens are created with herbs/ shrubs that simultaneously bloom in spring creating a spectacular rainbow.
This is also the season in which the Mango trees bloom in my home town. Bhagalpur is known for its silk industry, or far more infamously for the riots or the blindings. But for me, it will always remain the Mango district. There may be more famous mangoes in this country, every one in India has their own favorite mango variety. However, I haven't traveled to any part of the country with such a profusion of mango trees. As you enter the district by train, all you can see are mango trees. There were three mango trees in my backyard, 4 huge mango trees in the graveyard next to the small field in which I played as a child and my school was right next to a full blown orchard. Mango flowers are called Manjar or Manjari. Though in fact its more accurate to call them "Aam Manjar/ Manjari" because if you look up at the dictionary meaning of Manjari, it just means flower. Now, the smell of the manjari is something. Words fail me in describing it. It is strong, sweet and intoxicating. If you pass by mango tree in flower, it may take you a while to discover the source; the fragrance may have so enveloped the area. It is a smell that reminds of school vacations after year end examinations; of mornings and evenings spent playing cricket in the March holidays, of the summer vacations that will arrive in May after the short session of the new school year when the Mango flowers will result in delicious mangoes.
In Pune, the mango blooms in late January/ late February, hence the mangoes also come early in April, instead of late May or June. Recently I realized that there are two mango trees in my office compound. I would never have looked up to see them but one day, in late January, while passing under one of them, the fragrance of the mango bloom came wafting back to me, rekindling the fading memories of childhood. In pleasant surprise, I looked up and to my child like delight, I saw a mango tree in full bloom. Every time I passed under those trees in the last 15 days, I was rewarded by the most enriching fragrance. It seems, one must always remember to look up in life. For while life is mostly lived with the head down and body intent on purpose, many rewards may be waiting if we only stop to look up.