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Mumbai Summertime

I love Mumbai when it sizzles…

The temperatures are high, the roads empty and the trees are in full bloom.

Mumbai is really special during the summer months when everyday hustle and bustle is at a minimum. With most schools and colleges on vacation, and much of the labour force also returning to their villages for a few weeks to work at harvesting mangoes or in the fields, it’s really one of the best times to be in the city. Even the sweltering, humid heat isn’t so enervating because of the cool sea breeze.

But what makes it most charming is the riot of colours lining numerous roads and several neighbourhoods. Many hillsides and streets are full of orange gulmohur and gold copper pod, roads and bylanes are dotted with lemon yellow showers of amaltas, pink oleander, multicoloured champa…. The Marine Drive promenade sports a row of palms mixed with barringtonia filled with its whispy pink and white blooms. Hedges bursting with brightly coloured bougainvillea, lantana, hibiscus and ixora make so many of the city’s thoroughfares a pleasure to drive by.

On my street both the sidewalks are lined with lilac lagerstroemia interspersed with red champa. Incidently, lagerstroemia is the official tree of Maharashtra. At my gate the pink blossoms of the Indian cannonball tree (nagalinga or shivalinga) exude a heady perfume. Every morning I pick up some of the fallen pink and white hooded flowers to float in a saucer so that I can enjoy them as I work at my desk.

Given the frenetic pace of the average Mumbaikar’s day, I wonder if these glorious gems of our metropolis in the hot season are even noticed? Look around you as you stop at the next traffic light, pause while you walk to your destination… the riot of colours busting around you will make you smile.

Bright pink champas

Lilac blossoms of the Lagerstromia dot both sides of the pavement. This is the official tree of Maharashtra

Lagerstromia

Colourful hedges in bloom around Mumbai

Indian Cannon ball tree. Also called Shivalingam in Marathi and Nagalingam in Hindi, the fragrant blossoms are often used as an offering to dieties

A beautiful century-old tree blossoms at my gate

Champa flowers - also called frangipani or Pagoda.

These medium height trees abound on traffic circles and compounds all over our island city

Ixora

Colourful hedges in bloom around Mumbai

Lantana

Colourful hedges in bloom around Mumbai

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