Mussoorie, In the hills, they will tell you that when the cobra lilies turn red; the tree ferns begin to turn brown; the setting sun changes its multi-hued pallet of colours with each passing day and the garden escapees bloom on the mountain-side in all their splendour – you can take it for granted that the Great Indian Monsoon is on the retreat after its three month reign in our mountain home.
Come mid-August and a carpet of wild flowers spring into existence in colourful bouquets. Mauve, pink and white orchids bloom around every nook and corner of the hill-station. But what takes your breath away are the vibrant garden-escapees, the glory of the place. My personal favourites are the wild ginger lily, the cobra lily and the garden escapees. The sheer variety of colour abloom in dense masses from August to beginning of October, adding splashes of bright, happy colours on the jade green hillside.
The slopes above and below the road is awash in a nodding sea of flowers dancing in the gentle breeze. They watch you through the water-laden mist which comes down to touch the plants, as if to make sure that all is well, and it parts, the colours jump out at you: crimson, scarlet, mauve, white, yellow, pink, orange, purple and sometimes a deep, almost black maroon, you name it and they all there in plenty, giving company to the moss, ferns and grass carpeting the hillside.
Such a gathering of wildflowers warms the cockles of the heart and appeals the eyes just at a time when everything else is shrouded in a gloomy mist of grey, briefly giving way to bright sunshine and blue skies.
The wild-flowers play ‘now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t,’ peeping through the dense mist, reminding us all that this too shall pass, just as Autumn comes chugging around the corner.