Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dance of the water lilies

Come, join me in one of my favourite garden spots. The water-lily pond at Maryknoll in Trivandrum. I just spent 4 very self-indulgent days there, soaking in its tranquility.
The lily pond here is more than 50 years old and has just been rejuvenated.

I woke up to see the dragonflies hug open tightly wrapped buds. Time has no meaning here ... buds wait for the touch of sunrays before displaying the tiniest sliver of colour.

Then follows a ballet of awakening. Slowly, oh so languidly, they unfurl petal by petal.

And then, filament by filament ...

as graceful as any mudra you would see from a classical dancer.

Soon, their inimitable fragrance steals across the air and it is as if my senses are on hyperdrive.

Then, in the drowsy quiet, broken only by the call of a hidden koel, the water lillies pause like dreamy divas.

For, they are soon to be the star of another show... the dance of the honey-bees.
I watch them, fly in and out . Drunk with ecstasy and the promise of every floral treasure, they stagger under the weight of pollen so lavishly offered. They seem reluctant to leave and crawl on the stamen like someone who's had one too many and who still wants one more for the road.

Suddenly, I know I want a lily pond of my own. Maybe not a big one like Monet's inspiration or even the one at Maryknoll.
I think I could be very content gazing at a serene urli of water on my balcony, afloat with water lillies.



56 comments:

  1. Love them, Sunita! Lovely macros. Good work! Thumbs up for you.
    Hey, no holiday pictures while in Malaysia?

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  2. Thanks, Blossom! :)
    As for my Malaysia photos, you bet I have them . I missed many because I was too busy enjoying the moment instead ;)
    I'll be posting them soon though. Once the monsoons hit Mumbai, I'll have a lot of house-bound days I'm sure.

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  3. This is an enchanting ode to the wonderful waterlillies. The pictures are delightful in their details with the pollen laden bees.

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  4. Wow , I love the mudra metaphor... so true ... I can close my eyes an visualise a dancer along side ... loved your pictures Sunita ... amazing and aaaawsome and aaahhhwoowwwww ... funny you should do this post I just filled up my lil' pot and promised my daughter a froggy pond ;)

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  5. OMG Sunita you were in a heavenly place. Water lilies are so beautiful, we have just imported some to add to our root stock. I have just visited the site where you were and it is a similar thing I hope to do one day in a rustic way, whenever I get enough money. I have to fix the cottage and put one or two cottages on the property for people and artist who want a serene setting to relax and paint. Gotta go play lotto!LOL

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  6. luved the pictures and writeup :)

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  7. Stunning photographs! Kerala is a beautiful place. No wonder it has earned the epithet of being 'God's own country'.
    If the place is lovely, the photographs are lovelier and the description outstanding. I love your analogies, they are always so correct and make the visualisation of your writing so much more interesting.

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  8. Thank you so much, Trudi. That was such a lovely thing to say.

    Rajee, I knew you would see it too! Honestly, sitting near the pond and watching the water-lillies getting ready for the day was so relaxing. Now I know they mean about being a lotus-eater! Except, here I was being a waterlily watcher ;D

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  9. Helen, aren't they beautiful!
    Just saw that you had visited their website ... believe me, its not a patch on the real thing!
    I can easily see you doing something like this. Go get the lotto, girl!

    Hey, thanks Sandeep! Glad you liked it.

    GT, you are such a wonderful confidence booster!Thank you. You're so right, Kerala is very, very beautiful. To my eyes, it was even more beautiful because we got our first day of monsoons there and every tree and blade of grass glistened and shone with freshness. Beautiful!

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  10. Sunita,just loved the macro shots of the waterlilies.Great shots and enjoyed the write up.

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  11. Brilliant! Great pictures (and that is an understatement). How patiently and lovingly you have done it.

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  12. Hi,

    I am happy that you saw my post today about using the hibiscus for the hair.

    I have been to India, in Coimbatore, when I did some course for my University degree and we also took a trip to Trivandrum.
    I sent 3 months in India, talking to people about medicinal-plants. Very interesting.

    Like your photos of all the flowers.
    /MB

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  13. Sunita the macro shots of the lilies are so wonderful.

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  14. Its come out great. The pics and the write ups compliment each other very well.
    jagan

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  15. oh wow!! What a rocking post!! Love the photos... so impressive!! Were you close to heaven?? I have to check this place out... If I close my eyes.. I can see water lillies now.. I want a pond as well... :-(

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  16. how delicate! the water lillies are amazing!

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  17. Thanks, NatureStop! Its good to hear that you liked the shots. Believe me, I didnt have much to do with how they look. It was almost impossible to get a bad shot of all that beauty!

    Raji, I just knew you would like these :) But its still good to hear you say it.

    Hi Maria. That's really interesting! I'm fascinated by the use of medicinal plants too.
    Glad you liked my photos.

    Thanks Lona. The lillies are so beautiful, arent they? I wonder why I never had them in my garden till now.

    Hey, glad you liked it, chetan! But, like I said, there's more. Watch out for the sequel :)

    Hi Patricia ! Close to heaven? You better believe it!
    Go, do check out this place. Better still, try and stay there if you can and live the magic.
    Close your eyes... can you hear the faint buzz of the honey bees and the background music of koels, bulbuls, sunbirds and dozens of other birds? Can you smell the sweet fragrance of waterlillies weaving around you?

    Thank you, Lara! 'Delicate' is the exact word I was searching for when trying to describe them.
    I believe they had yellow water-lillies too but I didnt see any in bloom.

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  18. Oh Sunita, if I've missed more of your posts lately I'm sorry! This is fantastic: your macro shots present a world inside the flower that many of us don't take the time to observe! Your writing is superb, capturing me and leading me through a magnificent journey! Just beautiful;-) Jan

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  19. Incredible pictures Sunita! Water lilies are irresistable! I love all the images and the bug on the last one, too.

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  20. Hi Sunita,
    Beautiful photographs. That dragonfly belomgs to the genus Brachydiplax, probably chalybea, which is not a species that occur in Sri Lanka.

    Oh yes, I highly recommend you a garden pond.

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  21. ohh My!! This is just gorgeous... Love your pictures.

    I am a newbie with pixels but I love shooting with the camera. check me sometimes :-) would appreciate some criticism.

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  22. Sunita, If you're having such terribly hot temperatures over there, it's no wonder you're enjoying your water gardens! The flowers are just beautiful! Thanks for visiting me today. :-)

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  23. Beautiful photos! I love water lilies! Thank You for stopping by my blog today!!!!

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  24. Thanks, Jan. Dont worry about missing posts, you're always welcome to take your time.
    I know what you mean about hidden worlds. I was a bit taken aback myself when I saw what I had captured!

    Hi Tatyana. I love water lillies too.I'm glad you liked the photos and the bees in the last few photos.

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  25. Hi Amila. Thanks for the info about the dragonfly. I'll have to remember that... though it sounds longer than the d'fly itself ;D
    Never mind if you dont get them in Sri Lanka, you can always pop over to Maryknoll to watch them!

    Mmm...I'm so tempted about a garden pond. I already bought myself 3 water-lillies before I built a pond. I'm planting them in concrete pots for the time being. Hopefully the d'flies will find it at least a little interesting.

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  26. Hi Mini. Thanks! I thoroughly enjoy photography with my trusty point-and-shoot (with a little manual flexibility) and someday soon I want to progress to a DSLR.
    I'm, popping over to your site now. See you there!

    Oh yes, Shady Gardener! Hot and humid night and day has me longing for the monsoons. It should be here some time soon so I have to just hold on till then.

    Me too, CiNdE! Until I went to Maryknoll, I think I had almost forgotten just how mind-blowingly beautiful they are.

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  27. The mere words bring the photos real, Sunita! Especially the kûrca mudra becoming a padma! Wow! That was poetic! I can never say this enough - your photographic skills are amazing!

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  28. Hey, I am learning the new SOny DSLR. these are a few shots from them... Not gr8 work but still a start. Thanks for coming and appreciating...

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  29. Beautiful photographs. I have seen some of the tropical water lilies under glass over here. They are truly astounding - such vibrant colours. Yet the dragonfly manages to shine in such company!

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  30. Stunning photos! Especially the one with the dragonfly. It's lovely!

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  31. Thanks, Chandramouli! I learnt Bharatnatyam for a few years when I was small so those waterlillies just made me think of all those mudras we were made to practise again and again. The water-lily does it so much better than I ever did! ;D

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  32. Those are pretty good for someone who's just learning, Mini. Sony, huh? I always wondered how the Canon I use compares next to the other cameras.

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  33. Arent they gorgeous, Easy Gardener? Somehow both the dragonfly and the water-lily seem to enhance each other's beauty, don't they?

    Thanks, Sandy. Kerala was filled with dragonflies this time. Every where I turned, there seemed to be even more beautiful ones on the next plant.Maybe it has something to do with the approaching monsoons.

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  34. Beautiful snaps. Especially the closeups are fantastic

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  35. Sunita lovely compositions it must have been a very beautiful place.

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  36. I hope you get a lily pond. They are really really gorgeous and what a lovely opening of the pictures you have posted.

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  37. Thanks, Rajesh! Glad you liked the photos.

    Hi Mridula! Thanks. You guessed right... it was really beautiful! Tranquil, dreamy, filled with trees and very old-world in atmosphere. We really enjoyed ourselves.

    I hope so too, Tina. Because I've got 3 water-lilies just begging for a home :D

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  38. Lovely pics and great write up. You are a rockstar !!!

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  39. Maryknoll sounds like heaven. Your water lily photos are exceptionally beautiful.

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  40. Gorgeous shots Sunita. Those waterlillies are something special. :)

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  41. Sorry I took so long to reply but Coming back to Mumbai and settling back into the normal everyday routine seems to take more time than packing a suitcase and taking off on holiday!

    Hi Zindagi! Can I print out what you wrote? Maybe make a poster of it? I have a teen son who needs to be convinced ;D

    Prospero, aren't those water lillies really something else? I'm still dreaming of my holiday at Maryknoll. Watch out, I'll be posting more about it soon.

    Thanks, Raquel! I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with you about waterlillies. sigh!

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  42. Superb! What else can I say! :-)

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  43. Hi Sunita! Long time...What a stunning post, I just love all that colour. I have actually been to Trivandrum but I did miss all those lovely blooms. I was there during a festival (Jan.) with women, I think a million women :-)

    Take care my friend/ LOLove Tyra

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  44. Beautiful series on these lilies. The first image is awesome and the closeup show details beautifully.

    Nice to see you post again Sunita...Thomas

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  45. Thanks, Bindhu :)

    Hi Tyra! It has been a long time, hasnt it? I've been so busy travelling the last couple of months that I seriously need to sit still for some days.
    I'm so curious about the festival that you're talking about. But I'm not surprised that it revolved arond women. Kerala is very strong on woman power ;)

    Thanks so much Thomas! I was a bit frustrated at first that I couldnt capture the beauty of the lily pond. But the close-ups stunned even me... I had no idea they looked like that!
    I know I havent been posting much lately. Its just that I'm trying to settle back into my regular schedule and after 2 months worth of pending work piling up, its a little hectic.
    Plus, this heat is killing me!

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  46. Hi Sunita,
    I got behind in my blog reading. It looks like I made it back to your blog at a good time to catch up with you. I'm glad you had a fun vacation, and are back to your awesome creativity! I was so impressed with these photos, I had to show my husband, who agreed with me. Welcome back to blogging. I should take a break, but seem addicted to posting.

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  47. Sue, I'm so sorry I took so long to reply to your commentbut I've been at my other garden where there's no broadband and the internet signal is so weak that it takes ages to connect and then disconnects almost immediately. Very aggravating!
    Thanks so much for your wonderful compliments. I love sharing all those special garden spots with my friends. Glad you liked them too.
    And yes, I'll be blogging more regularly now. Vacation's out of the way. The piled up un-done work has been pushed under the bed (I'll deal with it later) ... now I need to reconnect with my blogging life and friends :)

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  48. such beautiful flowers, like drawn from the goddess hands. What a beautiful blog, very inspiring.

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  49. Thanks, lazyclick.

    I know just what you mean, James. Somehow water lillies leave you overawed by the power behind its creation!

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  50. Breathtakingly Beautiful images... love the bees with the loads of pollen ... gorgeous colors! Brava!

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  51. Thank you, Carol! I think my stars must have been in perfect alignment or some such thing when I saw these water lillies. It was just too much of a good thing :)

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  52. I truly love the way you write :) The water lilies are glorious. I'm sure the pond, with its winged visitors, was a real treat, especially in the mornings.

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  53. Kerri, you're wonderful for my ego! Thanks :)
    A treat and a treasure, that's what it was alright!

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  54. Very nice post again! Love the shots. They are indeed colorful lillies, much better than Monet's painting! The real thing is always better to look at!

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  55. Absolutely, Aakanksha! I love waterlilies :)

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