Shefali stood under the shiuli tree outside the orphanage, looking at the sprinkling of white-and-orange blossoms on the carpet of grass. She shared her name with these blooms of the tree of sadness, and they had been the only constant in her turbulent life.
For as long as she could remember, this had been her favorite spot. She'd come out here, sneaking away from under the not-so-attentive eyes of the warden. She used to laugh here, and cry here, and spend hours hoping to catch a glimpse of that cute, shy neighborhood boy in those topsy-turvy teens.
She had nobody in the world. All she remembered was her mother's face, and her lost battle with a terminal illness. Shefali did not really know her, still missed her a lot. She could remember the day she read Tagore's poem in college and grieved for her mother for the first time. Even that sudden floodgate was opened by shiuli,
I cannot remember my mother,
but when in the early autumn morning
the smell of the shiuli flowers floats in the air,
the scent of the morning service in the temple comes to me as the
scent of my mother.
Shefali smiled a little to herself as she remembered all the long walks with him when he used to get her a handful of Shefali blooms, teasing her all the while, 'a phool (flower) for a fool.' Couple of young fools they were, too. Idiots in love, drunk on youth and the romance from books. When reality stuck suddenly, when misunderstandings, fights, jealousy came a-knocking, she was completely overwhelmed. Days of introspection, 'Is he the person I fell in love with? But then, am I the person he loved? What have we done to each other?' She thought they'd never get out of this together, so did he. They met under this very tree and were going to part ways, when a sudden gust of wind tumbled some flowers onto their laps. They reminisced, they laughed, they cried, and they made up. They were now happily married for years.
This little flower had given her so many wonderful memories, including today. Any minute now, the paperwork for adoption will be complete and warden will bring out her little bundle of joy. She'd already decided what to call him: Parijat.