Summer in Lahore brings the Amaltas trees, as they are locally called, into bloom. I love seeing these flowers, especially since few other petals are found in this scorching heat. And flowering trees, I just find beautiful.
There is a young one planted right outside my house, pleasing us with one branch of blooms this year, and everywhere I see the Amaltas, I notice them. I do not know much about them, but this has to be one of my favourite trees for summer in Lahore.
In recent years, the authorities had taken to planting imported palms along roads, and recieved much praise and criticism, but more criticism, for failing to think about what a tree in Lahore must do.
You see, there is a manual for trees in Lahore that populate the common roads..
If you are a tree considering whether Lahore is right for you, consider the following:
Have you been along the Mall Road, known the area before it belonged to a new country called Pakistan? Lahore is yours.
Are you a big tree, a tree with a big trunk to make you look like you have always been there, so that no one questions your presence?
Do you promise to give shade in the summer to all the poor who rest underneath, and to the cars that whizz by?
Would you like the sun should filter in softly through the late afternoon and evening light, and then in winter, preferably be bare and let the warm sun through so all may sit again underneath, and enjoy its warmth?
Do you agree to be dense and friendly, and shield the birds and squirrels from human eyes and predators while they hold little concerts and games everyday, and even build their nests amongst your arms?
Year after year, being suited to the climate, they must thrive in Lahore, having taken up a Lahori identity, calmly throwing in a little bit of quiet and green into the dust, noise and pollution.
The new sleek palms did not offer the shade, nor were they suited to the climate.
Each tree, each animal thrives in their climate.
Each human would happily thrive in a climate of their choosing, yet, many times I wonder at how we ourselves are the yield to our sowing, and whether we may in our delirium choose the best for ourselves then.
I cannot help feel it is sometimes God deciding which climate we are best suited to, and we may discover that after a storm we couldn't withstand to feel our backs nearly breaking, we are still standing, that though we wanted the sun, our roots are taking hold into winter's hard soil.
They praise the shrub and the species that thrives in unsuitable conditions.
They must not forget the human race that also struggles to take fruitful root where it is planted.