The water hyacinth

cropped-20200707_093324.jpgInvasive and often covers an entire water body. It’s a weed, water hyacinth(Eichhornia crassipes). Very difficult to manage or get rid of, like Lantana camara, Prosopis juliflora. One does not know how they have journeyed across the globe and found suitable areas to flourish.

If you have ever travelled by train between Ahmedabad and Anand in Gujarat, which I did very frequently, in many occasions and circumstances, when my husband and I played hide and seek between these two places in pursuit of jobs based in these two cities. We choose the jobs or the jobs choose us in such a way that we ended up living in both these cities. They seemed a comfortable commutable distance though if your work did not get over on time to catch the train, you would be looking at a much-delayed arrival at home. I did only weekend commute and a friend with a management degree was quick to point out that I was clever to get a monthly pass and I break-even with only four back and forth trips a month. So money was well invested. I got the quarterly pass as I was never sure I would be out of office with time to stand in the queue to buy a ticket.

Back to the water hyacinth. There is a station just before Anand, Kanjari Boriyavi. Even if you are sleeping, you will wake up here because of the stench from a marshy pond near this stop, full of water hyacinth as far as eyes can see.

On some days, the lake will be a sheet of purple with the blooming flowers of the water hyacinth.  And the meditating pond herons.

So when my friend Enakshi, who holds Art introduction classes with children, inspired by the artistic beauty of this flower, brought one plant with her in a take-away plastic box from a trip to Mumbai and shared pictures of the first bloom, it brought back memories.

She modelled the flower for her students in the art class and the result was fabulous.

The flower is so peaceful for an invasive species. The rose and the thorns? The cactus and its bright blooms?


I got the plants from her and they took almost exactly a month to give me the first bloom.

Enakshi says the flower lives just for one day.

Sights and smells and our memories, twined and tangled…