I’m not one to look at trees closely. I don’t know their names, can’t figure them out by the shape of their leaves or their flowers. For me, they are like dogs. I love them and need them. Being around them is calming and comforting and knowing who’s who and what’s what is not important. But if you’ve lived in Bangalore long enough, you’ll learn willy-nilly to recognise the honge—it’s everywhere, and always eye-catching, always pretty, somewhat delicate. Just before the onset of summer, there’s ‘fall’, when many trees in the city shed their leaves by heaps and mounds. Then, almost out of nowhere, they start sprouting leaves and flowers in magical colours.

I love the colour of tender honge leaves, and their shape. Their droopy, low-hanging branches might brush against you as you walk on by, seeking to clasp you in their cool embrace or their small flowers fall on you like a blessing; their seed pods are flat, brown, often mango-shaped. For me, the honge evokes this city more than any other tree