My second novel, Kurinji Flowers is named after the neelakurinji – whose name is a bit of a mouthful and is usually shortened. The Latin is name is even longer. These purple-blue flowering plants grow only in a small area of South India and have the rare distinction of blooming only once every twelve years.
Here is Ginny’s first sight of the flowers:
We rode for about half an hour and, then, after rounding a craggy outcrop, we came upon the neelakurinji flowers. A big, blue sea across the hillside. I gasped. Without saying anything, we waded together into the thick of them. The flowers were like little bells, clustered on their stalks, a deep purple-blue. One flower in isolation seemed insubstantial, nothing special, but, en masse, they formed a celestial carpet of colour. I told Mistry it was the opposite of the little pink and yellow lantana flowers that grew around the bungalow and only showed their true beauty close up.
He said, ‘Like India, itself. Some things are best viewed from a distance, or close up you see the ugliness behind the flashy exterior, while others you need to linger over, to get up close and try to understand. Only then will they reveal their true beauty.’
I nodded. I knew exactly what he meant. I looked back at the field of flowers. ‘And they really only flower every twelve years?’
‘And only here. Nowhere else on earth.’
(Extract from Kurinji Flowers)