We always walked all the way to school. There were 2 or 3 established routes through idavazhies (country trails) to reach school.
We used to walk lazily looking’ around and picking wild fruits.
We would take a new route across the field after the harvest is completed. One day while on our way to school our group leader Rajan suddenly stopped walking, and started to search for something under the cover of dried leaves.
“Oh I’ve got one Pottakkaala kuru (the wild almond seed)”
The search continued, I looked upward…
Still I remember the site. The pots of the fruit were blazing in red blood color in the morning sunlight. It really looked like different shade of red, quiet unnatural against the background of azure blue.
Though the tree has been considered as a tree of ill omen the first Ajantha mural paintings was supposedly drawn using brush made of sterculia bark. The flat brush was made by crushing a portion of bark from Sterculia.
Sterculia is the genus name of the flowering plant in mallow family. The word Sterculia is derived from Roman mythology. Sterculus was the Roman god of manure or dung , suggesting the foul smell of the flowers.
Sterculia foetida is the source of a dietary fibre, denture adhesive and food stabilizer.
The red pods enclosing shining black seeds is a dazzling sight, that looks really incredible.