Memories on Trees: Mandaar

Man’s ability to see HIM in everything is so amazing! Let me explain.

I have always looked for Mandar. It is not a tree, it is a shrub. Rui is very common but I have rarely seen Mandar. Both Rui and Mandar are same plant, yet there is a difference. It is in the colour of the flowers.

Rui flowers have a very distinct violet tinge. Mandar plant bears white flowers. That’s the only distinction. The plant bears fruits which when ripe give away seeds with long white fibres. As children we used to play with it calling it Mhatari [old woman]. I have watched monkeys rub their face with ‘mhataris.’ It used to be a very funny sight.

Coming back to my statement earlier: I have always looked for Mandar, and not Rui. Why? Two reasons. Firstly Rui is very commonly found, but not Mandar. The second reason is more important than the first: People believe that the roots of Mandar tree shapes itself like a Ganapati idol after twenty one years.

There is a Ganapati temple at Jambhli Naka at Thane. People say that it has an idol made of Mandar roots. It is indeed called ‘Mandar Swayambhu Ganapati,’ but the idol did not appear to be of a tree root. Perhaps layers of vermillion paste would have hidden the original idol. A flower vendor told me that the temple is more than 100 years old!

Man’s ability to see God in everything, even in the roots of Mandar, is so amazing!
Vivek S Patwardhan

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