Indian flowers pervade our collective consciousness. Yes, we have a love affair with flowers. Look all around you and you’ll see it…. right from offerings to deities, using flowers to adorn ourselves, decorate our homes, consuming them as food and using them in beauty products, they have a multitude of uses. The deep mystical beauty of flowers is ingrained in our culture.
And, why not? India is home to several wonderful blooms! In Phoolproof- Indian flowers, their myths, traditions and usage, ‘flower witch’ Jhelum Biswas Bose visits this aromatic, delicate and colourful world of Indian flowers.
Now if you’re a romantic at heart, and you would be since you’ve chosen to read about flowers, the beginning of the book entices you into a world of poetry and folklore. Just like a garden bed has to be first prepared, and be fertile to welcome new blossoms, the material in this book prepares the reader’s mind, makes it fertile if you may, for the world of flowers to take roots. Hopefully, these will grow deeper and spread over time!
For this ‘preparedness’ Jhelum goes over different aspects of this world of flowers, and more specifically Indian flowers. We dip into the conventions of Bach Flower Therapy, as well as practices that use local Indian flowers. We learn about floral scents and their origins, delving a bit into the amazing history of perfumery and ancient women who were involved in it.
There are handy tips on the various essential oils that one can use and the diverse purposes for using them as well. But I love the way it’s been presented- woven delicately with myths, stories, legends and poems associated with the flower in question.
Do the flower….
Now it’s not just all theoretical. I loved the practical elements of the book such as making your own flower essences, beauty packs with flowers and recipes (both for consumption and application).
Yes, if you really like potting around with ingredients you’re going to have fun concocting potions for your wellbeing, beauty packs and also some floral delicacies that you can actually consume.
Jhelum opens up a whole new world of flowers. For instance, I never thought that flowers would be edible, that they could be used to make food colouring, or that flowers could be used in poha! So, while you’ll find the usual suspects like floral tea, be prepared for some really tasty and intoxicating (pun intended!) surprises as well!