During early winter’s stay in Bangladesh, when going on the long car journeys we would often drift by rural areas of very wet, fertile land, and find floating among the free greenery these absolutely heavenly flowers. The first time I saw them, I didn’t know what flowers they were and I was breath-taken. When my dad told me that these were water hyacinths, my stunnedness stirred with the glitters of excitement: knowing that hyacinths are fragrant and that I’d never smelled one before, now I might, during my time in Bangladesh, be able to smell this wonderful variety.
But although there are so many water hyacinths in Bangladesh, the remoteness of where they float and the impossibility of stopping a car on a road with Bangladesh’s level of road safety (non-existent!) to climb down and get near one, meant that sadly I didn’t fulfill my wish of getting to be close to one’s presence and experiencing its essence. I can imagine this flower smelling very subtle and fresh, like a soft breeze, and as liberating as a silver-blue sky. For the look of the petals reminded me so much of paper in their delicate crispness, and the artistically integrated flower form looks as though it was crafted to be given as a gift of peace. The lilac hue is simply sublime, seeming to reflect a joyous pastel sky which has just the right touch of pink to blush delicately amidst its pea-green sea. What I didn’t notice about the flowers while driving past them at a distance that I only found out after searching more images online, is that the uppermost petal of water hyacinth contains a violet, indigo and golden yellow ‘peacock eye’, as if a mark of enlightenment or majesty.
It’s a shame I couldn’t smell this wonderful flower that I really wanted to – but now it’s something high on my list for my next stay in Bangladesh. After doing some further reading, water hyacinths apparently grow quite easily, so perhaps I can even grow them myself here in England.