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The Case of the Lookalike Nymphet

Water Lily, Coorg

If you’ve ever gazed at a pond in Coorg and gone “Look… what a beautiful Lotus…”, you may just have to eat your words. For, and forgive me all you Lotus lovers, if it’s a really gorgeous ‘Lotus’, chances are that it isn’t a Lotus at all. It’s most likely to be the much prettier ‘Nymph of the Lakes’, the Water Lily of Coorg, who often gets mistaken for the Lotus, because she shares the habitat, habits and general appearance of the latter. However, she’s a far more colourful character, and can often be seen dressed in shorter party-petals in the most outrageous shades, while the demure Lotus prefers more matronly drapes of pink, white or cream. Moreover, she’s a real water babe and happily skims the surface, while the solemn Lotus sits disdainfully on a 2 feet long stem, protecting her gravitas… and her ample bottom from getting wet. Our Ms. Lily is far friendlier to the environment too, by providing shade to keep the water cool, and oxygenating the water, helping fish to breathe. She also absorbs nutrients from the water that would otherwise feed undesirable aquatic plants. Unlike the Lotus, who wears her position as a ‘sacred’ flower with immense solemnity, the Lily is full of joie de vivre. Her beauty allows her to grace the halls of the high and mighty, and her alluring scent is worn by fashionistas the world over. While the Lotus loves the Sun, our nymphet is a veritable party animal who blooms as easily by night as by day. She may be pretty, but she’s pretty tough too, and flowers for 2 weeks, while the pious Lotus wilts in 5 days. All said and done, it’s high time the Lotus came down from her high perch and understood that any comparison with the Water Lily is only flattering to her.

Photograph: Jose Ramapuram Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy



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