Lalbagh Independence Day flower show 2011

It was decided almost instantaneously today morning to visit Lalbagh with grandmom to check out the 100′th annual Independence Day flower show. I had been there last year at the exact same time and thus knew what kind of an exhibit to expect, but it was different for my grandmom as she was witnessing this flower feast only after many years. Being a gardening enthusiast, I was sure that she would enjoy it. This year, the horticulture department has put up a 20 feet high and 30 feet wide replica (decked with white roses) of the famous Lotus Temple (Delhi) in the glass house. Apart from this creation, there were many many varieties of flowers from different parts of India and the world- just like every year.

I just don’t understand why they chose to create the Lotus Temple this time. Not that there is anything wrong in it, but I would have liked to see something more relevant to the city being displayed instead. I would have preferred gasping at a structure that is symbolic to Bangalore. Not necessarily an architectural monument, I’m sure one can bring out the city’s essence in other ways too.

Turns out the show was not exclusive to flowers only. There were a lot of stalls outside the glass house where all sorts of items were being sold. From seeds to decorative lamps and herbal products, etc were showcased, just like in a fair.

I wish to go there next year as well. Not because of the flowers, but because I feel that I should be a part of something that has been organized for the people of this city, and which has a lot of work gone into it by non-mainstream folks. It’s like doing my bit to show them some appreciation. After all, Bangalore is not very community focussed and such rare unique events reminds us about the city we belong to.

B’lore Photo Walk at Avenue Road

After one year and one month, the members of B’lore Photo Walk got together for a photoshoot at Avenue Road. I had seen a lot of photographs everywhere and heard a lot of stories about it’s relationship with shutterbugs in the city (as a matter of fact, I could recognize the various shops and locations on the street today just by recalling the photographs!). Even though I had seen some initial parts of the road before to buy books, I had never gone further inside to explore/shoot. Every time I see pictures of Avenue Road, there has got to be people’s portraits, colorful doors & windows, MAD rush, vehicles, more people, wires hanging all over the place, name boards, all kinds of stores dealing with stationery to sarees to jewelry and what not. In short, “absolute chaos”. However, today, we all mat at the old famous ‘coffee-wallah’ at the Mysore Bank circle at ~ 7:30 and started from there. Being a sunday and a little too early, all the shops were closed and the street was less of a hustle. This gave us an opportunity to explore the place in a completely different environment. Newspaper stands were being busy as old men discussed news with chai cups in their hands. In other places, young boys arranged books on the footpath. What is interesting is how these boys know every book they own with precision and can tell which academic course requires which book by which author (including different editions!) without even having received basic education themselves.

We walked into the crossroads along side (which were VERY small and had like a hundred protrusions from everywhere). How do families live here?! The garbage filled gutters would become a menace during rainfalls. Children walked barefoot to school on these streets. Cows, dogs and mice must have made a mutual agreement to live in harmony- just like everyone else. Experiencing a place like this in a city as big as Bangalore is like having a reality check. However advanced this city may be, there lives some parts of it as old as the 80′s. Some parts which may sell and deal with today’s items, but whose lifestyle and ‘feel’ remain the same for years. It’s a good thing in a way. It’s like a connection between retro and new. People may move in/out and the shops may get reinvented, but the street leads the exact same life for years.

Today’s walk wasn’t about clicking intensive cliched photographs of streets and people. It was about meeting the people with whom I started this journey around 2 years back. It was nostalgic to walk with the same bunch of folks with whom I began learning about my city and it’s different faces. It was also about meeting new interesting people! Even though we ended up shooting a lot (duh!), we got an opportunity to talk about our experiences and findings. I can just sit for hours together and listen to how this dude walked for eight hours in the rain atop a hill to get back to his home in Dargeeling or how this another guy got caught up at the Delhi railway station not knowing where to go, and ended up in a cab to Jaipur! In the end, if there is a plate of Idlis and Vada to go with the stories, even better!