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Independence day and a stroll to Lal Bagh
The long weekend which the Independence day (Friday, 15th) bestowed called for some celebration. The term celebration could have different connotations for different people and is largely a matter of personal preference. For me it meant getting up early in the morning, listening to Rahman's Vande Mataram, devouring vadas drenched in hot sambar over a cup of hot coffee and dressing in Khaadi (sounds clich├ęd in hindsight, but I felt overpowered by a strange sense of national pride while indulging in this small insignificant act).

Saturday morning was earmarked for a long pending walk to Lal Bagh botanical garden in Bangalore. I joined a friend and together we headed for our long stroll around 7:30 AM. While Lal Bagh, as expected, left me spellbound for its sheer greenery and freshness, the sights on way to Lal Bagh were no less interesting. No matter which city you are in India, there is a part in each city which has the same smell, sound, texture as any other city. The familiar sight of school kids lugging their increasingly large school bags, some walking in groups of 2-4, some with their flustered parents. Moms and grannies sitting dazed in the verandah washing utensils or drying clothes from morning's laundry. The distant aroma of rich, oily breakfast being readied for husbands leaving for work. Dogs sitting droopy eared, struggling to keep their weary eyes open. Occasionally a two wheeler, bicycle brushes past you in a narrow lane, with kid in school uniform delicately perched in front. Priests with sacred flame in their thali, rotating it clockwise in veneration around the numerous, colorful idols of deities. Ruminating cows either walking leisurely in search of fodder or sniffing stinking trash littered in open, for traces of edible morsels; occasionally skirmishing with canines or crows laying claim on the same heap of garbage.

What it was like at Lal Bagh and way back is best described by pictures. I usually allow words to make up for absence of a digital camera, but by courtesy of my friend on this occasion, I had the luxury of it (digital camera) and hence the photographs. I'll upload them sometime this week as an addendum to this blog entry.
posted: 17.8.03

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