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Lal Bagh flower show

Lal Bagh botanical gardens in Bangalore to me are a sanctuary. Whenever the bustle of city life becomes hard for me to bear, it is here that I seek refuge. As you walk deeper into the park, away from its circumferential walls, the din of traffic diminishes to a barely audible whirr. If you listen closely, you’ll regularly hear the cawing of crows and rustling of leaves punctuated by chirping of other birds. Reading a book while sitting under a sprawling, old tree is a simple pleasure of life that increasingly fewer cities in India afford. However in Lal Bagh, years old trees and the often pleasant and mild days nudge you towards doing precisely this.

The extent of biological diversity one comes across here (even if it is by horticultural design), isn’t usually found (or sought) right in the heart of a busy city in India. This also allows me to indulge in my favorite hobby – photography. And there isn’t a better time for bringing your camera out than the two big flower shows that the Glass House in Lal Bagh plays host to; the first one of which ended on India’s Republic Day – 26th Jan.

Thousands of people visit the flower show (one conservative estimate puts the number to over a 100,000 on 26th itself!) and it pays to start early. While the show is a photographer’s delight, if you prefer a rake or hoe to a camera, you can also pick up seeds and gardening equipment.

This time, while I did pay my obligatory visit to the increasingly crowding glass house, I also spent a good deal of time outside; around the various flower beds bedecked with zinnias and marigolds.

A highlight of my visit however, was the many children I ran into – all of them most eager to be clicked. Often a lone child would walk over to me and timorously request me to take his picture. Within moments, his group would spot him and come running to be photographed. A good natured mêlée would ensue when everyone would try to fit into my frame, followed by a jostle to look at the just-clicked picture in my tiny camera LCD. The more enthusiastic ones would request a solo portrait but their equally enthusiastic coterie would render it extremely difficult, if not impossible. At last, everyone having seen their picture, would give me a generous smile and return.

My initial apprehension at being nudged and pushed around came to naught. The inhibitions of age and reasoning soon vanished. Thus on a bright and sunny day in Lal Bagh, my spirit soared.
posted: 29.1.06

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