Over the past several years, Bangalore, now better known as the Silicon Valley of India has transformed. Its salubrious climate has succumbed to global warming, pollution and the impact of the boom in the IT sector, resulting in a mass of floating population – much more than the city was perhaps equipped to handle.
Yet, annually on the occasion of India’s Republic Day (January 26) or Independence Day (August 15), this city gears up to live to its original name – that of the Garden City of India.
So, on a cloudy August afternoon (crowds are less in early mornings and afternoons), I found myself in the glass house at Lalbagh Garden, admiring the flora and the fauna (which comprised of homo-sapiens – largely of the security guard variety). Yes, terrorism threats mean a whole lot of security precautions.
At the flower show, a troop of school kids provided me company. In fact, watching them was more interesting as they stood transfixed while gazing at model of the dinosaurs, newspaper reports cite that it took 50,000 flowers to make this model. They oohed and they aahed. I wish we didn’t have to grow up!
Each Independence Day flower show has a theme, perhaps this time it was the animal kingdom. Last year it was Indian musical instruments. But, to my amusement, a mermaid which occupied centre stage, with a fish tail made of orchids, was surrounded by dolphin models and teddy bears (yes all made of flowers). Since when did Teddy-bears become part of the sea kingdom? I have no answer to this one.
Thai art was also visible as aero-planes made of banana (plantation) leaves whizzed on the ceiling of the glass house. Plants, roses, flowers of all kinds that were the prize winners also occupied pride of place in the glass house.
If you happen to be in Bangalore during the week of the flower show, do look up the newspapers for the details and do not miss it. Where else can you get a whiff of the era gone by, where Bangalore was truly a garden city?
Fortunately some things do not change. The HOPCOM (a local horticulture organization) counter continued to provide glasses of the freshest grape juice, with just a marginal increase in price. As this sweet juice trickled down my parched throat, all seemed well with the world, even if Teddy-bears seemed to rise from the sea!