Late Post – A Friday well spent – 2

After a fruitful three hours and a half at Lal Bagh I headed for Sajjan Rao Circle (the venue of the Avarekai Mela). I got a rickshaw quite fast and was there in about 10 minutes.

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Colourful posters and vendors selling colourful ware were all around the venue. There was a lot of noise and honking in the air because of which the cry of the vendors was barely audible. At a distance I could hear the shrill call of a barbet. I inched forward like a snail because I was distracted by all the colour around. The unmistakable aromas of various kinds of dosas getting cooked on tavas started getting stronger as I neared the food stalls. Clearly, the dosas like always were the most popular items.

A noticeable change in the Mela this year was the crowd. The queues were longer than at the previous editions and I could see many visitors getting impatient. Because of the huge demand some of the cooks were getting worked up especially those laying out the dosas. And though there were more stalls than at the earlier editions, there weren’t that many dustbins. The ones which were there were overflowing with used paper plates.

 

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And maybe, the organisers should consider going in for more space to ease crowd movement. Toy and cloth sellers were vying for space with the visitors. There was considerable vehicle movement too.

For obvious reasons, I wasn’t in a mood to click many photos. The steady stream of foodies walking in made me want to rush in for some grub. You can never say, in minutes the queues could double in length. And I needed time to think what to eat first. As I was thinking, I eyed a fresh-from-the-tava stack of Avarekai dosas.

Needless to say, they looked and smelt yum. What say you? And the small cups of Avarekai sambar kept near the dosas made it that much easier for me to decide what I wanted to eat first.

After buying the token, I had to stand in the queue. A couple of people who tried to break the queue were snapped at by ones standing behind. Some choicest expletives were being hurled across both ends.
The Avarekai dosa- Avarekai sambar combo was simply divine. Yay, I had made a good choice!
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I have always loved Akkirotis and thought I would go in for the Avarekai Akkiroti next. So I bought a token and joined the same queue which by now had grown three-fold. The wait was much longer than the wait for the Avarekai dosa. One of those standing before me had come with a large group of friends and ordered 20 dosas in one go making waiting a one-of-a-kind ordeal for poor me and the others standing behind him. Phew!
By now my legs were weary and I had developed acute queue-phobia. The crisp and delectable Avarekai Akkiroti made up for some of the disappointment. I decided not to eat anything more and let the taste of the delicacy linger in my mouth.
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By now the crowds had gotten larger and the food stalls as well as the vendors selling all kinds of other stuff were doing brisk business. I decided it was better to head home.
I flagged down an auto to take me to the Corporation bus stop. As luck would have it, the auto developed engine trouble and stopped right in front of the Corporation end gate of Cubbon Park. I had to get off. Instead of walking to the bus stop I quickly changed my mind and decided to walk through the park and take the Metro from MG Road. I was sure I had made the right decision :). The auto problem seemed to be a blessing in disguise. So what if my legs were weary.

Late Post – A Friday well spent – 1

At times, there are so many events happening in town at the same time that it becomes difficult to decide which one to attend. I was faced with that dilemma in January with the Lal Bagh Flower Show and the Avarekai Mela happening during the same time frame. Attending the events during weekends was not a good idea because the two places have been known to attract huge crowds and photographing flowers and foods would be impossible. So I was left with only one option that of taking leave, crazy as it might sound.
I chose to take off one Friday (Jan 22) in spite of the weatherman’s predictions that there may be showers. As Lal Bagh and Sajjan Rao circle (the venue of the Avarekai Mela) are close by I decided to go to the two events on the same day. Also, I had to hurry up because the two events were drawing to a close in a couple of days.
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It must have been half past ten in the morning when I reached Lal Bagh. Although it was a working day, there were lots of visitors.The motley crowds consisted of holiday makers like me, college students, groups of friends, kindergarten school-children, senior citizens and many men and women who were wheel-chair bound. The love for the flowers had a bee-like effect on so many.

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On entering the Glass House I realised that this show was so unlike the earlier ones. A major change and a good one indeed was that tiny flower pots were the main elements of decoration; there were hardly any cut flowers. And the focus was more on the special attractions than on flower displays. Also the barricades were placed quite a distance from the flowers making it difficult to take pictures with a 55mm lens.
This edition of what I would call an avant-garde flower show was dedicated to the great horticulturist GH Krumbiegel this year being his 150th birth anniversary. A huge bust of Krumbeigel at the entrance of the show with the entire expanse of flowers and greenery behind it was a fitting tribute to the great soul whose green initiative had given rise to a green revolution in the city. It was his idea to plant flowering trees along the city’s roads. Different species were planted on different roads and lanes to ensure that at any given time there were blooms in some part of the city. Unfortunately, much of his legacy has been destroyed with the advent of large-scale industrialization.
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A replica of Krumbiegel’s house in Dresden, Germany done in green and vivid hues caught visitor’s eyes as they entered the
Glass House. I simply loved the pots painted in baby pink that bordered the display.
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This large black face seemed intriguing.
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There were lots of novel displays on the outside of the Glass House like this man on the boat.
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The flower cart looked pretty …
… and all over there were plenty of flower beds dotting the lush green lawns.

The hanging pots made for a pretty picture.

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The tilting flower basket was hard to miss.
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There were lots of stalls selling anything from plants to seeds to masks, bags, gardening implements pots and what not.
The Tabebuia impetiginosa trees were in full bloom everywhere and were an added attraction to the flower show. No one would have been more delighted to see the purple beauties than GH Krumbiegel himself.
I had spent close to three and a half hours at Lal Bagh. It was close to 2pm and I was hungry. As decided earlier, I headed off to the Avarekai Mela to pig in on the choicest grub.

Late Post: The allure of cakes

Like many, I have always been besotted by cakes. Although, the cakes being showcased at all the editions of the Nilgiris Cake Show are not exactly something you can sink your teeth into, they somehow attract me like a fly to jam.

It was literally at the eleventh hour that I found time to go the 2015 edition of the show. The cake show had started on the 18th of December and was scheduled to end on 3rd of January. Not really sure whether I had made the right decision to go (it was a weekend), I left home very late in the evening on the 2nd of January with a lot of anticipation.

I didn’t have to wait at the bus stop for long and to add to that I got a seat near the window  :). After a smooth journey, I got off at the Corporation Bus Stop. Since my last visit to the place, Vittal Mallya Road had undergone a makeover (read as changed to a TenderSURE road). A stark contrast to what it was last year when it was dug up for repair.

Unlike what I expected, the venue St Joseph’s Indian School grounds did not appear very crowded. Now this would not have been the story say 10 years back. Looks like Bangaloreans have more options now when it comes to holiday making.

IMG_9828There were lot of ticket counters making it that much quicker to make it to the hall. At the entrance an exuberant Santa was greeting children.

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The star attraction at this year’s exhibition was a sugar and cream replica of the Lost City of Atlantis.  Sounded like a place in one of those sci-fi thrillers. Star Wars was playing to packed houses. Could it be a place in Star Wars? How wrong I was! The last thing I expected was a Plato connect! Whoo!!

Check this out:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tsunami-atlantis-idUSTRE72B2JR20110312

Wonder how long it took to make the real Atlantis? The cake version took only 75 days with 6 people working on it.

https://whatshappbangalore.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/41th-annual-cake-exhibition-worlds-biggest-annual-cake-show-and-bangalore-cake-art/

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The Smurfs Village looked oh-so-cute with all the teeny-weeny mushroom houses topped with chimneys.

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The 5.3-feet replica of former President APJ Abdul Kalam in his signature bandhgalla suit turned out to be a favourite selfie spot for many.

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The Tinkle cake inspired by the famous Tinkle comics looked delightful. Stupid boy Suppandi stood out with Doob-Doob, the crocodile, a close second. Tantri, the evil Mantri, was there too! Kalia, the crow, seemed strangely subdued.

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa in sugar looked amazing with its intricate detail. The yellow scooter contrasted well with the white shade of the cake.

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The Kraken Cake depicting a sinking ship was mind-blowing. Legend has it that Kraken was a sea monster with octopus-like tentacles. Looks like this ship crashed against Kraken. Don’t miss his tentacles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraken

 

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If Manny the Bride towered over all others at the last edition of the cake show, this year it was the beautiful Butterfly Princess resplendent in a lovely blue ensemble embellished with pretty butterflies. The Butterfly Princess looked so real!

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The replica of the Steam Locomotive was out of the world. The dimensions were perfect and had me in awe. The cake pebbles on the side of the track looked so cute!

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The ice-cream cake looked so colourful and enticing! I was surprised that it was still standing there at the fag end of the exhibition.

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The giraffe in the wild and the pug in front of the kennel looked so real and endeared to one and all. Hugs to the cuties!

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And how did the cake makers manage to create these flamingos? No words can describe their talent!

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Did you know Action Superheroes are made of marshmallows, rice krispy and sugar dough? Ha ha!! Those three ingredients went into making these toughies.

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This one was for the biking aficionados!

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It took only one person to make this cake laden with romance!

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And to think that nothing in the world can lean more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Well! This leaning cake proved how wrong everyone can be. Wow!

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The stack of ornate kettles made for a pretty picture.

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And look who is here! Our national animal in his cake avatar!

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Not too far from him sitting pretty on a pink mat was an exotic flower vase.

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It took one person one month to make this barn. A great work of art!

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And there was a wedding cake and a pram too.

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A consumer fair at the other end of the venue made sure that visitors at the cake show did not return home empty-handed. The many stalls were selling anything from large electronic appliances to trinkets and what not.