Lal Bagh Flower Show – January 2017

I seem to be running out of luck when it comes to taking leave in 2017. After having missed getting one for the Avarekai Mela, I thought I would definitely get an off for the flower show but that was not to be (sob sob!). Mercifully, I managed to get a half day leave on 24 January. That meant I had to be quick with the pictures in the short time I had because I had to be in office post lunch or before it.

I started my day pretty early and full of enthusiasm. Shooting flowers is one of favourite pastimes. The colours make me feel very happy and transport me to a fairy tale world. In the midst of flowers I am lost.

I took a rickshaw and reached the gardens in half an hour. Because it was a working day getting tickets wasn’t a hassle, moreover there was more than one counter.

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As I approached the Glass House, the central venue of the show, I noticed there weren’t many visitors. There were school children trooping around with their teachers.

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The prime attraction at this edition of the flower show, a floral replica of the Gol Gumbaz, looked stunning and stood out from afar.

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When I entered the Glass House, to my disappointment, the flowers were arranged far away from the barricades making it difficult to take pictures. My first reaction on seeing this significant change in the arrangement was “What!”

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Pictures of the floral beds were all I could take. The bed of cymbidium orchids from Sikkim was my first capture followed by the dahlias and asters.

An attractive hut covered in greenery served as a showcase for vertical gardening, the new talk of the town.

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Like always, there were selfie enthusiasts galore and like always they had a tough time getting that one perfect shot.

Unlike in the previous editions of the flower show, when I would spend hours inside the Glass House clicking pictures, I finished quickly this time, because as I mentioned earlier the flowers were way too far away to take good pictures.

Outside the Glass House, there were quite a few exhibits too. Among them was a model tribal village. There was a barricade around it which again made taking pictures difficult. I asked one of the security guards if I could go in and take pictures and to my surprise he readily agreed. I walked in even as the growls of big cats and hoots of owls were playing from a speaker somewhere in the midst of the village. The tribal folks inside were unmoved as I took pictures.

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There were many floral waterfalls too and an attractive bird among the floral exhibits around the central venue.

 

The many makeshift stalls and nurseries selling seeds and plants as part of the show offered me some photo opportunities which I didn’t get inside the Glass House. In a way these photo-ops were a consolation.

I left Lal Bagh after a round of quick shopping at the stalls. Among my picks was a large watering can. Thankfully, there was enough time to drop it at home before proceeding to office because I didn’t want to walk in to work with a watering can in hand.

And on that note, I ended a very different kind of sojourn at a Lal Bagh Flower show. Hopefully, the flowers are not kept so far away at the next edition.

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There’s so much to eat at Avarekai Mela – III

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My plans to visit the annual Avarekai Mela at VV Puram this year almost fell flat because I was unsuccessful in getting a day off. So far, I have attended the fest only on week days to avoid getting stuck in the midst of burgeoning holiday crowds during the weekend. So I was left with only one option, either go on a weekend or give the food soiree a miss this year. If I finally made up my mind to go it would have to be on the 14th or 15th of January, the last two days of the fest. These two days coincided with Sankranthi and Pongal, both of them being important festivals. And this further deterred me because transport would be a big problem as most drivers of public transport vehicles would be on a holiday.

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I eventually decided to go after my colleagues pushed me to go because in their opinion most people would prefer staying indoors to celebrate the festival than eat outside. So I needn’t have to worry about huge crowds.

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Luck was on my side that Saturday morning because I managed to get a bus pretty fast and then an auto to complete the journey to the venue, Sajjan Rao Circle in VV Puram. The sun-soaked morning further lifted my mood. When I reached the venue, I realised my colleagues were right because there were hardly any people at the stalls. Also, after facing huge crowds at last year’s fest, the organisers decided to put up a large shamiana on the side of Vasavi Condiments to serve most of the foods. A separate stall was put up for serving sweets.

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The warm surroundings, medley of aromas, and festive atmosphere made me feel hungry. But first I had to finish taking pictures. The vendors at the stalls were in a happy mood and most of them were waiting for the foodies to come in. Taking pictures turned out to be much easier save for the harsh 12 o’clock light.

After I was done with the pictures, I made a beeline for the stalls. I was in a mood for dosas and zeroed in on the Kali Dosa and Hithkabele Saru. I had fallen in love with Kali Dosas during my first visit to the fest and decided to relive that beautiful food experience. As I waited for my dosa, I clicked some more pictures. When the dosas came, I again took a couple of pictures before going chomp chomp chomp. The dosas (there were two on the plate) lived up to their reputation; they tasted divine.

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Now the question was what next? I had room for some more grub. I thought of going for the Ragi Mudde (ragi balls), the wonder food of Karnataka, accompanied by the Avarebelle Saru. Unlike, the Kali dosa and other dosas, the Ragi Mudde do not rank high on the taste quotient but then they are extremely nutritious and filling. They are a favourite with the poorer section of people in Karnataka because they are very economic too. It took me some time to finish off the two Ragi Muddes on my plate because as I mentioned they are partaken only for their rich nutritional values and not for their taste. As I munched and munched I noticed that visitors were gradually increasing. I was happy that I started early and reached at an apt time.

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I left the venue happy promising myself to come back next year too.

It’s “Kabali Da!” at the cake show!

I managed to make it to the 2016 Nilgiris Annual Cake Show at the 11th hour (on 1 January which happened to be the last day of the annual affair). And I took a crazy decision of going not only on a Sunday afternoon but also on the last day. Would the first day of the New Year end on a sweet note for me? Well, only time would tell!

Like in the recent years, the venue of the cake show was the St Joseph’s Indian School ground on Vittal Mallya Road. I reached the venue around 2pm and had roughly 45 minutes to tour the exhibition because after that I had to make it to the weekly meeting of the soon to come Bengaluru Tree Festival at next door Cubbon Park. And in between that I also had to make time for a quick chat with my friend Kannika who had come on one of her fleeting trips from Chennai.

After I saw off Kannika at the cake show premises, I entered the exhibition hall. As expected, the venue was super-crowded. And for the first time, I noticed bouncers were positioned at strategic locations. One of them even told me not to click pictures pointing out to the many warning signs that were screaming out “Photography prohibited”. For a moment, I felt disappointed because I had come all the way not only to drool at the cakes but also take pictures. My disappointment soon made way for happiness when I saw many visitors clicking away merrily and there were many like me with DSLRs.

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The cynosure of attention at this edition of the cake show was a near perfect version of the London Bridge made from 500kg of sugar. My first reaction when I saw the spectacular creation was “Wow!” Unlike most other cake exhibits which were encased in polythene covers this one wasn’t, thus making for a happy click. The dim lights added to the attraction.

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A neon green replica of a giant dragon (measuring 7.5 feet in height) vied for attention with the London Bridge. There were selfie enthusiasts galore laboriously trying to wade through the crowds to get that one picture to update their Facebook profiles.

The air was vibrant with loud banter, camera clicks, laughter, bawling of babies and various expressions of enthusiasm as I moved on clicking pictures.

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A cake picture of a dancing goddess looked enchanting.

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A colourful cookie doll house glowed from within a polythene case.

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Aladdin and the genie looked oh-so-cute!

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A giant sugar replica of a pretty doll in a red ball gown grabbed eyeballs.

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This multi-coloured, multi-tiered wedding cake looked so yummy. How I wish I could sink my teeth into it.

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True to its name, the Royal Rajasthan cake looked regal.

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The national bird of India was there too looking resplendent.

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And ho ho ho, whom do I see here, a large Santa!

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The yellow fishes made for a pretty picture.

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Queen Cleopatra in her cake avatar was a stunner all the way!

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I spent some time trying to figure out this cake. Jack and the bean stalk?

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Among the umpteen cakes was this chessboard too.

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A cake avatar of popular Kannada actor and director Shankar Nag would have gladdened the hearts of his many fans. Nationally famous for his production “Malgudi Days”, Shankar Nag died an untimely death in a car crash in 1990.

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Adding to all the colours were these pretty cake bags.

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And what do I see here – the 101 Dalmatians. Bow wow!

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The blue wedding cake with golden accents looked elegant.

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The guitar cake rocked.

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And there was one more wedding cake!

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I could not figure out this cake too – A sort of Money Mountain?

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An Ashoka Pillar stood tall among all the wonderful creations.

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The yellow BMW car wasn’t so visible.

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And finally, what do I see here – a giant cake replica of Kollywood superstar Rajnikanth. The makers were undoubtedly inspired by his recent blockbuster ‘Kabali’. The signature pose tells it all!  Droves of selfie takers made taking a picture very difficult. It only goes to show that Rajnikanth is equally popular in his cake avatar too!

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After a quick bite at the Consumer Fair adjoining the cake exhibition, it was time to rush to Cubbon Park only to realise that the meeting was called off because it was New Year day. The cakes nevertheless made my day and of course the hurried walk through the green expanses of Cubbon Park.