Lal Bagh Flower Show – January 2020

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Of late, owing to various reasons, I have not been regular to the flower shows at Lal Bagh. This year too, I all but missed going to the show dedicated to one of modern India’s greatest personalities Swami Vivekananda on the occasion of his 157th birth anniversary. I have not been as regular to office as I once used to be and couldn’t dare ask for a day off. And if I had to visit Lal Bagh on a Saturday I had to be there really early and finish clicking pictures fast before the place got crowded with holiday visitors. I kept pondering on what to do. Finally, I decided to make a dash to the gardens on Saturday. The urge to click pictures got the better of any feelings of disinclination to step out of my house. My camera had not been functioning as well as it used to be. But I brushed aside any fears about my malfunctioning camera coming in the way of taking decent pictures.

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I left home at half-past seven in the morning. It was bright and sunny and I must say I was very happy because all these factors had the makings of a great day of photography. I got a bus in no time and alighted at Richmond Circle. Surprisingly, there were some hiccups getting a rickshaw to Lal Bagh. The drivers were quoting all sorts of fares. It took me some time to get a rickshaw. When I reached the Lal Bagh Double Road gate, I raced towards The Glass House, the main venue of the flower show. To my surprise, the number of people at the show was anything I imagined them to be. There were so few! I couldn’t believe my luck! After, buying a ticket, I switched on my camera and started clicking.

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My joy was short-lived when the camera started acting up. I was just not able to focus. Several attempts later, I managed to get it partially working and succeed in taking some pictures. And again, it completely stopped working. I had to repeatedly switch it off and on and struggled with the focus. I must have taken a few more pictures and was approaching the roses when it stopped working again. This time, I was not able to make it work at all. I gave up and felt devastated. After looking around at all the colour and numerous flowers, I felt shell-shocked. The last time my camera developed a snag was in 2014 at an edition of the Kadalekai Parishe. From the point of view of photography, the flower shows are far more significant than a Kadalekai Parishe. The only consolation was that unlike then, I had a smartphone with me. So, I continued going around the floral fiesta taking pictures with my Pixel phone. Needless to say, the pictures I took were not a patch on the pictures that I would have taken with my DSLR. Sob sob!

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The floral display was fascinating. If only my camera was working! Statues of Swami Vivekananda were all over the place. There were a lot of photographs of the revered monk adorning the walls of The Glass House accompanied by a lot of information. There was an atmosphere of divinity enveloping the whole arena. Light music playing in the background added to the serenity. The brilliant sunshine lit up the floral arrangements and added to the beauty quotient. It felt as if the rays of the sun dropped pockets of blessings from the heavens above. All these factors helped in lifting up my sagging spirit.

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After I left The Glass House, I went all around the place soaking in the colourful surroundings. There were a lot of stalls selling anything from plants, manures, gardening implements, seeds, foods to knick-knacks, handicrafts, clothes and more. I was on a shoe-string budget so had to do with small purchases, a notable one being a mini hand-exerciser which I bought for only 40 bucks!

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After spending a good three hours at the place, I left with happy feelings. It felt so good walking in the sunshine on a nice January day. I hope to make it to the Independence Day show with my camera in good health and before that the Mango Mela in May/June.

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The pink blooms in all their glory

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The lovely blooms of the Tabebuia impetiginosa are all over the Garden City.  This year, I had to forego my annual visit to Cubbon Park to the little island where there is a cluster of these beautiful trees. The Tabebuia impetiginosa blooms in Cubbon Park are simply breathtaking because of the presence of a greater number of these trees in the park. This year, I am tied up with so many things that I am unable to find time for a visit. To add to that, I am under the weather with a bad throat and a bad cough.

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However, a visit to my father’s office post-Christmas offered a pleasant surprise. There were so many of these blooms around the office campus and the living quarters. The view was enchanting. This is the same place where I once stayed. The trees are in the vicinity of my childhood home.

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The colour the sweet air and the clean surroundings took me back to those fun-filled childhood days when all I saw was green, green and more green. That was when Bangalore was a Garden City in every sense of the word and was covered with trees and plants of myriad hues.

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I went on a clicking spree but this time it was with my mobile as  I was not carrying my DSLR with me. My favourite sight turned out to be this one with an anthill. Anthills which were a common sight in the 1970s and 1980s can hardly be seen these days. Where have all the ants gone?

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Movie Review: Dabangg 3

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Picture courtesy: Business Today

A typical Bollywood fare, Dabangg 3, has it all, romance, hero vs villain and hero vs villain’s cronies’ encounters. Sonakshi as Rajjo is the perfect Indian housewife. Very beautiful and very dutiful. The kind of girl, every Indian man will like to take to his mother. Like in Dabangg and Dabanng 2, Salman Khan as Chulbul Pandey is at his best – all muscle, all smile, all desi humour and all ‘shtyle’. He makes mincemeat of all the baddies, some of them twice his size and with more muscles, with such consummate ease that will put even ace MMA artistes to shame. Some master fighters may even want to hang up their boots after watching the fight scenes! Even the new bad boy on the scene, a very repulsive-looking Bali Singh (essayed well by Sandalwood star Sudeep) stands no chance against Bollywood’s legendary muscle-man. Newcomer Saiee Manjrekar, Chulbul Pandey’s first crush in the movie, makes an impact with her innocent looks. Arbaaz Khan as ‘Makkhi’ Pandey, Chulbul’s brother’ has a very deceptive role. Pramod Khanna comes in place of his brother, the late Vinod Khanna, who played the role of the hero’s father in the earlier two versions. His resemblance to Vinod Khanna is so strong that he can easily pass off as his famous brother.
Dabangg 3 is a good entertainer with hardly a dull moment.

Book Review: What Mina Did

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Relationships, deceit and lies form the crux of debutant author Geetha Menon’s book ‘What Mina Did’ and has been inspired by her own traumatic life experience. Set in the late 1990s and at the turn of the millennium, the novel exposes the ordeals people in love go through in conservative Indian families where love is still a dirty word. Despite the percolation of Western culture in Indian lifestyles, certain relationships are still not acceptable in the Indian milieu.

The life stories of the protagonist Mina and her childhood friend Neelu are a study in contrast but the strength of their friendship is so deep that it comes to their rescue when all else fails. One of the messages, the book conveys is the power of friendship. It also depicts the role relationships play in shaping one’s life. While on one hand, a strong relationship can make your life, a bad one can even break the strongest of individuals leading him or her to take extreme steps.  Readers also get a peek into the lives of Indians living in the United States.

The author has a flair for story-telling. She has taken great pain to go into the minutest details in her narration and at the same time has been careful enough to not miss out on vital details. The story movies seamlessly from chapter to chapter and all the details remain etched in your mind. So you will hardly find the need to move pages backward to check out for things you have forgotten especially a grizzly murder that is mentioned in the early part of the book and the events that led to it.

‘What Mina Did’ is one of those books that you can read fast and finish in one or two sittings.

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Excerpt from the book

When he left, Neelu sighed heavily. ‘No, Mina, he’s not a Hindu. His name is John …’ She stopped, sighed again. ‘Okay, there’s no good way to say this, so I’ll just spit it out. John’s not Indian. He’s from Boston. And he’s African-American.’

Obit – My Father

 

A little over a year, there have been twin tragedies at home. First, it was my brother who lost his battle with the big C. And now, fate has cruelly snatched away my father from me. After battling for his life for one week in the ICU following a bathroom accident, he passed away early morning on Wednesday. Even a few hours before his death he had his favourite, a radio, beside him. It was still on when the medical staff handed it over to me when leaving the hospital. His last words to me were, “Eat well, child, and look after your mother” and then he followed that with “I am too tired, let me sleep”. Did he foresee his death?
The loss of a patriarch creates a huge vacuum, difficult to fill and difficult to overcome. A stickler for punctuality, my father led a disciplined life and was never late to his office even on a single day during his entire work life; and he never missed his eight hours of sleep. We never really cared to set the alarm as he was always there to wake us up.  Now that he is not around, things are not going to be the same anymore.

Movie Review: The Lion King

 

Cute, adorable, innocent, astonishing multiplied innumerable times is what would best describe Baby Simba as he makes his appearance on the screen in ‘The Lion King’. As if that overload of cuteness is not enough, Simba makes you want to have him in your arms as he tosses around in his mom Sarabi’s arms. Dad Mufasa is as majestic as his son is cute. The ideal copybook lion! Mufasa is handsome to the core with a magnificent mane and a classic roar that would bring life to a halt.

Mufasa is a great dad and Simba quite a brat! The equation between the father and son is great. The twosome makes such an adorable duo. Alas! Villains and cheats abound in the animal kingdom too. Simba’s Uncle Scar and his sidekicks, the pack of hyenas, are a testimony to this. There are old faithfuls who would go miles to help out their friends in times of catastrophe. Zazu, the hornbill, is one friend the likes of whom everyone would like to have. Nala and Sarabi turn out to be soul mates extraordinaire to Simba and Mufasa. Their love and affection are boundless!

The jungle is a hostile place, especially for little lion cubs. Predators are lurking everywhere, behind the bushes and rocks, on top of trees, and sometimes in your own midst. Adventurous youngsters like Simba and Nala can prove to be quite a handful to their parents.

The adventure through the African wilderness is a marvellous experience and quite intimidating. The laugh of the hyenas could knock the daylights out of you. Thanks to the great animation and special effects, watching ‘The Lion King’ is one armchair journey you shouldn’t miss. Waste no time! Head to the nearest movie hall, put on those 3D/4D glasses and make the best of the next two hours.