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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.