Lost amidst all the yellow!

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It is that time of the year when my favourite flowering tree, The Tree of Gold aka the Tabebuia argentea is in full bloom. The stunning spectacle of the Tree of Gold in full bloom keeps unfolding in my mind all through the year. I just love that divine feeling that engulfs me when I am near the yellow blooms. It is like festival time!

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My experience of sighting a fully-bloomed Tree of Gold is not complete without seeing the cluster of yellow canopies on the island surrounding the bandstand at Cubbon Park.

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A tricky thing is finding out when the tree is in full bloom. There have been times when I end up visiting the park when the tree is either not in full bloom or else a tad late when the flowers have started falling off. A couple of years back, five visits to the park turned out to be wrongly timed. That year, I never got to see the tree in full bloom although each of the six visits was beautiful in its own way. This year, I was second time lucky. Just a week back (on a Sunday), the tree had flowers but had not bloomed fully. I guessed that it will take another week or a fortnight for it to bloom fully. I guessed right; the following Sunday, three to four trees were in full bloom.

I reached Cubbon Park around half-past 5 on Sunday evening. This was around the same time I came to the park when the Tabebuia Impetiginosas were in bloom in November. The bandstand around which you can find the Trees of Gold is quite far away from the Corporation side entrance of Cubbon Park from where I entered the park. So it was a little early for me to tell if the trees were in full bloom. I had to walk for at least 10 min to reach the bandstand.

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As expected, the park was a beehive of activity as it was a Sunday. There were tourists, joggers, cyclists, children, photographers, and couples among others at every expanse of the park. I weaved through the sea of humanity all the time looking around here and there for photo opportunities if any. A lone crow perched on one of the park’s many ornamental lampposts caught my eye first followed by a jackfruit tree laden with fruit.

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So engrossed was I in looking for photo opportunities that I completely missed the first of the Trees of Gold. It was there in all its golden glory covered with flowers. I couldn’t believe my luck. There were a couple of shutterbugs around among who was my fellow shutterbug friend Priya who I completely missed seeing. It was only when I ran into her again that I realised she was in the park too 🙂 . We literally dashed into each other with our cameras.

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A puffed rice seller had chosen to do business under the tree. A very strategic location I must say! Just a stone’s throw away I could see the other trees looking resplendent in their yellow canopies. I couldn’t help admiring them.

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Just then, another puffed rice seller made his way toward the yellow blooms. He knew fully well that if he had to brisk business it had to be here.

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Selfie enthusiasts and photographers were at their enthusiastic best and so were their muses. The box covered with a blue rexine sheet which turned out to be an eyesore the last year was still around 😦 .  There were a few visitors who were relaxing under the canopies with mats spread out on the grass.

As I looked around I spotted this good-looking fella. Wonder what was in his mind?

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By now the puffed-rice seller had settled down comfortably and was waiting for buyers. And the good-looking fella had settled down comfortably under a tree.

By then a balloon-and-toy seller had also made his way to the place. He was selling bubble makers and trying to attract youngsters by blowing bubbles. His efforts bore fruit because in no time, a tiny tot made his way to him and started gesturing to his parents to buy a bubble maker for him. Seconds later, a group of kids had gathered around him.

 

A young Muslim lad was the most enthusiastic of the lot. He was jumping to catch the bubbles something most of us have done as kids. And even as he was jumping he called out to his uncle. The uncle rushed to his bubbly nephew along with the other children in the family and to my surprise bought only one bubble maker for four kids! Not surprisingly, the young lad was not happy and started wailing. He wanted one for himself. The visibly embarrassed uncle had to oblige the cry baby. Shortly, another kid from the same group came running towards the bemused seller. He wanted to exchange the bubble maker with one of another colour!

Very soon, there was another kid jumping high to catch the bubbles. He too called out to his parents to buy a bubble maker for him. The parents allowed their little one to play with bubbles as long as he wanted to before buying him one.

The good-looking fella had by now moved from under the tree to the centre of the lawn.

I hovered around till the security guards started whistling asking visitors to move out. And what I would say was a fantastic day came to an end. The yellow flowers, soap bubbles, kids and their energy levels and of course the good-looking fella made my day!

 

 

 

 

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Hidden Gems from a Master

Image courtesy: NGMA

The National Gallery of Modern Art is host to a unique exhibition of cartoons numbering 96, by master cartoonist, the late Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Laxman (24 October 1921 to 26 January 2015) more popularly known as RK Laxman.

Image courtesy: NGMA

These cartoons are different from his usual cartoons, the ones most of us are familiar with, because they were created by Laxman at leisure when he was at his creative best. The works are a mixture of completed works and doodles. And they provide a fascinating insight to his creative prowess.

Image courtesy: NGMA

The exhibition was inaugurated by K Jairaj, Former Additional Secretary, Government of Karnataka, on 13 September 2017. During his address, Jairaj spoke of his meeting with Laxman and mentioned that he “drew without malice. His cartoons were always contemporary and vivid in the minds of the public”. Dr Sathyabhama Badhreenath, Director of NGMA, who also spoke on the occasion referred to Laxman’s works as stress busters.

Image courtesy: NGMA

Laxman was never in favour of displaying his doodles. The cartoons on display at NGMA have already been exhibited at the Indian Institute of Cartoonists.

Image courtesy: NGMA

VG Narendra of the Indian Institute of Cartoonists spoke at length about his long association with the cartoonist which dated back to the 1970s. He spoke of a memorable day in Bangalore when RK Laxman, Mario Miranda and Abu Abraham, all of them great cartoonists, together graced an event. Speaking about the current exhibition, Narendra said that the NGMA is an apt place to display the cartoons thanks to its sprawling space.

Image courtesy: NGMA

Among those present on the occasion was GS Krishnan, a proud owner of the largest collection of Laxman’s cartoons. Krishnan began collecting Laxman’s cartoons from a very young age. He first met Laxman in 2009 and showed him his collection. Laxman was very happy and rewarded GSK with his book ‘Laxman Rekha’.

Image courtesy: NGMA

On display are cartoons of a temple, birds, bicycles and planes. A very poignant nevertheless amusing one showing environmental destruction was my favourite. It has a group of people taking shelter from rain and floods on the stump of a felled tree with one umbrella over their heads. The story would have been different if the tree had not been felled.

 

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

There is one of a funny-looking crook with what seems to be a bundle of looted cash. While all the cartoons have Laxman’s unmistakable humour, there are many which stand out like that of a gigantic frog on whose back are a cluster of apartment complexes (perhaps a reference to the shaky foundations of these buildings), a king enjoying a lighter moment with his queen, the common man as William Tell, a man on a commode, a fight between two baddies, ghosts, a foot on an egg, the artist himself in a whirlpool, faces in the crowd, the artist as a judge (a take on the Shah commission), a politician indulging in a alcoholic drink adorned with pictures of nude women, Jagjivan Ram as a crocodile.

Image courtesy: NGMA

There’s a humorous one of the artist’s famous writer brother RK Narayan startled at the dead of the night by a ghost.

Image courtesy: NGMA

The exhibition is a must-visit for one and all. I really doubt there is anyone who is not a fan of RK Laxman, the God of Cartooning.

Image courtesy: NGMA

The exhibition is on till the 1st of October.

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA

Image courtesy: NGMA