Cats and their complicated social lives!



Thanks to the lockdown(s), my photography escapades have been reduced to zero. That left me with only some home photography to do. My favourite model was my dear cat Roller. A handsome 14-month-old ginger fluffball, his good looks were too difficult to digest for Shobith, the other Tom at home. Shobith is 4 years old and himself a good-looking dude. But the Alpha male in him got the better of everything else and he saw to it that Roller left the house. After a battle royale one night, Shobith sent Roller packing.

Roller and his poses:


The same Roller who gave me such adorable poses is now a nervous wreck and has relegated himself to a small portion of the tiled roof. He refuses to come down and has suddenly become camera shy. So with my favourite model in hiding, I have little or no photography to do. I miss Roller and I miss photographing him. Needless to say, I am terribly depressed. If only these feline hulks could go through some counselling! Sob sob! When I cry inconsolably my mom says I am mad and retorts, “You and your cats!”

Roller at his new home on the rooftop.

Lal Bagh Flower Show – January 2020


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.

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The pink blooms in all their glory


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.


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.



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.



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?


Lost amidst all the yellow!


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!


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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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.



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?



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!





Lal Bagh Flower Show – January 2019



This year’s Republic Day edition of the famous Lal Bagh Flower Show turned out to be a fitting floral tribute to the Father of the Nation on the occasion of his 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations.

Various replicas of Mahatma Gandhi including floral ones were there everywhere. There were a few of Gandhiji’s wife Kasturba as well.


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While a grand floral replica of the Sabarmati Ashram was the cynosure of attention, I must admit I was more smitten by Gandhi’s monkeys especially the ones outside the Glass House that looked like they were coated with strawberry ice-cream. These huge replicas of the simians were sponsored by an ice-cream company. However, the pink replicas were installed in a fenced space much to the disappointment of selfie-enthusiasts.

Another disappointment was the arrangement of flowers. I missed taking many good pictures like in the earlier versions of the show as the flowers weren’t close enough for me to take pictures, armed as I always am with an 18-55mm lens. Luckily, there were a lot of pictures at the many nurseries for me to go click click click.




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


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After missing last year’s edition of this popular food soiree, I managed to make it to the fair this year and that too on a week day! I managed to get a day off. Yay!

The traffic was dense on that Friday afternoon. I chose to travel during the lunch hours which would be most apt I should say to visit a food fest like this one. I must have reached Sajjan Rao Circle, the venue of the fair around 2.30pm. I had wanted to reach the place around 1 to 1.30pm but somehow couldn’t make it.


There wasn’t much of a crowd. The unmistakeable aromas of dosas getting roasted on a tawa greeted me as I approached the food stalls. Undoubtedly, the dosas like always were the most desired items on the menu. The cherubic ever-smiling cook was there this time too, busy laying out Holliges. He seems to have become a media favourite over the years and had a lot of TV camera crew watching him with admiration.

There were a lot of sellers adding to the lively atmosphere surrounding Vasavi Condiments, the organisers of the fest, including some who were selling raw avarekai. Buyers could choose to buy the avarekai either with the pod or shelled. Sacks of avarekai were also being downloaded at the venue.

I was surprised at seeing this ice-apple seller. Ice apples normally hit the markets during the summer months. Perhaps, the early produce was an impact of climate change?

This lady selling varieties of puffed rice was there at the 2017 edition of the fair too.








Unlike earlier editions of the Avarekai Mela where I only had my camera with me, this time I had a smartphone too. Needless to say, I used both to take pictures. I went on a clicking spree for almost an hour.


After I was done with the pictures, I decided to have a go for the food. In spite of the presence of so many delicacies at the stalls, I decided to go for my favourite, the Kali dosa with Avarekai sambar as the accompaniment. When waiting for my plate of dosas, I again took my camera out of the bag and clicked some more pictures. When the dosas arrived piping hot, I clicked a picture of them too. There were two on the platter. Hungry as I was, I finished off the dosas in no time. The taste was divine!


Instead of going for another kind of dosa, I thought I would check out the Avarekai Pulao next. The Pulao which was served in a leaf bowl was a tad spicy and made me want to have something sweet.

A highlight of this year’s Avarekai mela was the introduction of Avarekai softy ice-cream. I did not think twice before ordering a softy. When the softy arrived all green in a nice-looking cone, I devoured it. It was lip-smacking and almost made me want to go for one more. The craving to have more food vanished with the softy. Perhaps, I should have chosen to eat something else instead of the pulao. I walked around the stalls one last time and decided to go home. My feet had started aching too.