Monday, January 28, 2008

A lazy afternoon at Cubbon Park

I had a Wordsworth moment the other day.

It was a warm, sleepy Bangalore afternoon at Cubbon Park. I was on a lunch break from work. Everybody in the park was happy, mellow and relaxed. Even the icy expression on Aunty Victoria's statue seemed to have thawed a bit in the afternoon breeze.

The sunlight filtering through the treetops made beautiful dappled patterns on the duck pond. It reflected off the oiled heads of a lone couple under a sprawling banyan, and brought the bald pate of a man asleep on a bench, into dramatic focus. A bunch of burqa clad women were busy picking fallen leaves out of their lunch boxes as they sat in a circle, giggling.

The fountain played lazily. Pan-chewing women gardeners picked weeds insouciantly off a mound of of flowering marigolds, salvias and dwarf zinnias around the statue of the Wodeyar. The ornate lion benches bearing the royal emblem had been given a fresh coat of paint. The Vidhana Soudha and it's new found twin loomed up majestically behind a copse of fading pink Tabebuias near the Central Library.

As I turned into the library, I caught something out of the corner of my eye and turned. Nothing quite prepared me for what I was about to see. An ocean of roses. An acre of them at least. Of every colour and shape. Some as big as two palms cupped together. All in bloom, all at once.

I spotted the old favourites that my grandmother had taught me to name: The baby-pink Eterna, the lavender Whiskey, the delightfully fragrant yellow-and-red Double Delight, the blood red Prince Edward. And hundreds of nameless but astoundingly beautiful others. All set off perfectly by the brick red and granite facade of the library. Absolutely breathtaking.








Yup. We're still the garden city alright. Except we've almost forgotten what to do about it.

PS: If you want to see the rose garden live and in full bloom, go NOW. The rose bushes are specially pruned back every winter to get them to bloom all at once, during republic day. Another week more and you might not see as many. Speak nicely to the cross looking caretaker and she'll let you climb over the fence to take close up shots.

24 comments:

narendra shenoy said...

Wow! That's some prose you've been cranking out! Great stuff. My salutations.

Cindy/Snid said...

Beautiful! Both the roses and your writing...

anoushka taraporevala said...

thank you, biker dude, for making bangalore come alive. as you always have. the lyricist and the balladeer in you is complemented by the photographer inside you. please go on being the essesence of bangalore for all your fans.

aparyapth said...

Wordsworth will be proud of the sheer poesy! Your prose is as fragrant as the rose...

Pri said...

only you would find time to visit cubbon park in the middle of a work day. did you have to give up your daily kc das trip to visit with the roses? also is my favourite butta man still there? i miss him. also heart shaped balloon man. and the train.

NK said...

Thanks for bringing to life the Bangalore that I love .....

Rithish said...

@bikerdude
Someone said, "a picture is worth a thousand words". But your words are indeed worth a thousand pics... You successfully were able to plant a beautiful picture in my mind.. yo buddy!!!

Rithish said...

@bikerdude
and... where is your office located buddy??? On lunch breaks, you take a stroll through Cubbon Park??? :o)

The Darkling Thrush said...

:) despite despising roses,
must say that's vewwy pwutty.

Wordsworth moment alright!

kavitha said...

poignant!

engeiyo poita ba...!

Anonymous said...

You get to go to Cubbon Park for your "lunch break"???? Is there any opening in your company - will do anything for fresh air.

Empress said...

We used to do random walks in Cubbon park too, on our way to the Central Library, where we were supposed to do research on some long gone poet or something. But like you say, the roses, the butta, the lurking couples, the wind and the shade, not to mention oily moustached lawyers from next door were always a distraction.

Bikerdude said...

naren, cindy, anoushka, aparyapth, kavitha: Thanks! Though I must say my own gushing creeped me out just a little!! But hey, its a rose garden, what to do, no? :)

rithish: Thanks! I work at the end of MG road, so very close to Cubbon Park :)

pri: Then where I'll go, mental? Shrungar complex loo vaa? Yes Benazir (Bhutta) and Ballon fellow still there. Also cotton candy man and "Ayes, hogri akade" police.

nk: You're very welcome. I love namma Bengaluru just as much :)

darkling thrushu: yes indeed they are. Papa what rose did to you i say?

maami said...

Greetings.
Much appreciate those who take time off the fast lane to stop and smell the roses.

10year said...

Nimg nenap iraakilla, yaakandr nimg nummasht vayassagilla. mid 80s naag Deccan Herald-naag ondh ad barthitth ree, CHARMS cigarette-ge.

Tag line

give me a park bench, the Sunday paper and Charms.

bhaaL besht itth ree accompanying photo. Nunag gotthidd mattige alle Cubbon park hanthaek thegdhir baek, yaakandr foreground-naag ee maga sigraet hidkoND park bench naag koothkond paper odh bekaadr background naag hoovin-thota kaaNthith, idha irbaek ans thyth!

10yearslate said...

bhaaL sorry-ree. Nun phull hesar bareelilla!

Bikerdude said...

empress: haha i'll never get over those strange chinese collars with two tails! Milaaard!

maami: thanks :)

10yearslate: I only remember "Rrrrrrelaxxxx, have a charminar". Though I gotta say, anyone smoking next to a rose garden is missing out on some seriously good air!

Prats said...

This sort of takes me down memory lane....years ago when we had to do a measure drawing of the library building...and the gardens around it...it still brings on a whiff of fresh air when u go past...

Therestlessquill said...

Biking, flowers and a reva.
Wah, wah!

How you write such a nice blog, tell?
Keep writing!

TaChi said...

see i missed this in the last trip..i used to go there afternoons to hang out with books and camera...got strange glares few times...but what the heck...

Cindy/Snid said...

By the way, I have awarded you the "You Make My Day Award" You can check out my blog for details, and thanks for making my day!

anoushka taraporevala said...

Hey Bikerdude I re-read your blog. We in Mumbai have this major distinction ie the South is Bombay and the 'burbs are Mumbai. Do you have a similar distinction in your town? Cubbon Park according to me is most definately Bangalore. What areas your town qualify as Bengalooru? Peenya, yes?

RustyNeurons said...

Cubbon Park walkthroughs... hmmm... you should be writing more and more - and compile together - it will make a nice read abt Bengalooru..
I am going to miss all this very soon :((((
Hey BD, would like to say hi in person someday - before I go away..

Bikerdude said...

prats: yeah, it does, doesnt it? Thats one spot that hasnt changed one bit in 75 years.

restlessquill: Blush thanks I say :)

tachi: I tried to take a photo of the caretaker. She caved and let me into the garden to take closeups. To the extreme amusement of passers by :P

cindy/snid: Thanks a lot :) Sweet of you to do so! Indians blog too, huh? ;)

anoushka: Strangely, nobody is THAT unhappy about Bengaluru. In fact to some people like yours truly, Bengaluru sounds more genuine. Unlike Mumbai and Chennai, we don't had a difference of opinion on the origin of the city's name. So it's all Bangalore for now. Maybe sometime soon, everyone will quietly start calling it Bengaluru.

rusty: I think a free blogsite is the only possible compiler I can ever have :p Sure would be lovely to meet the brains beyond the evidently non-rusty neurons :)