With my morning cup of tea, skies still in slumber, fresh air, no sight or sound of vehicles, I peek over this open forest from my balcony and I see there’s a wild burst of yellow cassia in all that green. There’s an occasional visit from a Brahminy Kite, the lively fly by of a pandemonium of parakeets and even an egret or two once in a while, enroute their trip to the near by lake.
There’s also a thin film of dust of the concrete on my rails, some abandoned garbage bags, a dump truck, a crane and the fleet of offices burning bright in an up and coming tech park. And there begins a typical day – a day of stringing confusing moments of the therapeutic green trees and blue lakes or the side effects of a promising metropolis.
Happiness is a choice – I’ve heard, and so you pick your moments. I chose to create a little ensemble of colourful preserves for myself in the March of 2013. A series I called – ‘The Flowering Trees of Bangalore’. I noticed that when a viewer sees some of these works it’s either the nostalgia of having once lived by this kind of a flowering tree, or the pride in that the flowering tree still blossoms in one’s own backyard, or it’s a simple untainted pleasure of seeing a joyous colour or feeling a sombre effect of the composition at large. And I have been lucky a few times to have felt the connection that transpired between the three of us – the tree, the viewer and me. Ever so often the moment hasn’t been about the image or me, it’s really a penchant for the city’s green legacy.
These works are digital images that have been partly hand-drawn and scanned, digitally coloured and created with unique placement of flowering stalks, pods and leaves. Most of the details were observed and sought out from Karthik’s journal – www.wildwanderer.com, a compelling source of information on Bangalore’s trees, actually collecting fallen flowers and leaves and other free images from the internet.
Here are my 10 picks from Bangalore’s rich selection of flowering trees.
Jacaranda trees on the quiet streets of Indiranagar are my fondest memories, though they dot the city all over and can hardly go unnoticed.
Sometime around March, I almost conspire to go to the North of Bangalore along Palace grounds towards Cauvery Theatre. And just for the never failing burst of yellow – the trees of gold are on the left of the road.
The flyover at the Domlur junction is a bit chaotic for me and with it already being hard to pay attention, there’s the added distraction of the Pink Poui blooms that rise high over the flyovers.
If pretty Minsk Square is hard to approach around the May season of the Pink Cassia owing to Metro and other developments, there’s one I’ve seen from across Ulsoor lake and one at Maharani’s College near KG Road.
These are a favourite! Almost the reason why the 17th Cross bridge in Malleshwaram West is my favourite walk any given May (or any given day). I’ve almost never missed a flowering season on that bridge.
They are in so many corners of the city it’s hard to pin one. Apparently they are a bit of an invasive species even. That said, the trees population in the city was planned by German born botanist and horticulturalist- Krumbeigel and many are merely ornamental.
Again these are in many corners of Bangalore and it takes some effort to observe the flowers as the trees are usually huge and high. This is one of my favourite trees with a delicately beautiful blossom and reminds me that “Nature” is the real artist at play.
Here’s where I feel nostalgia. I grew up in an apartment where there was an Indian Cork Tree. Unfortunately they cut it to the bark and I was too young to protest. I’m not sure though why it has such a boring name, while it’s fragrance is quite the contrary. It does have other interesting names yet – Millingtonia and Akasha Mallige.
The Pride of India as it is otherwise called, quite a few streets in the JP Nagar and BTM areas of Bangalore are dotted with these. I’ve seen the many shades of pink and purple flowers. The one I depict, is a personal favourite.
The yellow blooms with the brown pods are the most inspiring contrast in a tree foliage, if I were asked. And what a brilliant yellow these Copper Pods bring. The way to make mundane trips to 9th Block Jayanagar to shop, is to stop to see these blooms along the way.]