Sunday, August 25, 2019

Participated in a tree planting drive recently.

We planted a lot of saplings densely in a small area. This is the Miyawaki method where a variety of native species are grown in close proximity to one another. The plants promote the growth of one another, as a result the forest grows faster. More on the method here.


We were a team of close to 200 volunteers, who had heard about this project from various groups and NGOs. Everyone came together at the Indian Railway Institute of Disaster Management to lend a hand and work towards a better climate and a greener city.


The organizers had scientifically selected the saplings and placed them out on the plots at the exact location where they had to be planted. The volunteers worked the soil and transplanted each sapling at the marked locations. Next, the plots were watered and mulched with hay for the ground to retain the moisture.


It was a beautiful day and people showed up in large numbers. Was great to see the energy of all volunteers - young, old and everyone in between, families, students, working professionals and retirees alike.




Have seen lots of videos and pictures of people talking about the Miyawaki forests. Out here I got to see first hand one that had been planted in December. Gazing at those mini forests gave us ample motivation as we planted more samplings beside them.


Hope to visit again in a few months and see the results of our combined efforts.


ರಾಜ ಭವನಕ್ಕೆ ಸುಸ್ವಾಗತ / Welcome to Raj Bhavan




My cousin and I accepted the Governor's invite for an open house and toured the Karnataka Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru today.

As we enjoyed the band playing at the glass house, we were treated to some good tea and sweetu-khara (biscuits). We walked through the garden, marvelling at bonsai trees, enjoying the light spray from fountains, appreciating the manicured lawns, the sculptures of mythical beings watching over them and the variety of flowers and plants grown in the form of different animals. The whole place was lit up with multi coloured lights that enhanced the beauty of the gardens in the evening light.

As we approached the mansion, we watched the tricolor lowered ceremonially, while all the guards stood still firmly in attention.

Inside the colonial-style building, we entered the formal dining hall where its taxidermy animal heads stared down at us from their high perches on the wall, the many British era paintings below them tried to soften the ambience, the crystalware in the solid wooden cabinets reminded you of the real purpose of the room, while the ancient sculptures transported you to a different era altogether.

Next we visited the governor's office with its two rows of red cushioned chairs with the governor's blue cushioned chair presiding over them. This hall is dotted with beautiful artifacts from several centuries. The seats in the waiting area have enamel designs on wood and plush cushions covered in bright embroideries. The walls are lined with collections of photographs of all governors of Karnataka, presidents and prime ministers of India. One end offered a delightful view of the garden, while the other end lead to the ceremonial hall where leaders are sworn in.

The ceremonial hall is an awe inspiring place too. It's walls are decorated with glorious Tanjore paintings and enormous tapestries which would look even grander with some restoration. Rows of wooden chairs emblazoned with the national emblem were neatly lined up facing the stage which was now covered by a giant screen. A short video showcasing aerial views of the campus and a quick tour of the interiors and arrangements at the Raj Bhavan was followed by a recorded speech by Governor Vajubhai Vala.

We left the hall and walked past a series of rooms meant for official guests, each named after an Indian river. We exited the mansion, walked through a small portion of the garden, past a rudraksha tree planted by Prime Minister Modi, and found ourselves back at the flower clock by the main gate after 1.25 hours. Since we couldn't click photos during the tour, I satisfied my rebellious itch by sneak-clicking a picture then and there.



Too bad the Governor didn't meet us. Oh well!