Thursday, August 16, 2007

Like bees, they thronged Lalbagh flower show

Like bees, they thronged Lalbagh flower show
— Shalini Sengupta and Priya Saxena

Bangalore: As always, Lalbagh did justice to the most important day in the Indian calendar.
With the nation celebrating its 60 years of Independence, this historic garden wore a festive look. Lakhs thronged the place on Wednesday, carrying forward the annual tradition. In fact, at its peak, at least two lakh people roamed around this 240-acre garden.
Vendors selling fruits; children licking ice-creams and balancing balloons in both hands; soft-drink sellers replacing ice to keep his products cool every two hours; frantic policemen manning the entire garden — the scenes were familiar yet picture perfect.
The Glass House was the centre of attraction, looking like a vibrant flower surrounded by a buzzing swarm of people. Exotic flowers such as celosia plumosa from US, foxglove, snap dragon, Hamato canthus, cattleyas, dedrobiums, vandas, etc. from all over the globe were on display.
Visitors bought postcards of the flower arrangements inside the Glass House, including those of the classic Taj Mahal, apart from buying exotic flowers on display. Parents clicked pictures of their children amid flower gardens or on tree-tops.
There were serpentine lines of people in front of all the four gates of the botanical garden. This ended up blocking most roads around the Lalbagh area. Around 300 policemen were deployed to manage the crowd.
People who came in their vehicles took hours to gain entry into the garden.
Due to small and broken pavements, pedestrians were forced to walk on the roads, multiplying the problem. The job of traffic police became even tougher as children were also in large numbers.
As usual, autorickshaw drivers were found cashing in on the situation and were fleecing people. Lalbagh to M G Road, they were demanding Rs 40 to Rs 60. “We asked around 15 autorickshaw drivers and all of them quoted Rs 40 to Rs 60. They did not offer any explanation for the exorbitant charge,” complained a woman.


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