Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bangalore's Neralu!

Over the weekend, we attended the second edition Bengaluru Tree Festival “Neralu” .  In its second year, the crowd-funded citizen-driven-festival celebrating the trees of Bengaluru, Neralu which literally means shade in Kannada, had a lot to offer for today’s urban kids, who hardly seem to have the time (or should I say the mindset?) to sit under the shade of a tree and look up at its leaves and dream away….Hmmm.....seems like an apt setting of a Ruskin Bond story right? Neralu provides a great prelude to the coming summer when Bengaluru’s trees are in their full bloom and splendor……when a walk around  any avenue lined with Gulmohars, Jacarandas or Tabebuia would sure be a treat to the eyes… of my favourite activities while growing up.
Though there were plenty of activities for tree lovers over the last few weekends at different locations, we managed to catch the final event mainly for kids near Bal Bhavan, Cubbon park. So Abhay accompanied by his daddy,  eagerly participated in a number of events like painting, stitching, puzzle solving and creating tapestries that were aimed at not only engaging the children’s creative side but also spreading awareness about trees and inculcating an appreciative mind towards the environment around us. Indeed, ‘Neralu’ turned out to be a green and cool “V-day” outing for us! J  
While I always believed that Abhay has been a lot more exposed to trees and nature than many other city kids, considering our frequent visits to my parent’s farm “Shristi” at Dharmasthala which houses a wide variety of flowering and fruit bearing trees, besides the usual farm plantation, we were quite dismayed to find that out eight year failed to think of any specific tree, when asked to name his favourite tree to draw! So much so all my ravings about our close-to-the nature vacations at Shristi!  Anyway, I always have a book-up my-sleeve to fill any gap…right?? So we picked up “The World of Trees” by one of my favourite authors Ruskin Bond and illustrations by Kollol Majumder brought out by National Book Trust publications.

This is a book of short stories introducing the young readers to various tree species of India, not only from a naturalistic point of view but also from a societal and a cultural perspective. For instance, in “The Mighty Banyan”, the author takes you through the massively spread out banyan tree with its aerial roots that is home to a wide variety of birds and insects and plays host to various Panchayath meetings; or in “The Mango Grove”, he touches upon the story of a Garden of a Thousand trees in the town of Hazaribagh; or what the Semal tree (silk cotton tree) means to the tribes of Madhya Pradesh in “A Feast in the Semal tree”; or the mention of powerful spirits that are believed to dwell in some trees like the neem tree or the champa tree; or as he offers an armchair travelogue/trek around “The trees of the Himalayas” ……all narrated in his characteristic style that is sure to make you smile! Believe me, you cannot help but chuckle when the opening line of “The Sacred Peepal” goes like is “In some ways peepal trees are great show offs! J


  1. Hi...I hit upon your blog from Neralu. It is such a delight to find so much information about books and thanks a lot for being a great guidance to other parents.

    If you don't mind, can you help with something? I am looking for some good encyclopedias in science, history etc. Can you suggest publishers or titles? My daughter is 7+ years.If you have any blog post, please point me to the post. Thanks.

  2. Thanks Srividhya for stopping by!:-) Thank you for your encouraging words. Comments like yours keep me going...I love reading to my son and I am happy if it sort of helps other parents in their reading adventures with their kids!:-)
    As far as Encyclopedia is concerned...I found Hachette's children's Infopedia which is a sort of yearbook that makes a great read. There is another 3-part series by Rupa publications which I will be soon featuring on my blog...but have already reviewed as a guest blogger on

  3. Hi Divya,
    Thanks a lot.I will check in sapna book house.I too live in south blr. Since past few months, I have been trying to locate a book club for children around j p nagar or jayanagar. Although my daughter likes to read, books are not her first choice at her leisure time. So wanted to check if a book club might help in increasing reading time. We read most nights but its only for a less time. Libraries too don't offer book club.

    Again thanks for an inspiring blog. I will be following closely.