Bengaluru: A small group of youngsters dressed in green t-shirts clapped, danced, and played the tambourine in Cubbon Park on Saturday afternoon as Neralu 2017, Bengaluru’s tree festival, kicked off.
A street play in Kannada, Kaleido was next on the agenda, drawing a large crowd of curious onlookers as it asked the thought-provoking question: What if wi-fi grew on trees? Would that make them more precious?
Janani, a Neralu volunteer said, "We aren’t just talking about the benefits of trees. When we talk about our friends, we don't point out how "useful" they are to us. " Speaking to DC, noted storyteller Vikram Sridhar said, " It was under trees that culture was formed. People would take shelter in the shade and talk. My stories are based on folklore and are not region specific."
Not preachy in the least, all their events are experiential and based on interactive art forms. Srishti School of Design students played a major role in kickstarting the event by placing art installations in Cubbon Park Metro Station and on the park lawns.
Pointing to a cotton canvas photogram, Srishti student Karthika said, " This is a Cyanotype. I used a paint roller to spread a chemical all over it and left it overnight in a dark room. People are now placing objects on it. The UV rays of the sun turns the fabric blue, contrasting the white objects." Her aim was to play with shade, light and shadow and the idea of trees giving us shelter.
Another Srishti student stood painting walls with distemper at the bottom of the stairs outside the Cubbon Park Metro Station. Free comic sketches were placed near the ticket counters and a large white board Crossword board hung on the wall. It’s creator, a botanist named Shrikanth, said," These words are related to trees, words that we have been hearing as kids. This crossword has been created over six hours."
At 7: 30 am, participants gathered for a tree walk in the fresh park air, to appreciate the value of avenue trees. A treasure hunt was held with the 'Sparrows' app, and people scouted looking for clues all the way from Bal Bhavan....