It was all about catching them young at this year's edition of Neralu, which took place in Bangalore last weekend (February 18 and 19). Trees, talks and games - what more could a child (or adult) in the city ask for?
Taanika Shankar was one of the budding tree enthusiasts attending the festival; this is her recounting of a fun, green weekend:
The first day of this exciting weekend began with tree walks happening at multiple locations across the city. On each of these walks, the audience learnt about the trees we saw - its origins, basic information and interesting facts. Cubbon Park Metro Station was buzzing with art installations, videos and a Tree Crossword, and Cubbon Park itself was also alive with fun activities like tree hunts.
Students across the city sent in art works for display.
Where art meets trees
Going green begins at school
The hug-a-tree was a truly humbling experience which included an innovation wherein you could hear a sound similar to a heartbeat while hugging the tree.
Taanika Shankar hugs a tree to listen to its heartbeat.
Photo Credit: The New Indian Express
Kaleido presented a spirited satirical street play on the pressing issue of the vanishing trees for development projects that attracted a huge audience! Vikram Sridhar enthralled his audience with his storytelling session under the setting sun. Bringing back memories of the old times when many people came together under a tree to listen to stories, this session engaged people of all ages. Vipul Rikhi gave a musical end to the day with his performance of Songs of Kabir.
The National Gallery of Modern Art hosted day 2 of the tree festival, which started off with workshops for children and adults; a parent-child tree journaling workshop by Sangeetha Kadur and Shilpasree, a biomimicry workshop by Seema Anand and Prashant Dhawan which introduced its participants to a discipline that teaches how to solve human challenges by learning from nature, and Treeveller’s Katte were just a few of the sessions.
Neha Utmani and PL Jose facilitated a workshop that brought smiles to the faces of children and adults alike when they were taught how to make fish and whistles out of coconut leaves. Talks on nature in the city and the evolution of plants enlightened their audience while storytelling sessions and a dance performance kept them entertained. In parallel were activities like Tree Crosswords, Tree Bingo, board games and displays of school projects.
Listening to the voices of the trees
The audio walk was another innovative and much enjoyed part of the tree festival; it involved listening to a voice recording while walking among the trees, which made it feel like the trees were talking to us.
Fun-filled, enriching and informative are just a few adjectives that describe the incredible tree festival. For an established tree lover, it was truly an amazing experience; for a novice, it was enlightening and fulfilling!
Text and Images by Taanika Shankar
View The Good City video experience of the Neralu Tree Festival by Sudeshna Bardhan: