Lalbagh is located at the centre of the town persay. I've known Lalbagh for more than a decade or so. Not too well perhaps. Visiting Lalbagh was a daily practise during childhood. Come vacation, and we used to go there. We used to 'walk' there for an hour or so, followed by breakfast at MTR. The ritual was followed so adamently that i took time to go back to the mundane school schedule.
Now, that i've reached college, Lalbagh has become distant with respect to time. I do visit the place occasionally, on the other hand, father visits the botanical garden everyday.
One reason which made us go there dutifully, was the promised breakfast at MTR. We went there, to savour hot idlis', sambar, masale doses, and kesari bath.
Though i don't remember much of the Lalbagh of my childhood, the trips made in the past few years have been memorable.
During school, M and i used to wake up at six in the morning, leave the house around 6:30 with father, and spend time at Lalbagh till around eight. It is easy as we stay in close proximity to the park, the journey taking about 10 minutes, or even less. Nowadays the time taken is more due the never-ending traffic snarls on Lalbagh Road. The Cedar Avenue, the Chinese-styled garden, the path leading to the tank bund, the tank bund, crossing the tank bund to reach the horticultural lands, made up our routine stretch. People feeding beaten rice to the fish.... crowds accumulating near the small bridge...... breaking our path here and there to observe a kingfisher or a stork, especially near the stagnant pond, provided some us some distraction.
Come, Republic day, or Independace day, the entire family used to visit Lalbagh, with some cousins tagging along. Colourful flowers of various kinds.... various cacti, some huge, some small.... the botanists who exhibited their plants... the hybrid seed companies... abnormal-looking brinjals, tomatos, chillies, pumpkins.... the outdoor decoration team... a small police post.... and of course some refreshment stalls decorated the place. We often bought seedlings, seeds, fertilizers from the stalls. On sighting a Nandini milk parlour, we would hasten our footsteps in that direction, to soothe our parched throats with cold flavoured milk, buying Mysore pak, groundnut chikkies at the same time. All in the name of a biannual flower show.
Various friends were introduced to us, whom father had befriended at Lalbagh. We, till date, recognise them as 'Lalbagh friends', a rather affectionate term. Many a time, litchies were bought, when the fruit was in season.
We grew up, reached college, priorities developed, and those visits diminished in number. I now pay visits to Lalbagh in the evenings. To sit on the seats made of concrete, to enjoy the last moments of a sun-set, to hear birds reaching their homes, to watch a squirrel run by, to watch ducks put their heads into the water attempting to catch a fish....
The place is given a new look, with new beautiful lamp-posts, various paths have been laid with clay tiles making the surface even. Moreover, The Glass House has been renovated to appear trendy. Granite seats have been established near the same. Music programmes are organised at the band-stand every Sunday, which attracts many people. Rose garden, the clock which has statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs looks good after some improved maintainence.
I heard that Lalbagh is getting spruced to look it's best for the Republic Day, which is around the corner. Need i say this, i'm waiting eagerly to visit Lalbagh which seems fantastic to one's eyes.