In Honour Of Trees….

I grew up surrounded by trees. A huge variety of them.

Like those nostalgic songs that evoke different stages of my life, trees transport me to those carefree days when we spent every spare moment outdoors.

I remember the undiluted pleasure of reading favourite books ensconced in the leafy, low hung branches of a cashew tree. Of dawdling beneath the night jasmine, before hopping into the car early mornings, to inhale the heady scent of the red stemmed blooms carpeting the ground beneath. Of raiding the gooseberry tree with siblings and visiting cousins (and being sick afterwards). Of helping hindering the harvesting of mangoes, coconuts and arecanuts. And most of all, of just lazing under the shade of the giant tamarind, dreaming of elsewhere.

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A living sculpture in Mahabalipuram!

Later, nearly two decades spent on tea and coffee plantations, introduced me to more exotic trees. Gardening became a passion. Identifying trees and birds a matter of pride.

Then came the move to the big city. A yearning to create an identity, to get myself a ‘real’ job, ensured a disconnect from nature. And not just because of the limited green space around. I got too busy to even remember to look up. Air conditioned rooms insidiously displaced the cool shade of trees.

When a dear friend sent me details of the Neralu Photo Project last month, I was shocked by the dearth of tree images in my albums. Apart from the baobabs from Africa that were rather hard to ignore, and my mango tree that I do once I step away from my kitchen window, most were accidental clicks used to frame urban elements. I had forgotten to ‘look’ at trees.

Neralu, meaning shade in Kannada, is an inspiring crowd funded citizen initiative in Bangalore, that aims to reconnect urban citizens with their natural environments. The annual tree festival celebrates the beauty and diversity of trees in the garden city and raises awareness of the need for conservation and balanced urban growth.

I am delighted to have had an opportunity to be associated with this festival. And honoured to have two of my photographs picked for display at the National Gallery of Modern Art. Sadly, I couldn’t be present physically, but the children sent me this image:

Neralu Photo project entries

Here’s a link for readers from Bangalore who might be interested in the scheduled walks or the many planned events across town.

The rest…..remember to hug a tree this weekend.


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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

81 thoughts on “In Honour Of Trees….

  1. Wow! Congratulations on the selection of your photographs, Madhu! And thank you for sharing stories of your growing up–love the image of you raiding gooseberries with your siblings and cousins!

  2. Sounds like a great initiative, Madhu. It’s so sad that we can get so caught up chasing progress, that when you have a moment to slow down and look back, you wonder if what has been achieved is the opposite of progress. When I lived in Bangalore, there was no need to even turn on fans – the weather was so lovely throughout the year… but these days ACS are a must. Gorgeous photos… and congratulations on your photos being picked for display!

    1. Thank you Kan. We used to be togged up in sweaters and monkey caps when we visited Bangalore as kids!! One barely needs warm clothes there anymore.

  3. This might sound odd, but I like the photo of the cemetery with pigeons best. Madhu I noticed you never use galleries. Is it because your theme does not support it, or you just prefer slideshow?

    1. Certainly sounds odd knowing your relationship with pigeons Paula! 🙂 I do prefer the compact format of a slideshow, although it probably does not display my photos well.

  4. And what about the joy of climbing in trees as a child? Higher and higher! Mango trees were not too good if I recall: sticky with sap. Not to mention giant red or black ants! 🙂
    (Thank you)

  5. Lovely picture – my link with the city is the decade of the 80s when my parents lived there. And now on my infrequent visits, i miss the green cover!! But, then thats true of most of our cities….

    1. Yes, most of our cities have lost much of their green cover, but I think the transformation in Bangalore is by far the worst. Perhaps because it was the most beautiful to begin with. Happy to ‘meet’ you Sita. Are you a blogger? I couldn’t locate a link on your Gravatar.

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