Different cities have different things they buy into.
In Paris there’s style—you never want to look sloppy in Paris. In New York it’s the energy of movement—try walking slowly on the sidewalk and you’ll have Fran Leibowitz come up and say "Hey! Pretend it’s a city."
In Bangalore, there is a buy-in to preserve trees.
You can ride a motorcycle on a crowded sidewalk, drive up the wrong way on a one-way street and only mildly annoy others. But try cutting a tree and the passing Bangalorean will give you a sharp look and probably make a quick call to the authorities. Indeed most homes have trees and apartment buildings are sometimes built around an existing tree. So Bangaloreans would not be surprised to see a new apartment building with a tree growing right through its floors.
This isn’t new though. Something about trees has found its way into the DNA of the city and indeed in all of us—after all in our DNA, we are part human, part city.
And the sense of greenery has expressed itself in the city having two major, botanically rich parks—Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh—each as large and as old as some of the greatest city parks in the world. Hyde Park in London, Gorky Park in Moscow, Central Park, New York, and there are others.
My guest Roopa Pai is author of the book, Cubbon Park—The Green Heart Of Bangalore.
When Roopa was researching she called and asked to interview me. I said yes of course, immediately. More than anything, this appealed to my sense of duty. Indeed, I was personally involved in an investigative story about Cubbon Park titled, The Conspiracy To Kill Cubbon Park. The story was based on some builders and politicians who were spoiling to parcel off this historic lung space to developers.
I grew up in Bangalore. The Park has been a part of my life. Roopa made me realize that I share a connection with people I will probably never meet.
Because each of us has been alone with our deepest introspection when we experience the solitude of Cubbon Park. A bliss of birds and dogs—and oddly, the company of a hundred other humans who exist and at the same time, don’t.
Roopa Pai is a widely published author having written several children’s book ranging from Indian mythology to Economics.
She is an engineer—of computer science—a restaurant reviewer and a sometimes travel writer.
Her ability to deal with such diverse subjects comes from Roopa being a fascinating subject for an urban petri dish. And beneath a charming and unassuming front, an incisive and perceptive mind.
Let’s find out all about her and about Cubbon Park.
ABOUT ROOPA PAI
Roopa Pai is one of India’s best-known writers for children. She is Bangalore-based and has written over 25 books, ranging from picture books to chapter books and fiction to non-fiction, on themes as varied as sci-fi fantasy, popular science, math, history, economics, Indian philosophy, life skills, and medicine. When she is not writing, Roopa leads groups of children and young people on history and heritage walks across Bangalore and Karnataka, as part of her job as director of a company she co-founded, BangaloreWalks.
Buy Cubbon Park: The Green Heart Of Bengaluru: https://amzn.to/3V0cJ6o
WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in "What's That Word?!", where they discuss the phrase "UP STICKS (AND MOVE)".
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