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The Neralu festival is back with tree walks, art lessons, musical performances and more

With the threat looming large of 800 trees being mercilessly chopped, a tree festival is just what the doctor ordered. The Neralu — Bengaluru Tree Festival back after a gap of one year, will offer enthusiasts tree appreciation and sketching workshops, storytelling sessions and a host of other activities. While the debate over the steel flyover has reached fever pitch, Raji Sunder Krishnan, one of the volunteers at this citizen-led initiative, points out that the idea of the festival is not activism, but to celebrate trees. “There’s enough negativity around. But, with Neralu, we aim to look at the positive side of things by celebrating the beauty of trees and creating awareness about their many benefits and their importance to the ecosystem,” shares Raji.

This edition promises to have a deeper impact with tree walks scheduled to take place in a host of smaller neighbourhoods such as Jayanagar, HSR Layout, Cooke Town, Rest House Road and Whitefield. “The walks, which will be led by experts like environmentalist Vijay Thiruvady and naturalist S Karthikeyan, are like tree appreciation workshops. Participants will have a crash course on tree morphology, through which they will study the leaf and bark patterns of a number of trees, apart from their shape, size, texture, blooms and fruits,” Raji explains.

Main events, for instance, Kaya Mein Gulzar: Songs of Kabir by Vipul Rikhi a poet, singer, fiction writer and translator, The Monkey King — an Odissi performance by Prachi Jariwala and Stories Under the Setting Sun by Vikram Sridhar, will be held in the heart of town at venues like the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Cubbon Park Metro Station. “The focus of all these events will be trees. In our art workshop, people will be taught to sketch trees, storytelling sessions will have a tree at its centre and musical performances will be themed around trees, as well. We’ve been very conscious to limit our focus to trees and trees alone. It’s not about nature or wildlife,” clarifies Raji.

Entry free. February 18 & 19. Details: neralu.in
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo

HIGHLIGHTS

niralu-festival-2February 18: Bengaluru — Vruksha, Rakshati, Rakshita. Kaleido, an art collective will stage a street theatre performance that takes a look at old Bangalore. At Cubbon Park Metro Station, 2 pm

February 19: The Story of the Star Blossom Tree. Aparna Kapur, Ritoparna Hazra and Sanjana Kapur from Amar Chitra Katha will take you through a storytelling session packed with adventure. At NGMA, 10.30 am

February 19: One, Two, Tree. Carnatic musician Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy and Swarathma vocalist Vasu Dixit will perform a unique set that seamlessly blends their distinct musical styles. At NGMA, 5 pm

February 19: Journal with Trees. Wildlife artist Sangeetha Kadur and art educator Shilpashree will conduct a workshop on nature journaling. At NGMA, 9 am

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