Bengaluru’s reputation as Garden City may have taken a serious beating over the years, courtesy ever-increasing pollution and the city’s depleting green cover, but some of its gardens are as popular today as they used to be thanks to their gardeners.
The men and women who sweat and toil day in and out to not just maintain public gardens, but also give us the spectacular annual flower shows often go unnoticed. On Monday, a group of gardeners, along with pourakarmikas and sanitation workers, were felicitated at a glittering event in the presence of several celebrities and politicians at a city hotel.
Conducted by the Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC), the "Beautiful People, Beautiful Bengaluru" awards were an initiative to recognize the work that people of the city have put in to keep the city liveable for years.
The News Minute spoke to a few gardeners in the Garden city who make the city a beautiful place to live in.
For more than half his life now, 59-year-old Venkatappa has been working as a gardener in Lalbagh.
On Monday, his service of 32 years was recognised as he received B.PAC's "Beautiful People, Beautiful Bengaluru" award.
"It is the first time I am getting an award and it makes me very proud. My family will be really happy," he says holding the memento and sapling that he received as part of the award. Some of Venkatappa’s skills include brush cutting mechanisms and sowing.
Jayalakshmi was very young when her husband died, leaving their three children- one son and two daughters- dependent on her. Today, it has been 20 years that she has been a gardener in Lalbagh.
"It was the first time I went to work and I didn't have much knowledge about anything. I have got both my daughters married and it has been possible only because of my job," says the 46-year-old.
For most of us gardening could be a hobby, but Venkata Lakshmamma (40) considers plants as both her children and god. She has been working as a gardener at Cubbon Park for 16 years.
"I am a gardener and I protect plants. And in turn, they protect me by giving me a job," says the awardee.
Her story is also similar to Jayalakshmi's - she got the job after her husband passed away and she too looks after work in the nurseries.
Today her children lead well-settled lives doing government jobs, but Ventakata Lakshmammma loves doing her job as a gardener every bit as she did earlier.