Home is where art is

Artist Bakula Nayak relates how the secrets and joys of Bengaluru inspired her to be an artist once again, after several decades

I grew up in Bangalore and didn’t leave at all (even when I left). Growing up in the same area for 25 years meant it became an integral part of me. I grew up near Navrang circle – on a quiet tree-lined street. Our little house, located at the beginning of the street, had a parijata tree by the gate and a mango tree in the backyard from which I could pluck mangoes from the terrace. Every morning, I loved running to the gate to see the parijata tree outside that had laid a sweet smelling white carpet on the road. All the homes would have a wet patch in front, on which beautiful rangolis were drawn. The street belonged to me and I to the street. It was a neighbourhood with so much love, authenticity and trust being an effortless part of our everyday. It is a beautiful thing that such pockets still exist here.

Home is where art is

There was a little park on my way to school, filled with flowers, birds and colourful trees that changed with every season – profusions of yellow, purple and flaming reds. I loved the parrots that sat in those trees – they are still my favourite birds. It was called Navrang Park and I loved it. However, now it is some sort of manicured garden just like many other parks, including parts of Cubbon Park – which are too synthetic for me. I have now moved my parrot watching to Sankey Road. There are a couple of huge trees outside Windsor Manor that have parrots in droves. I go there to hear them chirp happily and to see those gorgeous beauties bustling around. The traffic and the chaos just on the other side barely registers in my mind. Windsor Manor Bridge has a magic of its own.

Home is where art is

My other magical place was the Vidhan Soudha. We would go every Sunday with my dinner in a tiffin box along with another girl from my neighbourhood. Sitting and eating on the steps there with the lights glittering, is an experience that does not have a rival even today after visiting several other countries and having so many other wonderful experiences. My school, St. Thomas, was right next to Navrang Theatre. On my way back from school, I would watch in awe as they raised gigantic cut-outs of Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan. I still go to see the lovely art-deco building – it is such a beauty. While I was in the third standard, we moved from Navrang Circle, but not too far away. I missed my friends for a bit but the new neighbourhood had more girls and it was more I had Aane park – a really big park with an elephant slide. The Aane park was huge and green and had a Jawahar Lal Bal Bhavan Center in it where I went to for after-school classes. I met up with other kids my age, we had yearly celebrations on Children’s Day at the main centre in Cubbon Park. It fostered such a sense of community. That’s what I miss for my children now. We seem so fragmented socially even down to the family level. Bal Bhavan was such a lovely initiative by the Government and maintained so impeccably. That is where I started my journey as an artist.

Vidhana Soudha

Vidhana Soudha  


Life has come a full circle. We moved back from New York to Bangalore a few years ago. This city is one that still has so many secrets to offer, so much joy and love to give, if only we would pause to receive. Bangalore has inspired me to be an artist once again after several decades.

As told to Shailaja Tripathi

The column features the city through the eyes of a prominent Bengalurean

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 9:27:36 PM |

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