Homage visit to the spot that mesmerized me to launch Paint Bengaluru Green (ಬೆ೦ಗಳೂರಿಗೆ ಹಸಿರು ಓಕುಳಿ) and Billion Trees and Beyond

The original Mexican Sunflower tree with much lesser glory - due to extreme pruning to feed the goats

I had shared with you in one of the earlier blogs about the mesmerism I experienced at Channapattana, by the overthrowing beauty of a dozen of fully bloomed Mexican Sunflower trees at both sides of the road.  This spot is approx. 1 km from the highway towards RevanaSiddheshwra Betta, (Map location: Birth place of Paint Bengaluru Green and Billion Trees and Beyond) and I experienced this moment against the backdrop of sunset.

Each plant had approximately 200 flowers, and I was very much amazed to see such an elegance in a humble rural/town setting. This happened on April 8, 2017 on my drive back from the visit to the RevanaSiddheshwara Betta.

I had been attempting to propagate this plant for years, so asked the lady of the house besides the tree shown above, for the seeds. She gave me a friendly laugh and told me to use the cuttings instead. She gave me approx. 15 cuttings and fed the leaves of them to the goats she keeps.  I felt a level of presence around this lady, so assumed she is the primary energy to anchor such an elegance in this neighborhood.

This time, in Dec 2018, after 18 months of this incident, I wanted to give a homage visit to this special place.  The mesmerism I experienced here was the key catalalyst for the vision of Paint Bengaluru Green and More movement I launched months later. (I had to make sure the plants bloom and flower). When I originally conceived that notion at this spot, I called it as Paint Bengaluru Green and Yellow as I was very convinced that with this plant alone I can attempt to cause a green revolution in Bengaluru and I should.  Later, my OTG friends' advice was to make it bit more generic to "Green and More" to keep the vision bit broad-based.  Today, Paint Bengaluru Green is about promoting anything through the social network that helps to paint Bengaluru green with plants.

While the 3 different initial projects launched on behalf of Paint Bengaluru Green are in cold storage due to lack of volunteers to support the social network driven collaboration work, this year in August, (approx. 12 months later) another project was inspired as a child of Paint Bengaluru Green, namely Billion Trees and Beyond. This movement is just about planting trees anywhere on this earth towards bringing carbon print down and to help resolving the global warming crisis. Again, this Mexican Sunflower plant is coming handy for various reasons.  (See the blog : Incredible Case of Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia Diversifolia) for Tropical Urban Greening!

I planted the original 15 Mexican Sunflower cuttings in the Ashrama Gardens urban jungle on and around our terrace, the first chance for flowers and further cuttings came in Nov 2017.  I kept on pruning and distributing the cuttings through our OTG channels. Today, we have at least 60 Mexican Sunflower installations in our jungle producing approx. 50 cuttings per month for distribution. If I look back, I can confidently say that the original 15 cuttings have given rise to 600 different cuttings or more that were distributed since Nov 2017. I am sure, every year will add a minimum of 600 to this growing number from our jungle alone, will not be surprised if this number crosses 1 million alone in and around Bengaluru in the coming years, all the credit goes to this original tree and the lady who was kind enough to share those cuttings.

So, it was important for me not only to visit the original tree, but also catch up with the lady and share the success around her generous actions.

When I reached the place, I could notice that the original mesmerism was gone for two reasons, the number of trees were mere 3 or 4 compared to a dozen before. Also, each tree was pruned and number of flowers were limited.  I also noticed that the lady was missing though her goats were around. When I inquired about this lady with generic info, people around confirmed it to be a specific person who is now living in a new home quite nearby. So I rushed to this new home, and yelled to get her out. Her husband came out first and she came out with the same smile and benevolence like before. I shared the success story and thanked her for her gift. I had not planned any elaborate felicitation this time, may be I will do it next time around.  It was more important for me to put a name to that person and thank her, and that was done.

Smt, Yashodamma, the lady who helped Pint Bengaluru Green and Billion Trees and Beyond, with her husband Rachayya at left.
As I returned and looked at the original place of mesmerism, I could notice that the original magic was gone because this lady has now moved a block away. Then I just looked back at her new home, the White Oleander was in full bloom in front of her new home, I now feel that there is some thing divine with this lady, the plants bloom phenomenally and effortlessly around her presence.  By now, I have started to drive back, so took  a quick picture (not clear) of the White  Oleander bloom in appreciation of her presence and energy.

I thanked her and the place for the inspirations and help I had from here again as I hit the highway again towards Bengaluru.

Moral of the story:

A small action of kindness to a stranger could be enough to move mountains elsewhere!

Thank you Yashodamma for your small help the other day! My guilt of not knowing your name is now gone! Look forward to meet you again when I visit Channapattana again.

This visit, while bringing a closure on some priorities of mine, has inspired me further to amplify the work on both Paint Bengaluru Green and Billion Trees and Beyond. The missing original mesmerism there also is a beacon to attempt thousands more such mesmerisms through green through our actions ahead!  Appreciate your participation and support in this regard.

Thank you,

Nataraja Upadhya
Paint Bengaluru Green (ಬೆ೦ಗಳೂರಿಗೆ ಹಸಿರು ಓಕುಳಿ)
Billion Trees and Beyond


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