Presence | Absence
Sampige Road, a street full of hustle bustle in the middle of Malleswaram, is named after the flower that grew in abundance on it. Sampige, or Magnolia Champaca is the flower of Champak tree, whose fragnant smell lingered over the whole road. But back in 1970s, they were all cut down as they had become old and weak, with branches constantly falling off and creating a nuisance for the increasing traffic. After that they switched to fast growing and shady trees and Champak was never planted again. Therefore, many of the current users of Sampige are unaware of the change of scenery of their area.  

Brigade Road is one of the most iconic roads of Bangalore, also known as the Garden City. It was developed as a part of the British army’s cantonment area and later turned into a highly commercialised and cosmopolitan zone. And for as far as anyone can recall, greenery wasn’t a strong part of this setup. But nature always finds a way to crawl into our lives. The road is full of wild plants popping up against a very urban backdrop. They grow without any help or interest displayed by another party. 

At Sampige, people are ignorant of something that is integral to their origin and history. While at Brigade, they are oblivious to the magic happening right in front of their eyes. We don’t realise that more than our actions, nature shapes the destiny of a space. 

This narrative is an attempt to raise questions regarding the relationship of nature and its history in two very different urban setups with people who refuse to acknowledge its presence and absence. 
"Sampige flower? No no, this is Sampige Road."
"You won’t find it right now, it’s not the season."
"Sampige trees were all cut down a few years back. They were interfering with the electricity wires and there were sparks during monsoon.
"I don’t remember seeing any yellow flower down this road."
"I don’t know about Sampige, but you’ll find many other flower sellers at 8th Cross."
"No, Brigade never had trees. But Cubbon Park is nearby."
"There were a lot of trees on MG road earlier, but never on Brigade."
"A few shrubs are always growing here and there, but every few months they come and cut them off."
"Brigade has always been a commercial place. Usually, such areas aren’t very green."
"Here you get shade from buildings, not trees."



  



Presence | Absence
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Presence | Absence

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Published:

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