It could hardly be called the queen of hill stations now.
The green lawns, terraced tea gardens and sylvan valleys were all there but not in the town which was dirty, crowded, and filled with hideous monstrosities of buildings and packed with tourists.
Traffic jams choked the narrow roads filled with rubbish and crowded shops
Our vehicle inched its way through a political rally marked by hoarse cries of defiance.
Veerappan styled mustachioed police officers with bulbous paunches threatened us to move on as we bungled making a wrong turn
Polite enquiries landed us in greater confusion
Diplomacy and détente were not meant for high-pressure hill stations in summer
The languorous and lazy atmosphere of the past had left with the British.
Finally we did find the road
We were going to the famed 6th Nilgiris Rose Show held in the Centenary Rose Park, Ooty every year for two days only !
The road was particularly steep and at its summit all it required for us to slide in reverse was an intruding Maruti Gently we slid down with palpitating hearts and stopped in a prodigious culvert.
The second attempt was more successful as we zoomed up in first gear.
Jostled by an eager crowd we plodded down the steps into the garden and wormed our way through the chaos of cameras clicking furiously
Grinning faces appeared posing between elegant flowers .
Roses of all hues and colors swayed gently in the tender breeze and glowing in the burnished sun .
What struck me were the names given to some of them, there was a small crowd around a “ Jayalalitha rose “ which seemed to me too small for her stature.
Days before this plant was shifted from its usual place and immediately her supporters made vociferous protests that this was the handiwork of her rivals who now rule the state and so it was promptly returned albeit a bit smaller.
I found out that Politicians rose even against roses.
The rose fountain lived upto its name a colorfully festooned flower arrangement of a spouting fountain, 16 feet in height a real pleasant sight.
“ This year we have rare colors like blue and bottle green ! “Said the horticultural officer, “ work starts from February and more than hundred workers put their efforts in pruning the plants, later adding manure and chemicals so that they flower in the right time, a shower is a must before the prime time or else the whole show gets delayed and after all this it all lasts for just two days when people flock to this event from far and wide (around two lakh) .
It is a feather in the cap of the Department of horticulture of the Tamilnadu Government. Our rose park got the garden of excellence award from the Japanese Government recently “he said. Commendable indeed .
Looking down the landscape roses stretched everywhere
And the following lines by Fredrick Peterson beautifully portray the rose
“The sweetest flower that blows,
I give you as we part,
For you it is a rose,
For me it is my heart”.