No bed of roses for them

No bed of roses for them


No bed of roses for them

 K Narasimhamurthy travels from Malur taluk’s Pura to Bangalore, to understand what life means for the village’s flower vendors. The first bus to Bangalore from this village in Kolar district is at 3.30 am.

But, much before that, Pura’s flower vendors gather at the bus-stop. The flower vendors in this village hardly get time to catch up on sleep; they work all night, stringing flowers.

Walk the streets of this village in the evening, and the fragrance of flowers wafts across from every home. The flowers are strung into garlands, or simply stitched onto threads, forming huge lengths. You can spot flowers everywhere in the village, in garbage dumps, in front of homes, inside homes. Pura is heaven, if you love flowers.

The village in Lakkur hobli of Malur taluk has many farmers who have taken to floriculture.
Ever heard of Lakkur Manjula who got a job in Indian Railways, following her achievement in athletics?

Manjula who represented the country in athletics grew up in this village. She also belongs to a family which earned its livelihood selling flowers. Manjula would then sell the flowers in Bangalore’s markets. Her brother P L Shankarappa is also an achiever in his own right. Today, he belongs to the Youth Services and Sports Department and is an enthusiastic trainer.

There are many achievers from this village whose families have depended on selling flowers for their livelihood. Some are now working in well known MNCs, while somes are working as lecturers, government officials, etc.

A day in the life of...

What is a normal day like for a flower vendor? This reporter talks to Muniraju, a 36-year-old man, who explains what a week in his life is like. He has been in the flower business for the last 16 years. Even as he explains, his wife, Anitha is concentrating on stringing flowers.

Muniraju first fetches flowers from Bangalore on Tuesday morning. The whole day is then spent in stringing them together. On Wednesday morning, he takes the 3.30 bus to Bangalore. The strung flowers are taken to the City Market in Bangalore.

Even as he is there, he shops for more flowers to take back to the village, where they are made into garlands. This involves a lot of hard work and goes on till 11.30 in the night. Come Thursday, he takes the garlands and strung flowers back to Bangalore, where he stays overnight. Friday morning, the family sends more flowers to be sold in the City.

This routine is similar to the ones that most other families in the village follow. There are many, home makers, drop-outs, PU students, elderly people, all involved in the flower business, which has been handed over from at least two generations.

Among those who take the early morning bus to Bangalore are some youths as well, whose cycles are parked in shops of acquaintances in the City. They then load the strung flowers onto the cycles, and travel as far as ten km in Ulsoor and nearby localities.

There are women who sell them to homes or shops in the vicinities of temples. Pura has a population of 2,000 and has about 1,200 voters and 380 homes. Apart from flower vendors, the village has garment workers, agricultural labourers and florists. 

Same story elsewhere too

While the bus that leaves for Bangalore starts from Pura, there are several other villages en route where a similar story is played out.

Sacks of flowers are loaded on to the bus at every stop including Bargur, Kodur, Arasanahalli and Domlur. After the bus reaches Lakkur, there are more people with flowers boarding the bus at Jagadenahalli, Kodalli, and Jayamangala villages. Before the first BMTC bus was introduced to the village ten years back, most people from Pura had to walk at least three km to reach the Narayanakere flower market in Bangalore rural district.

Several people would wait for the bus to Bangalore from there, right from the previous night. If they did indeed miss that bus, then, they had to walk to Devagondi, another five-six km away, or another two-three km from there to Doddadunnasandra. Today, there are three buses to Pura from Bangalore.

Muniraju wonders what their fate would have been but for these buses! Not a bed of roses, most certainly.

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