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Vasant Utsav or Spring Festival in Noida
Exhilaration in environment. Peace in mind, body and soul. Yellow is the dominant colour of the season. The Noida Administration chose to celebrate the advent of the Spring season meat and proper to provide an outlet of joy to the common man, the literati and the glitterati alike. That is what Democracy is and the officials ever keen to come close to the common man for homogeneity in the ever growing habitat of the National Capital Region did not want to let go the golden opportunity provided by the Spring season without celebrating. Vasant Utsav or the Spring celebration in the Noida stadium provided divine sublimation as well as fun and frolic in the three-day festival to welcome Vasant.
The flower show organized on Day One was so popular right from the word Go that it walked away with the cake. The inauguration ceremony was just flawless, be it cutting the red tape actually or figuratively, short but meaningful addresses to the audience assembled voluntarily, presentation of bouquets and mementos to men who mattered and going round the stalls of flowers or open air  assembly of flowers. The closeness between the classes and the masses, senior administrative official and citizenry in appreciating the gift of Nature ? Flowers ? was to be seen to be believed.


Appreciation of Natural beauty is a social leveler. The flowers were just superb, from Tulips to Tundra grass, calendula to marigold and what have you. Dahlias of innumerable variety in various shapes and sizes stole the thunder. Dear to every beholder, commoner and cynosure, students of Botany to visiting professors the flower show was the last word in natural beauty. ? A thing of beauty is a joy forever?, that immortal line of the Romantic era poet, John Keats was recalled many a time in the flower show. Pray, what else can be dearer to an eye looking for beauty than fresh flowers far from the withering time.


Pansy is the theme of the flower show that I am currently beholding. Shri Pramod Kumar Agrawal, Additional Chief Executive Officer of the Noida Administration took pains to explain what was what. The phrase Pansy Pale came in for a closer look but the beauty of flower itself so overwhelmed visitors that the linguistic nuance per force took a back seat. Shri G.B.Pant, the nonagenarian President of the Floriculture Society of the township had lent a helping hand in making the Flower Show as beautiful as it actually was. A man of few words he refrained from an active expression of feelings. But his smile said it all.


Shri M.P.Sharma, Director of Horticulture, Noida was the moving spirit behind the show. Right from the planning stage, through mobilization of resources, manpower, display of potted plants to providing administrative backing by Noida administration and above all man management, crowd management were well taken care of by the Horticulture department team. The synchronization of time and effort was in evidence in the final outcome.


Many a time visitors keen on buying a bonsai, a tulip plant, double Dahlias, Special variety gladioli, carnation of two tones but were deeply disappointed because the growers had kept them as prize possessions reserved for the next flower show in Greater Noida and perhaps later in New Delhi. Shri Rajendra Singh, a deputy director horticulture was at hand to reassure visitors of availability of other varieties of flowers that would be on sale on the last day of the show. Of course, Shri Rama Raman, Chief Executive Officer of Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Industrial Development Authority, a keen lover of flowers would be present himself to give away the prizes to those whose exhibits made a mark and were appropriately awarded by the team of judges.


The Noida residents, social workers like Shri Mahesh Saksena, flower lovers like Shri Satish Mathur, the floor manager cum compere like Shri Sharma added to the grandeur of the flower show. Shri Rajesh Prakash, Deputy Chief Executive Officer was at hand to tide over last minute problems, if any. Fortunately, there were none.


The Noida press corps was present in full strength to provide a good coverage to the event of the year. The predominance of reporters from the national Hindi dailies showed that the lingua franca of Uttar Pradesh continued to be Hindi.


Coming back to flowers, one cannot but recall the lines of the Hindi poet Makhan Lal Chaturvedi wherein he has aptly described the inner desire of flowers. The flowers too are patriotic. They do not wish to be a part of facial  makeup of a pretty damsel or her hairdo. It is an ardent desire of flowers to be strewn on the path where would walk soldiers going on way to become martyrs for the cause of the country; where they would make the supreme sacrifice defending the motherland.


While going round the flower show I was reminded of a poem, Daffodils by William Wordsworth. Right from the secondary school classes to the undergraduate classes, we learnt and learnt the poem and its myriad nuances. Later in life I had a chance to go to the United Kingdom on a lecture mission and visited the house of the great Nature Poet, Wordsworth. I sat in a chair in the room where Wordsworth used to sit and write poetry.  As I wore the headset provided by the Foundation, in my ears came a voice reciting Daffodils. Indeed a moment that overwhelmed me. Such was the emotional force of that bunch of flowers, Daffodils that tears of ecstasy rolled down my cheeks. I did not hide my feelings and recited aloud ? Ten thousand I saw at a glance? swaying and swinging  ..? perhaps in the morning breeze. My memory failed me because a sense of literary history had taken over and there was no going back. I surmised it was time to call it a day and return to London to fulfill my Vedic commitment to deliver a talk on the Vedas to an English audience. There too I said it with flowers in hand using flowery speech with success.
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