So it's the 27th of December And I'm leaving the campus of kharagpur And traveling East 80 miles To the large city of Calcutta Calcutta has some very very Special Sentimental attachments for me because I Was born in Calcutta My grandfather emigrated to India to Calcutta in 1890 my father was born in Calcutta and I was born in Calcutta so As you can imagine Calcutta is a very Very special place for me I'm showing you this Railway Bridge this Railway Bridge spans A river which is called the Roop Narayan And the bridge is about half a mile long Why am i showing you this bridge let me Run a bit of the video just to show you What it looks like [Music] Again [Music] So why did I show you this bridge In the crazy days when I was mad kid or Cycling I just finished University And I was absolutely obsessed with Cycling so I used to write 80 miles from Calcutta to kharagpur just to visit the Campus again and I used to walk across This Railway Bridge because in those Days there were no roads at all you Either traveled by train or if you Wanted to cross these little village
Roads you had to use a ferry or a boat To cross it but I didn't want to do that So I used to climb on this bridge and Wait till trains were not passing the Trains used to come once every half an Hour so it took me about 20 minutes to Walk across the bridge so I risked it And walked across the bridge and you Won't believe Below the bridge was just open girders And if I wasn't careful I would fall Into the river and in those days I Didn't know how to swim so it was an Adventure to say the least Calcutta is now a very modern city And although there is an old part of Calcutta near the airport there are lots Of new high-rise buildings and you just Won't recognize Calcutta if you lived There in the past it is so so different So this is the new Calcutta these are Just some pictures showing you and on The first evening that I arrived we Attended a very Posh wedding let me show You some clips of this wedding This was one of our bonsai Friends Son's wedding And at these weddings they have about Two to three thousand guests two to Three thousand not two to three hundred And no expenses spared in organizing These weddings So it is absolutely posh
Here I am With some of the Bonsai enthusiasts of Calcutta You will see that throughout my visit to India There is a predominance of women Because Bonsai is done mainly by women Rather than men there are I would say Only about 20 percent of the Bonsai Enthusiasts who are men most of them are Women So Look at the scale of these Posh weddings Foreign For it Look at the catering that is done Absolutely fantastic And there were two bands playing music One was a contemporary European jazz Band You can hear some of the music in a Minute [Music] So this is just a part of the Hall where the guests were having the Reception As you can see it's really lavish but Then the following day I started doing Bonsai and I was staying in this house Where I've always stayed in when I visit Calcutta this is the home of one of our Bonsai friends The lady doesn't live here anymore she Lives in Delhi but the house is too kept
And there are lots of potential Bonsai Here I found a huge fight because I Don't know what variety this is And it was growing out of the Corner of a building And I thought it should be taken out Other So let me continue this episode About Bonsai in Calcutta Starting with this lovely plant in this Beautiful garden that I've always stayed In whenever I go to Calcutta This is a very rare plant called Volantis speciosa yes and look at the Flowers so beautiful It's got compound leaves and as with all Tropical plants there are thousands and Thousands which Those of us who live in the temperate Countries never get to see or appreciate This tree is about 12 feet tall and not Much strong but it's obviously gone as An ornamental plant Is [Music] So even that one can be made into a Cutting you know that Branch if you Stick in the ground a ficus it will Become another plant with a nice curved Trunk So that would make nice Yes it's okay not to worry okay so that Is done okay so the next thing to do is Recording the next thing to do is to
So we are wanting this trunk over there So we don't want all this jar over here Rubbish Like this I don't think you'll need this One [Music] Now we have become teachers better for You Strong man here So all you really know This can also become another Bonsai Isn't it Overall Yeah Okay Early morning Where did you get these tools From This size Japan UK China no it's from Indonesia Okay very nice Made in China now before they used to be Made in Japan yeah I know China makes Everything Chinese Yeah the one I bought from Peter in Surrey last year Peter is from Japanese One yeah The Japanese quality is slightly better Yeah [Music] Foreign [Music] Foreign [Music]
[Music] Something [Music] Oh they're cool So here you are another potential bonus Area And then you cut it over here and then That get rid of that you can make more And then this is a beautiful Bonsai that You can make if you want to you can even Try to make a cascading plant this way Yeah And cut it here and you can plant it Here so so many possibilities so from This one plant we're going to get Several bombs tomorrow Now with this I think you have to cut From here in fact if you cut it from Here now It will still have time to produce the Branches So by the time he digs it up in the Monsoon season Like a very Shameless look it just blows Without care Put it like a stepchild it still looks Happy some of them are like that yeah So that is where we want to cut and the Side of bonsai will be like that with a Big trunk don't make it too tall there You are yeah then it will just be there So this is a instant lesson in Bonsai so You have to look cool Thank you thank you
So I don't want to show Too Much video Because it could be a bit boring but Suffice it to say that I left it at this Stage to show the fork in Calcutta what Potential there is in trees that grow Around the buildings so this is the Stump we are going to get them to dig Out in the rainy season in a few months Time and this will become the makings of A decent Bonsai in years to come So let me show you some more videos of People actually doing the trees so this Lady now is pruning a Tamarind Tree You have to look for the main line the Beauty of the line you should look for And then concentrate on that line and Then get rid of anything very good Perfect [Music] Don't worry if you make a mistake it Doesn't go again Bottom one sticking down on the right Thing sticking down Foreign [Music] The beauty is here Yeah exactly so this is what we have to Do this one will go definitely yeah a Dead one You may be better Actually Now what do you do with this side Yeah you can do something I don't mind cutting it here and then
Doing this oh the beauty is really here Oh yeah But this is conflicting because You can cut it off as well This was already so if you would have Given me this thing to do I would have Maybe kept this year and I would have Removed that yeah come down So since just another question so should This come in the front here You don't need to worry Um [Music] Like that yeah Yeah okay that's good Really Yes please Let's see who can cut it in one shot Sorry Yeah You go in one shot oh yeah We need Manpower for them We need bigger and strawberries Don't have to do a whole lot of people Slowly bit by bit then you get it you Don't have to cut the whole lot you know Yeah a little bit otherwise you damage In one shot thank you Then this also you can feel now this one Of course is another route this whole Thing can be cut off yeah even hours Yeah There's no wire writing as well yeah So that was a string
Now you see the beauty of the line is Here You are so good party you don't have to Do this is a instant immediate literally Okay fine okay no need to move Me Today is the 29th of December and I'm in Calcutta they now pronounce it Kolkata But I came here in March 1993 almost 30 Years ago And I came here for the first time to India after a gap of 30 years because I Left India 1963 and didn't go back to India for 30 years So when I came to Calcutta that's Another story which I'll relate on Another occasion So on that visit my horse which is Mr Mr Srida They thought I was a foreigner but I Told them that I was born and brought up In Calcutta so that was the start of a Very long and very happy friendship Where They entertained me so lavishly and of Course I enjoyed working on their Bonsai And Mr Shira was one of the world's Greatest Palm experts so you see a lot Of palms and cycads in this Garden most Of the plants have now gone to their Delhi home but this home is still Maintained and I'm here doing a workshop Today which will be part of another Video but I should just show you the
Remaining Garden I have also here Mr Rabindran And I'm going to introduce you to him There are so many plants I will take More detailed shots but here I have Mr Ravindran and I'm going to talk to him Now Mr rabindran happens to be the President of the south Asia Bonsai Federation this year and he's going to Have this office for the next three Years perhaps and he's here also joining With me and Calcutta to do a bonsai Program so because he's an expert in Ficus I'm going to ask him to talk about Different ficuses because in India there Are hundreds and hundreds of varieties Of Ficus so rabindran can you just tell Us what these particular varieties Look at it these were all trained by Mrs Sridar with the help of some other Bonsai people as well but it's a very Wonderful collection so Went back home in England we only get The imported Ficus retuser but out in India they produce their own Bonsai from All these different varieties of Ficus Look at the aerial roots young aerial Roots old area roots So Ficus Jack and eupholia and is this One of Ficus as well What one is this this is um Oh it is a some people say it's called It the Coral Tree or something like Coral Tree okay now in India they don't
Get very good junipers and they're Always very thin and scrawny and this is Almost like Prickly Ficus not like the nice Chinese Juniper another very common tree is this One and what is the botanical name of These this is um It's called I'm not I will tell you yeah See most people know the common name you Know the Indian name Indian name they Call it uh No no Okay Okay Because there are lots and lots of Fighters let's look at all the facts Focus panda So those of you Oh slightly yellow so that's the natural Color And it's got like a benjaminer shaped Leaf yeah yeah and this one This is a body these are people I Thought the body tree has a longer tail Yeah the purple tree is having very long But this is not body through that this Is body is it yeah sure Oh I thought People tree is different I will show you One proper body tree which I think is Yeah in body certain arteries are it's a Length is short oh Is different but belongs to the same Same group okay yeah yeah okay I will go And I'll stop the camera I'll take you
To a tree which I think is body tree So here we are we've come across another One which is this is the more classic Pepper tree This is the tree which I don't know Whether this was a variety that Lord Buddha said But the body tree is similar but the Leaf is slightly different if I can take A leaf and compare it with it it is a Deciduous stage yeah yellow color yeah Okay let's look at this one So you see there is a distinct Difference This one has got a tear these don't have Such a long tail So this is Ficus religiosa this is the Traditional body tree there are so Slight variations in the leaf there are Some other very interesting one there's A ficus Krishna isn't it which has got Like a pocket Yeah actually what is this one it's a Variation of mandalances oh so we call It there's some people says it is Ficus Bengales is Like a cup yeah yeah it is not very Clear here Third one is clear And this is on this ordinary balance Banyan Tree And the leaves are huge they can get Bigger than this as well He's all bengalin said this is Krishna
Again yeah See slightly distorted form of leaf These all Enses so they do get small but leaf Cutting the leaves do get slightly Smaller smaller this is smaller yeah This is this will be consumable Foreign So let me continue a record of my Calcutta visit By just showing you some studs I think The videos that were taken are not very Well made so it may be a bit tiresome to Look at so suffice it to say I will just Show some stories and comment on them These are the typical types of material That were offered to me this is a large Ficus and they asked me to do what I Could with it so this particular one I use the tall or handkerchief trick to See what would happen if I removed a Branch I work very fast when I do Demonstrations as you well know So on the 28th of December when I did The Calcutta demonstration I must have Worked on about 30 demonstration trees And guided about 15 to 20 people through Individual workshops you see how I Gradually attended I took the top of This tree and made it into a Semi-cascade I hope you get a feel of what I was Trying to do there you are this is how
The semi Cascade turned out This is the start of another project This is the typical type of junipers That you get in India it's a very Prickly type of procumbens unit but not Very nice to work with and they don't Make big chunks easily so this tree was Trained in a like a so many informal Upright Styles so what did I do with it Look at it great big bush And I timed it out See a lot of turning to be done and I Found a trunk line and after finding the Trunk line I proceeded to thin it even More As you can see And then I gave it A false spiral Shari I don't know if I have a more finished Picture than this what I do on these Demonstrations is really to show the Structural work I leave the refinement To the owners to finish it off Themselves once I've guided them on the Structure the detail they can do so That's how I did that one and this is What turned out in the end and I think She was pretty pleased So let me take you through another Series of uh images Now this was two ficuses grown in a pot And it was such a mess I didn't know What to do with it But I managed to find the trunk look at
It the roots are growing out of the pot Focuses in India grow at the rate of Knots you can't stop them growing I did find a double trunk it's two Separate trees this is the owner She really didn't have a clue as to what Needed to be done And then I just thin the trees to find The trunk line And we did in fact find the trunks of The two trees I removed all the foliage You bet your bottom dollar that within Another month or so all the new leaves Will come Ficuses grow so fast And this is what I did reduce it to the Structure And you can see it has quite an Interesting shape once you do that And this is another tree So this is yet another project This has quite a nice trunk I'm not sure If this is muraya or whatever So let's see what I did with this I Didn't have to do much to it because the Trunk was very nice I just thinned it a Bit and gave it more shape And then Bogan Villas you find two to a Penny there's so many of them when I First went to India people were just Making Bonsai with Bougainvillea with Finger thick trunks ever since I visited 30 years ago I showed them how to use Bougainvilleas with thick trunks so now
Everyone is using burgundy villas with Thick trunks and of course you've got to Keep on top of it Pull it hard back to produce Young new Shoots and the young new shoots are the Shoots that produce the flaws so you see I got rid of all the unwanted thick Branches so that we encourage young thin Branches to grow There is an immense hunger and thirst For Bonsai information although they do It in their own way and their own Styles They like to see other people show them New tricks and techniques and new ways Of saying things So this particular group of Bengali People there are many men who belong to The Bengal Bonsai Club I think that's Known the lady in the front is the host And she was the host Hosting this event in a beautiful garden These are casuarina trees very popular Subject for making Bonsai in India this Is the closest thing that resembles a Pine because in India you don't get Points that are suitable for Bonsai so The casuarina is the next best thing These are partly trained trees and I was Just refining this particular one I prefer to show you Stills as a video Because the videos are too long to show Each particular project takes about 10 Minutes and this would take 10 hours or More to show everything
These are some more procumbents junipers That I worked on And this gives you a flavor of the sort Of material I was doing All happy contented Bonsai enthusiasts And now I'm going to show you some more Stills this is a visit to my Grandparents graves in Calcutta Here I am purchasing flowers to visit The cemetery And I ended my visit going to my Grandparents Graves and placing flowers On it There you go I'm always touched by people who Do something special for me and this Young girl is a very keen Bonsai Up-and-coming Bonsai artist and not only Does she do bonsai she makes these wire Trees so this little one was made Personally by her and she gave it to me As a present So let's listen to what she has to say [Music] Oh my god Oh wow I'm very touched so beautiful No need to pack What's your name Thank you So let me continue my Calcutta visit by Showing you some sites that people Normally would not be able to see and This is a very famous Swimming club called the Calcutta
Swimming club founded by the British Back in 1887 and until 1960s only white people were allowed in Here This is an old British institution 1887 This was three years before my Grandfather came to Calcutta Calcutta Swimming town until the early 60s if you Weren't white British you weren't Allowed in the club I have some here Many times And I swung here about 15-20 years ago And look at the beautiful buns are in Front of the building They are probably from Thailand Very nice And this is the view of the pool this Pool is lined with marble not tiles with Marble so it's about 30 meter long pool And this is where the old Britishers used to comment While away their time clubs was the Center of social life in Calcutta in the Days of Empire and this is how the British used to live so while I was in Calcutta some of the bonsai Enthusiasts took me to their Rich clubs And this is called the Bengal club and As you can see it was founded in 1914 I Think even older than that See For King and Country 1940 1918 no This club is about 200 years old So let's show you some sites This is just outside the club only the
Rich go to these clubs And this is a famous Park Street Where all the restaurants and nightclubs Are in Calcutta Are used to frequent these as a young Guy in Calcutta but we only used to buy Drinks and ice cream and listen to the Band's play And This was on the 28th of December so just Before new year so Park Street is Illuminated like this beautiful look at It absolutely gorgeous People come from all over India to see The illuminations And finally let me end this video by Showing you A very famous restaurant which we used To frequent when I was a young boy and It's called nizam's nizam And this is a Muslim restaurant where They cook All sorts of Kebabs wrapped in a roll Let me just show you how they make it This is Biryani of course Made of lamb and potato and basmati rice But this is how they make the Parathas or the wraps Very oily very very oily and this is the End result of it but it is made by You know Meat put on skewers and then roast it in A Tandoori Oven This how they make it in the kitchen
Just the sight and the sound of them Making it adds to the pleasure of eating Look at the chilies Kilos of chilies are chopped and if you Don't have a stomach for hot food don't Even try it These are the Street Markets Street Food And that's the famous nizams where we Ate our karti rolls That's me outside Famous Museum since 1932 So there you go I'll end this video by Showing you this very happy picture I was quite satisfied eating all that Food And we were going home there you go and That's the end of this video hope you've Enjoyed it
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My Bonsai Journey