Bonjour, Mr. Bonsai – Gnaneshwar Kakde !


In-Focus- Presenting Mr. Gnaneshwar Kakde who is an IT professional at the surface but a Bonsai aficionado at heart.

A Simple Introduction.

GKInteresting. Well, I am fairly simple but a very complex fellow. Minimum expectations and common sense approach towards life. Only philosophy I follow is, if everyone around me is happy, I am happy. I grew up in Bangalore, joined L&T as Head- of IT & IS at LMB in 2012 and am currently living in Faridabad with my wife.

 

 

What was it that inspired this interest in you?

My mother was majorly responsible for this inclination in me. She maintained a small garden on a window sill at our initial residence in Hyderabad. And this daily sight became my inspiration.

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When you commonly talk about Bonsai, you often refer to the Ugly Duckling Tale. In my garden in Bangalore, we had an unkempt plant in one corner which had not been growing for a long time. It was like the Ugly Duckling of the garden. This was when I made up my mind to help this plant and make it presentable. Hence, started my journey with Bonsai.

So how did you go about pursuing this hobby?

I decided to take up classes in Bangalore at a botanical garden at Lal Bagh in Bangalore. Over the next 6 weeks, I learnt the basics and started with a small collection. We had a terrace garden which opened right out of my room. My weekends were spent entirely in this activity and I later joined Horticultural society in Bangalore.

There is a lot of life in plants and you have to keep interacting with them. You can’t leave them alone, have to keep attending to them.

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Tell us a little about Bonsai.

They are typically referred to as tropical Bonsai. It’s basically the art of growing trees & shallows in small containers. Keeping them small, shaping and pruning them – that’s basically the art that is Bonsai. Some popular Bonsai varieties that are grown in India are:

Ficus family – Figs

Benghalensis- Indian Banyan

White Pines

Chinese Elm

And then there’s Hyrdoponics.

My 30 year old Banyan !
My 30 year old Banyan !

How does one learn and take up Bonsai as a hobby?

There is no structured way of learning. You learn every day. We only had access to books and there was no internet in those days. We visited other gardens, saw different collections, interacted with gardeners – basically learnt it the hard way.

You have to be very patient and you need to let the plant grow. You need to judge the condition of the soil, estimate the humidity in the atmosphere and accordingly clean, dress and tend to your plant.

I learnt patience from this art, from being an angry young kid to a calm and patient man.

 

You earlier mentioned hydroponics. Would you like to elaborate this term for the readers?

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With the advances in horticultural methodology, space & resource saving techniques like “Hyrdoponics” have come up.

Hyrdoponics is a technique in which plants are grown in a nutrient water mix without soil. It’s basically a science in which the amount of nutrients is calculated and measured. Then such amount is fed to the plants on a periodic basis.

An example would be “Growing Pomegranates in a desert”.

  

Any other activities/hobbies you follow?

Violin. Only play a few notes as of now. I have carried it here to Faridabad and I am still leaning.

Photography – Wherever I go, I’ll take the camera along.

Drones- It’s my passion. I want to buy one, when I have the money. Have my eyes particularly on the “Phantom”

As told to Mr. Ayush Jain (LMB)