Garden to the Beloved: The Gulaab’s Journey on Valentine’s Day  

A rose’s journey from a garden to the traffic signal is an interesting one. This V-Day we follow the rose trail. 

Published
Photos
4 min read


Strong and sturdy roses from Bengaluru win the race. (Photo: iStockphoto)

Given as a stand-alone gift or an accompaniment, a rose hardly ever fails to win over hearts. You can buy them from a traffic signal, road-side shops, posh stores or order them online.

The Valentine week has become synonymous with roses. There is, however, a story behind every rose bud that reaches the market. We show you how.

Roses From Bengal Are Special

At 3:30 in the morning, labourers wait for the roses from West Bengal to arrive in the market, almost as eagerly as a lover waits for his beloved.

According to them, the demand for roses from West Bengal is neck-to-neck with the roses from Bengaluru.



In the blooming flower market, a rose has its own importance. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
In the blooming flower market, a rose has its own importance. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Sturdy Roses From Bengaluru

A flower dealer in the Ghazipur market, Anand Singh, told us that roses from Bengaluru are considered the best quality buds.



Roses from West Bengal have given good competition to Bengaluru’s production with their prices and packing. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Roses from West Bengal have given good competition to Bengaluru’s production with their prices and packing. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Hybrid Roses

Commercial growers in Bengaluru have invested a lot of money and effort in developing a hybrid variety that is bigger and has a good shelf-life. Although they come in the odourless/cut-flower category, they have created a niche market.



Dealers have created a standard of packing flowers in the market, to maintain uniformity. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Dealers have created a standard of packing flowers in the market, to maintain uniformity. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Ready, Steady, Rose!

At 4:30 am, the selection of flowers for sale is in rapid progress at all the flower centres. Every bundle is categorised. It is a sacrosanct morning routine.



Most of the flowers in the market come via trucks or trains. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Most of the flowers in the market come via trucks or trains. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Love Is in the Air and Prices Soar

You have to pay Rs 110 for a bundle of roses in this market. 10 days back, the price was Rs 80 per bundle. Cut-flower dealer, Mahesh Pandey, told us that in the Valentine week, the prices will rise up to Rs 150 per bundle. But the joy they bring to one who receives them is priceless!

As Fresh as a Daisy..Oops! We Mean Rose!

Close to dawn, dealers make efforts to keep the flowers fresh.



Flowers are continuously sprayed with water to maintain freshness. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Flowers are continuously sprayed with water to maintain freshness. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)


After we clicked this picture, these kids went in different directions with disposable glasses and a kettle full of tea. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
After we clicked this picture, these kids went in different directions with disposable glasses and a kettle full of tea. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

But Marriages Were a Deal Breaker!

Most dealers were worried because of the low demand for flowers during wedding season, which is usually the earning season for this market.



Bad weather in Europe has also led to low exports of flowers from European nations. Dealers have high hopes from the Valentine week. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Bad weather in Europe has also led to low exports of flowers from European nations. Dealers have high hopes from the Valentine week. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

What Is With Gifting Flowers?

As per a local survey, only 2.5 percent people buy flowers because they like them. The rest buy and gift them out of formality.



Flowers are mostly used for parties, corporate events and in five-star hotels. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Flowers are mostly used for parties, corporate events and in five-star hotels. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Rose – the King of Flowers

When imported flowers like orchids and carnations entered the Indian market, there were speculations that the rose will be forgotten and its demand will come down drastically. Well, we don’t know what to say to that.



People choose only the rose to express their love.  (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
People choose only the rose to express their love. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Dilli Ka Gulaab

The roses from Delhi are not about fancy packing, sturdiness or long shelf-life. They are famous for their fragrance. You know Dilli ka gulaab has arrived, just by the way they smell, even before the sacks are opened.



Roses from Delhi can survive warm weather. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Roses from Delhi can survive warm weather. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Roses for the Young Heart

Shopkeepers rely on youngsters for a majority of their sales. According to a flower shop owner, Ramadhar, the younger generation wants everything to be presentable. Since they are our biggest customers, the competition for better packing is also high.



Rose has also supplemented a market for small components that are used in packing. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Rose has also supplemented a market for small components that are used in packing. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

There’s Nothing That Cannot Be Said With a Rose

At 7:30 am, amidst slight fog, roadside flower sellers open their shops, only to get flocked by high-school and college students.



These shopkeepers do not buy more than 8-10 bundles per day. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
These shopkeepers do not buy more than 8-10 bundles per day. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Waste Management by Kids

After the day’s business is over, the leftover flowers wait to meet their fate. The dealers sell these flowers at the rate of 10-15 rupees per bundle. Our dear rose is now worth less than a rupee. Kids from the families of labourers working in the market purchase these bundles to sell at traffic signals.

The workers at the flower market call this ‘waste management by kids’. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
The workers at the flower market call this ‘waste management by kids’. (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

Hard Work Behind the Leftover Flowers

These flowers are kept in a bucket full of sugar water. Then, the wilting buds are removed and thrown away. Rest of the flowers are used to make small bouquets with 10-15 flowers each. These bouquets are sold on traffic signals at Rs 20-25.



Happy Valentine’s Day! (Photo: Prashant Chahal/<b>The Quint</b>)
Happy Valentine’s Day! (Photo: Prashant Chahal/The Quint)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!