Monday, November 27, 2017

Update on the DH article of 24th November 2017

At the outset, we are touched and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we received from our well wishers. No sooner had we sent the mail about the fallacious report in Deccan Herald three days ago, replies began to pour in. Angry, comforting, taking up cudgels, suggesting actions, mails.  We continue to get them! We were unable to reply to each one of you personally because well, work at and related to the lake had to go on. We had an exciting three days! Mail on these will follow. :-)

If our lake could speak, it would have joined us in thanking each one of you. We are deeply grateful and, for want of another word, overwhelmed. 

We had contacted DH immediately after reading the article on 24th Nov. Subsequently we spoke to the Executive Editor as well. The photograph and text pertaining our lake have both been dropped from the online version. We have asked them to carry a clarification story likewise, on the front page. 

Once again with heartfelt thanks. 
PNLIT team and staff



Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Liveable City Award

A few days ago, I had the privilege of attending the "Affordable Housing, Liveable Cities Conference 2017", organised by My Liveable City, at one of the halls of the World Trade Centre in Mumbai. 

Held over two days, 21st-22nd Nov, the conference revolved around the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, an endeavor to deliver 20 urban million homes by 2022, and what it would take to make this a reality. So the place was buzzing with the finest Indian and International minds delving into finance, design, development, urban planning and policy making. If you're wondering how I am associated with any of these, well, I am not!   


My Liveable City, is an international magazine, committed to its name. The latest issue Oct-Dec 2017 has an article written by an architect Yamini Kumar, about flora and fauna in our cities. It mentions three spaces - Benthuizerplas in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands, Country Parks in Hong Kong and Puttenahalli Lake in Bangalore. You can read the article here.   

Cities are living organisms and have a character of their own. Each city has a personality dependent on its location, its history and the ambitions of its citizens.Undeniably we have a symbiotic relationship with our cities. To make our cities more liveable, we need to put more into them. We need to be more aware and involved, become more active and participative as well as be demanding of our city planners and administrators. - www.myliveablecity.com

My Liveable City (MLC) is born out of a series of discussions between a specialist in city-design and a specialist in media and their commitment to contribute to create more liveable cities in India. Shyam Khandekar has nearly four decades of experience contributing to more liveable cities in Europe and India. Shashikala Venkatraman has lived in cities across the world, and has extensive experience in media. Inspired by their commitment, they have been joined by young and talented professionals in city design, development and building from India and abroad who have been trained at the best universities around the world. A talented publishing team from India make up the balance of this team. Together they make the MLC project possible.

During this conference, My Liveable City awarded the "key" to an imaginary perfect city to three individuals/institutions. PNLIT was one of them. 

"For making our cities more liveable through their citizens' initiative to rejuvenate the environment" 


Living in Mumbai, I collected the award for PNLIT. Sincere thanks to My Liveable City, Mr Shyam Khandekar , Ms Shashikala Venkatraman and others, for the recognition. It was rather humbling, for a small citizens' group that happened to get involved with a small waterbody, in some obsure part of a metropolitan suburb, to be rubbing shoulders with CEOs from big banks/financial instituions, and renown designers/builders, from India and abroad. 

I take this opportunity to share the good work of the two other awardees. 

Mr Ashok B. Lall, Architect, Delhi
His architectural firm, since 1981, is committed to an architectural practice based on the principles of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. He has been engaged in architectural education for a few decades, having developed appropriate curricula and teaching methods.

MASHAL (Maharashtra Social Housing and Action League), NGO, Pune
Distressed by the plight of the urban poor in search of housing and livelihood in cities, in 1985 a few likeminded architects, urban planners and social workers came together to establish MASHAL. As an NGO, MASHAL strives to usher in development of the destitute and mobilises slum dwellers to improve their living conditions. They execute schemes which integrate multidimensional, multilevel and dynamic understanding of poor people's livelihoods. Mr Sharad Mahajan, the Executive Director of MASHAL, who collected the award, said that most of the founders are now dead, and this award they received is the first in the 32 years of their existence.

Arathi, Trustee PNLIT

Friday, November 24, 2017

Today's Deccan Herald - a bit of a dampener

Today's Deccan Herald article - a bit of a dampener. 


It says 
"The sprawling Puttenahalli lake in JP Nagar 7th phase, on which the BBMP spent Rs 1.35 crore in 2011, is in a bad shape. A huge apartment complex nearby still releases sewage into the water. People living in the area complain of mosquitoes and a steady stench."

As caretakers of Puttenahalli Lake, reading such articles does make one feel angry on the one side, while on the other, one feels sorry. Sorry that today's journalists (some) are inadequately informed, and write without researching, and editors (some) could let this pass without a blink.
Deccan Herald - you can cross the road from your office to the Rangoli Metro Art Centre. The caretakers of Puttenahalli Lake (PNLIT) are there 24th-26th Nov, 11 am - 7 pm with the real lake story. Not fake news! You will see that you owe this rejuvenated lake a sincere apology.


Azim Premjii University is organising a three day event "Celebrating the Urban Commons" 24th-26th Nov, 11 am - 7 pm, at the Vismaya Gallery at Rangoli Metro Art Centre, MG Road.  
The objective is to build awareness both about the existence of nature in city and also to emphasise the importance of nature for cities such as Bangalore. Please see below for details. PNLIT is exhibiting the story of Puttenahalli Lake through photographs. Do come. 


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Nrityotsav at the lake

We've had and will continue to have, diverse events at the lake to bring the neighbourhood together. The Nrityotsav on 5th November, held in collaboration with Nritya Darpan and IPAAC, was unique for more than one reason. 

This was not only our first formal dance programme but also that it took place on a stage specially set up, with the water in the background and birds flying overhead. Also the first time in terms of the number of artists (90?) from little ones aged 7 (I guess) to shall I dare say, 45 years? The dancers were accompanied by their relatives and friends so the crowd was different too. Most of them were visiting the lake for the first time. 

Another first was that we had any Chief Guest at all. We had two  - Ms. Malavika Avinash, the renowned Kannada actress and Mr. Ganesh Reddy, Founder of Stayfit Health and Fitness World Pvt. Ltd. 

Both of them were as amazed as the gathering was at the pristine lake, the lush trees and clean surrounding.  Invited to speak, Ms. Avinash began by saying that with such heavy rains, instead of asking people where they live, she's tempted to ask in which lake they live. "We have demolished rajakaluves," she  said. "Constructed buildings over storm water drains, and now with the rains, we complain of water gushing into our homes. We need to protect water whether it be a pond or a lake."

She remembered the Puttenahalli Lake being much bigger than what it is now but in the same breath she complimented PNLIT for preventing it from shrinking further. She lauded the neighbourhood for supporting PNLIT in nurturing the lake. 

The usual venue for a cultural programme is an auditorium, she said. Holding the dance programme at the lake made it special. It has become a place for the community to gather. This is much needed especially in a city like ours where common spaces are shrinking. The singing and dancing by students from Nritya Darpan were an apt tribute to the lake and indeed to our rich culture and land she said to huge applause from the audience. 

Given the occasion, celebration of Karnataka Rajyotsava, the evening began with young girls and boys singing the state anthem, "Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate." The songs and dances that followed in quick succession were interspersed with short recorded commentaries on the best of Bengaluru and how to make it even better. 

The dancers, even the young ones, were so graceful! They did not let the smallness of the stage come in their way. With  flourish and flair they breezed through a range of styles from Kathak, Mohiniyattam and semi classical. 

State anthem

Kathak junior group

Kathak by seniors

The finale by the gurus

As the sunlight faded, the finale items, "Namami Gange" and "Jal na jaye jal" were performed by the gurus Ms. Veena Bhat, Ms. Vinaya Narayanan and Ms. Uma Maheshwari. They became graceful silhouettes against the evening sky. Towards the end of their performance, their disciples joined, each one with a little lighted lamp, going around between the audience and their gurus on the stage. The comperes Ms. Sinchana Murthy and Mr. Ravi Bhat maintained the tempo beautifully. 

Best regards

Usha

Inputs from: Vidula Krishnaswamy and Divya Shetty  
Photos: S.K. Srinivas (more photos can be seen on his Facebook page here)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Recognition for PNLIT Volunteer Teacher

It is with great pride that we share this news -  the Millennium Elders' Forum has bestowed  PNLIT volunteer, Mr. C.S. N. Iyer with the MEF Unsung Heroes Award 2017. He was felicitated at a glittering function held last month. 



We remember how he was one of the first persons to respond when we sent an appeal in Aug. 2012 seeking volunteers to teach underprivileged children from the neighbourhood. His only hesitation was that he did not know Kannada. Also, having lived in US for most of his life, his English may be difficult for the children to understand. We coaxed him by saying that the children might as well learn to speak American English than none at all. He was a natural teacher and the students took to him. 


We had to discontinue our teaching programme at the lake but there was no stopping Mr. Iyer. He continues to teach and guide new batches of students. 

Kudos to you, "Tuition Uncle!" The MEF Unsung Heroes Award may be at the neighbourhood level but you are certainly making a difference to many young lives.  

Best regards,
PNLIT team

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dance Programme at Puttenahalli Lake - 5th November

In connection with Karnataka Rajyotsava, we, Nrityadarpan, IPAAC and PNLIT are happy to announce a dance programme at the Puttenahalli Lake premises. 

Once on the verge of extinction, the lake is now alive and brimming. It has undergone a transformation and how! What better venue than this to engage with and become one with nature?


Date: Sunday 5th Nov. 2017
Time: 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (please assemble by 4:15 p.m.)
Venue: Puttenahalli Lake (next to Samskruthi Brindavana, J.P. Nagar 7th Phase)
Chief Guest: Ms. Malavika Avinash, renowned actor, theatre personality


Celebrate Nature! Celebrate Water!

About the organisers:

Nrityadarpan Dance School 
Founder Smt. Veena Bhat. http://nrityadarpan.org/ 
Mob - +91 9845695015; email: bhatveena94@gmail.com

IPAAC (Interiors, Planning, Art, Architecture, Conservation) 
Founders Shobha and Narendra Kumar Nagashetti 
Mob - +91 9886305001; email:  ipaaconsultants@gmail.com

PNLIT
citizen custodians of the Puttenahalli Lake. http://www.puttenahallilake.in/ 
Mob. +91 7259722996; email: puttenahalli.lake@gmail.com


Monday, October 16, 2017

PNLIT Calendar 2018 - Open for Pre-orders


The PNLIT Calendar is back! Capturing a few of the best of our lake, we'd brought out calendars for 2014 showcasing birds and for 2016 on the exciting Life at the lake. The theme for 2018 is butterflies and dragonflies.




Anyone who goes even occasionally to the lake cannot help but notice these fragile little beauties flying everywhere. Appropriately titled "Flutterflies at Puttenahalli Lake," the exquisite photographs have been shot by our shutterbugs. The calendar has been designed by Arpit Agarwal, a talented designer from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. 

Calendar details

Desk top Calendar
Size - 5.7" x 8.5"
No. of sheets - 8 (6 + 2)
Paper - 300 gsm art paper
Spiral bound

This is an advance intimation to help us decide on the number of copies we print. The cost per piece is likely to be between Rs. 210 and Rs. 230. 

The calendar will be available in December. Please hurry and place your order with: Ms. Nupur Jain <nupur21@gmail.com> (nupur21 at gmail dot com); Whatsapp number +91 9886629769

Bulk orders from companies are most welcome. The logo and the name of your company will be printed on this eye catching calendar. Please pitch it to your PR department. Let your wings and ours flutter through our calendar!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A poetic tribute from a visitor to our lake

Our meetings with visitors to the lake happen either by prior appointment or by chance. We see someone looking intently at a bird or a tree or at one of our information boards. Invariably, we will go up to that person introduce ourselves and start talking.  If they happen to have a camera, you can pretty much be certain that we will strike up a conversation with the stranger. Much like Coleridge's ancient mariner. :-)  Each stranger could be a potential resource person who can help us and the lake with their knowledge, time or a donation. It doesn't matter if they are none of these. We hope they will come more frequently and develop a bond with the lake, with Nature.

Our meeting with Dr. Harini Santhanam, a post doctoral researcher at IISc. on 21st Sept. was by design. We were excited to meet someone who could give us some tips on conservation. She did exactly that. Our discussion lasted for nearly two hours and was a brainstorming of ideas and sharing experiences. 

Meetings  prearranged or accidental are followed up with an email, usually from us. Dr. Harini however wrote a poem after her visit to the lake. We were reminded of Padma Bhushan Smt. Sudha Ragunathan's song in praise of lakes she'd sung at the PNLIT fund raiser concert in Feb. 

Such tributes come from the heart and we cherish them.
Thank you, Dr. Harini!

Best
Usha

*********

Lake of love
By Dr Harini Santhanam

What is a lake? 
I asked myself
A being of joy said they
who cared for it and nurtured it 
day by day, everyday!
What did you do when the going had been tough, asked I
We pulled up our sleeves and got help, said they
We observed and not merely looked on
And we cured the maladies that affected the lake-soul each day
What do you do when the going gets tough these days,
asked I, again.
We have each other's shoulders for support, said they 
to keep the lake alive and happy, come what may!
You call it lake conservation - 
We call it lake nourishment
Then I knew that the secret road map for sustainable development  
really did exist - in passion and love for Nature
In a sweet Cosmic Play, perhaps
Nature's maladies and Nature's cures,
start and end in human hearts!

*********

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On Kottavi Raja and Drum Jam

Story telling at the lake has always been a magical time both for us and the participants. We love to see the looks on the children's faces match the story teller's. The event on 9th September to celebrate International Literacy Day took the excitement to another level altogether. It combined story telling with drumming! 

(Pic: Madhu)

The heads were too many to count but we would put the figure to over 70 kids. As for adults ... Parents, grandparents, regular walkers at the lake, passersby ... This was the best attended event we've had at the lake so far!  We loved it especially because it drew people, young and old from the entire neighbourhood around the lake. 

Rather than we give an account, let's hear it from the participants. Here's what Madhu Sadhwani from Brigade Palmsprings had to say:

Today the Putanhalli Lake was all set to welcome the kids and parents for perfect combination of story telling and drum jam. Snehadhara team had high energy start for the story telling session with prayer to impress rain god by all kids.

Voice modulation to adjust the natural sound and Making melodies in my heart with perfect stretching to set the kids for story telling session. 

The Story on Yawning King was exciting for kids to share many ideas and make it creative and highly interactive.

Story session concluded with experience of the lake by all kids forming perfect chain and going around the beautiful Puttenahali Lake and singing songs.

Drum Jam was amazing for kids and parents to participate and synchronise with the groups. It was a great session that showed us coordination, concentration and fun can be achieved at the same time. 

All hail the king! (PIc: Snehadhara Foundation)

Pandering to his majesty (Pic: Snehadhara Foundation)

Here's another report from Sushmita, South City resident:  

"I loved it !!! It felt so amazing to play the drums, I thought It was really fun to make up beats and hear everyone play differently." is what my 9 year old daughter Zain has to say. 

I echo her feelings. It was indeed a really nice event at many levels. Adults and kids playing together, inviting and including the kids from the local neighbourhood, not only the gated community neighbourhood, but the kids who live around the lake in the little settlements who were as much a part of the event made it a really special community activity.

Thank you to PNLIT, Snehadhara, Pratham books and the Drumjam team for making this a fun and meaningful experience!

Drum jam (Pic: Snehadhara Foundation)

Drummers (Pic: Kalai Gautham)

Thanks indeed to Pratham Books  for their 'One Day, One Story' annual storytelling campaign. Snehadhara Foundation (as always you were brilliant) and our new associate, Community Drum Jam Foundation.  Special mention must be made of Chhaya, the whistler extraordinaire!  Her sharp clear whistles stood out above the drumming!  

Sleeping through it all! (Pic: Kalai Gautham)

We couldn't help noticing an infant sleeping blissfully on his father's shoulder completely oblivious of the raw energy so palpable throughout the evening. You wait, little one. Your turn to come to our lake for an event like this is not very far off!

Best
Usha



Saturday, September 2, 2017

Celebrate International Literacy Day with PNLIT, Snehadhara & Drum Circle

Join an interactive storytelling session which will be using voice, theatre and movement and participate in a drum circle where you will play on the drums, djembes and other percussion instruments!

Why?
Because 'One Day, One Story' the annual storytelling campaign of Pratham Books that runs around International Literacy Day is back! And like the past few years, PNLIT is a part of this program along with Snehadhara Foundation. Supporting Snehadhara this year is the Community Drum Jam Foundation (founded by Vasundhara Das and Roberto Narain).

What?
This year's chosen book is Kottavi Raja and his Sleepy Kingdom (written by Yasaswini Sampathkumar and illustrated by Henu). So travel to Kottavi Raja's land with Snehadhara and Community Drum Jam at Puttenahalli Lake to find out what happened there.

Where and How?
Venue - Gazebo, Puttenhalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Blr 560078
Date, Time - 9th September (Saturday) 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Kindly assemble by 4:20 p.m.
Age - 5 years and above
Entry is FREE


Register your child/children's name by sending an email to sapana_rawat@yahoo.com. We need to get a head count hence its very important that you register.

We look forward to seeing a whole bunch of children at the lake.