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!



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!


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!

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).

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.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Our AFI goes places

We are delighted to tell you that our low cost, low maintenance Artificial Floating Island (AFI) has been introduced at Madiwala Lake! Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) plans to introduce these in Agara lake as well. 

Last month, on 12th July, Ms. Seema Garg, the new CEO of KLCDA  had visited Puttenahalli Lake and shown great interest in our floating wetland platforms. She informed the officers in charge of setting up the Bio-diversity Park at Madiwala Lake about our innovation and they in turn visited our lake on 21st August 2017.

We took Mr. Chidananda, Dy Range Forest Officer and Dr. Padmavathi, Project Coordinator, around the lake and briefed them in detail not just about the AFI, pipe frame aquatic plant holder, buffer strip  AFIs, native plants but also about the buffer strip in the main body, grill for the silt traps, artificial perches in the lake bed and more. We agreed to help them whenever they get the material to make a platform. Just two days later, they invited us over to teach their gardeners! 

On 23rd August, we went with our gardener, Jayanna, to Madiwala Lake and showed them how to make a prototype, inserted canna bulbs and finally floated it in the water. I don't know who was more thrilled - KLCDA officers, their gardeners or our PNLIT team!  

AFI making class at Madiwala Lake, 23rd Aug 2017

Jayanna fixing mesh to the frame

Inserting Canna bulbs

Floating the AFI in the water

We had first taught Himanshu Arteev from Biome in December 2016 and given him two platforms to exhibit at Kaikondrahalli Lake. Subsequently Biome introduced it at Jakkur lake.

By absorbing the nutrients, the plants in these floating wetlands purify the water.  Obviously the improvement is slow and gradual. Also, the system may not work if the lake is full of sewage. It can only complement not replace the constructed wetland. We nevertheless hope that our AFI does as well in other lakes as it does in ours!

With best regards,

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ripples: PNLIT Newsletter - July 2017

We are pleased to release the July 2017 edition of the Bi-Annual Newsletter titled "RIPPLES" from Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT). As a well wisher of the PNLIT and the lake, we hope you enjoy reading our newsletter! Click the pic below.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Muddy waters after the rains

Those of you like me, who live away from Puttenahalli Lake, would be wondering how the lake looks after the torrential rains of the past couple of days. The pictures of Bangalore on television showed that the rains were so heavy that roads became like rivers, complete with floating boats. So the image of the lake that I had was one brimming with water. This was not far from reality, but it's muddy water!

15th Aug 2017

Fellow trustee Nupur shared some pictures after surveying the area yesterday. "Continuous heavy rains created a lot of changes in the lake", she wrote.

Drains with trash are common in Bangalore and the rapidly gushing storm water drain streams that feed the lake brought with them lots of undesirables. The silt traps where we'd fitted grills caught a lot of trash. There were other places however, where the trash flowed in.

The wetland is totally spoilt. Our floating islands are scattered all around and will need to be rescued.

Mud from the neighbouring plot flowed onto the walking track making it like a river of quick sand and risky for anyone to walk there.

Much needs to be done to bring back the normalcy of a few days ago. Our staff has their hands full. And as they worked today, the birds, the fish and the snakes were found enjoying the new muddy waters.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Butterfly walk at Doresanipalya reserve forest, 13th Aug 2017

If you haven't heard about the Bangalore Butterfly Club (BBC), read this article which appeared in The Hindu two days ago.

BBC is organising the next walk this Sunday, on 13th August at the Doresanipalya Reserve Forest, Arekere Mico Layout, which is reputed to have no less than 125 species! These walks typically start at 9 a.m. and end by noon. 

This is a wonderful opportunity for those even just a little interested in butterflies. If you'd like to join BBC on this walk, please confirm your participation at the earliest to Rohit Girotra <rohitashwa18@gmail.com>. Don't forget to give your mobile number as well. He needs to take prior permission from the forest department.

Have a great walk!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Wetland rejuvenation project at Puttenahalli Lake

Invariably these days visitors to the lake ask one question - what are those floating platforms in the water? Those of you who follow our updates on the lake would know that these are the Artificial Floating Islands we had first introduced in June last year. That was also when we signed an MoU with the BMS College of Engineering to test the lake water every month. Three prototype islands were joined by more. The plant species in the platforms increased and the water sampling points went up from four to seven. 

The BMS reports began to show a steady improvement.  The results from site 1 (wetland) for July 2016 and 2017 are given further below along with an analysis of the results.  As laymen, we believe what we see. We see the plants in the AFIs thriving (especially the Canna and how!). We see schools of fish and birds gorging on them (and growing plump!). The eyesore in our lake was the wetland which is a crucial biofilter site but needs to be tended more rigorously than perhaps the rest of the lake since this is the main entry point for rain water. We decided to revamp the wetland which was an unholy mess with trash galore and water snakes everywhere. We came up with a plan to make the vegetation easy to maintain using the floating platforms. 

BBMP cleared the area in February and then again in April. Almost at once, the entire wetland became covered with sticky duckweed. The wetland which looked like a jungle now looked like thick pea soup! We remembered that the duckweed usually kept away during the monsoon hence decided to divert the treated water into the wetland. Voila! The duckweed vanished like magic!

Since then, from May this year our gardeners have been steadily lining the entire inner boundary of the wetland with the floating platforms. Now they are in the process of installing AFIs rows within this bund. The smallest one in front of a silt trap is done. Giving enough space for a coracle, we will perhaps have three to four rows of platforms each with different species of plants. The photos in this link tell the story of our Floating Treatment Wetland:  https://goo.gl/photos/rmHGqJ1GsXai51tb7 

Wetland to the left of the stones, 20th Jun 2016

Wetland rejuvenation in progress, 29th Jun 2017

Our heartfelt thanks to our CSR partners in this project VMWare and Deloitte Shared Services India Pvt. Ltd.  Some of their volunteers made a few platforms as well. We are grateful to BMSCE for conducting the monthly water tests. Ever since we publicised the news of our AFIs last November, several lake teams have been visiting us. We are very happy to share our experience with all. 

See below are the lab reports of  water sample collected from the wetland at Puttenahalli lake. 
                                                      Sample  (Wetland)

Parameter                             July 2016    July 2017

pH                                                 6.81                 7.1
Turbidity                               18.6 NTU        20 NTU          
Dissolved Oxygen                  2 mg/lt          3 mg/lt           
BOD                                        188 mg/lt      62 mg/lt         
Total Solids                         2974 mg/lt      1920 mg/lt
Nitrates                                   68 mg/lt        28 mg/lt         
Phosphates                              21 mg/lt        18 mg/lt         

One of our volunteers, S.K. Srinivas, a pharmacologist, bio-chemist and birder analysed the results. His report is given below: 

"Overall, a good picture. Key points:

BOD (biological oxygen demand) : This is the primary indicator of water pollution. Lower the BOD level, the better is water quality.  Compared to what it was a year ago, the BOD has decreased dramatically.  That's really good. However, since BOD of 20 mg/liter is still considered severe pollution, we have some way to go. But, really good work all the same.

Nitrates / phosphates:   Significant reduction since the past year.  In a literal sense, there is less crap in the water!

Dissolved oxygen:  Has gone up since the past year. Very good. This, I think, is due to the floating islands.

Total solids:    Significant reduction.

Turbidity of the water has increased marginally since what it was a year ago. We need to see why this happening. Turbid water prevents sunlight from getting through the water and decreases plant photosynthesis. It may be due to the increased traffic inside the lake, i.e, increased use of coracle for fishing and weeding. Or it could even be the fish." 

And boy, do we have fish at the lake! :-)


Monday, July 31, 2017

Tales to Tell - storytelling event on 23-Jul-2017

On July 23rd we had a lovely storytelling session by Vikram Sridhar of Around the Story Tree

Pics by Mithun Prabhu

We asked a couple of parents who attended the session with their children to tell us what they thought about the storytelling event. Here is what they reported:

Report by Nidhi Chawla
Stories hold a special place in childhood. However, if as parents or grandparents we are unable to pass on this legacy to our young ones, there are new age story tellers to come to the rescue. Vikram Sridhar is one such professional story teller who came to tell stories to our kids last weekend at the Puttenahalli lake, JP Nagar. 
His engaging style kept the kids involved and excited. The tale of Amur falcons interspersed with a message of conservation and a tale of two sister birds and their bonding seemed appropriate for the venue where the event was held - the Puttenahalli Lake, the pride of our neighborhood, conserved and maintained by PNLIT. 
The kids vied for their turn to don the hats of a falcon, the hunter, the policeman and many other characters in the stories. Their laughter and the excited looks on their faces made it an afternoon spent well with the bonus of enjoying the splendor of nature in the middle of the city.

Report by Mithun Prabhu
Though a father of two children, I still remember listening to the stories told by my parents and grandparents and drifting off to sleep. Stories beautiful and engrossing, told with so much love. Those days are long gone as also perhaps the narrative skill in parents but thankfully we have a few enterprising and energetic Story Tellers like Vikram Sridhar who came to Puttenahalli Lake to tell children not one but two stories.
He came dressed in ethnic kurta and dhoti, started off with a bang, and from the word go engaged the kids, and pulled them into his stories. He lived the roles, made the kids join him, made them roll over in laughter, jump, dance and more importantly got everyone to speak up, answer his questions, participate in role playing, making it all a two way communication. The kids had a whale of a time that day, in a pristine lake environment, with green trees and a cool breeze blowing. It was not only the kids, but some of the parents too who were deeply engrossed in his stories, reliving perhaps their childhood days!
It was a splendid one hour spent with constructive and good use of the time, bonding between kids, parents and everyone assembled at the lake. All thanks to Vikram Sridhar and to Nupur, Usha, Sapana and team PNLIT.

Sunday, June 11, 2017