Monday, January 15, 2018

Book launch at the lake, Sunday 21st Jan 2018

Close on the heels of Foto Fundas, the photography workshop to be conducted by Mr S.K. Srinivas on Saturday 20th January, here's another not-to-be missed event! 


On Sunday 21st January,  there will be a book release event at Puttenahalli Lake - Discover Garden Climbers written by Mr T.S. Srinivasa, with photographs by Mr  Karthikeyan S., both naturalists. 

The book is the second in a series of low cost, information-packed pocket guides brought out by EcoEdu, the first being Discover Avenue Trees.

Mr Vijay Thiruvady, who leads the Lal Bagh Green Heritage Walks, and is the author of Heritage Trees In and Around Bangalore (both he and the book are treasure troves of stories of trees in the city) will release the book. We are very privileged that we will have him with us. It will be a great opportunity to meet him. 


Date: Sunday 21st Jan. 2018
Time: 5 p.m. (please assemble by 4.45 p.m.)
Venue: Gazebo, Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase

Discover the joy of green spaces. Discover Garden Climbers. Copies will be on sale at the venue. 

Save the dates, folks! 
Sat. 20th Jan - photography workshop. 
Sun. 21st Jan - book release and discussion.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Foto Fundas - Photography Workshop on 20th Jan 2018

We begin the year with a new event - a photography workshop.
Mr. S.K.Srinivas will be conducting this workshop at the lake premises on 20th Jan 2018. He is known among PNLIT well wishes through his remarkable photos, often shared.


Check out his photo albums on Facebook here.

If you have ever wondered ... 

What camera to buy?
What is a DSLR Camera? 
What is the Exposure Triangle?
Can I ever do better than a point and click?
How to get the most out of your cell phone camera?
What is a good composition?
Lighting??
??

Question no more. Learn from Srinivas. Observe, imbibe, internalize the basics. Then go, shoot!

For participants aged 12 years and above. 
You will be required to bring your own camera.
Time: 10 a.m. to 12 noon 
Date: Saturday, 20th January 2018
Fees: Rs. 300/participant
Register with Divya divyadshetty@hotmail.com
Limited seats. Hurry!

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Year That Was - PNLIT Highlights of 2017

Our warm greetings to you and your family for the New Year. The PNLIT family will remember 2017 for a long, long time. Here's what made it memorable.

January

We install a cattle barrier near the garbage corner at the south west entrance to the lake. Also a welded mesh at the base of the inner grill to prevent dogs from entering the water and disturbing the birds.

February

Padma Bhushan Sudha Ragunathan visits the lake on the 25th. 

Sudha Ragunathan at Puttenahalli Lake, Feb 2017

At the fund raiser concert in the evening, she sings a special song on lakes which we will remember for all time to come! Heartfelt thanks to Gautham and Jenesys for facilitating and sponsoring the concert and to Brigade Hospitality. 

Sudha Ragunathan in concert, Feb 2017

The concert is a good opportunity to release our newsletter and to felicitate our well wishers and CSR partners. Mr. B.V. Satish, Chief Engineer, Lakes, BBMP receives the first copy of our newsletter "Ripples" from the singer. PNLIT partners felicitated are Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd., VMWare, Deloitte Shared Services India Pvt. Ltd., Cisco, BMS College of Engineering and the Community around the lake whose donations enable us to nurture the lake. 

March 

The Environmental Management & Policy Research Institute, Bengaluru (EMPRI) organises a Jatre from their office to Puttenahalli Lake to promote awareness about the hazards of using plastic. 

We begin revamping the wetland.

May

Our MoU with the BBMP is renewed for another term of three years.

Yellappa harvests fish in plenty. Species in the lake are Indian Catla, Rohu, Mrigal, Chinese Carp (Common, Silver and Grass) and Snakehead (Varal)

Silver Carp, May 2017

June

PNLIT partners with Earthwatch Institute India to promote scientific application by students and local residents in the conservation and restoration of environment and ecosystems. The events will be conducted at the lake premises.

Lake overflows into the waste weir for the second consecutive year.

July

Ms. Seema Garg, the new CEO of Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority, visits the lake. She is already well aware of us and our work.

Story telling by Vikram Sridhar is a great success.

August

PNLIT trustees with gardener Jayanna visit Madivala Lake and teach KLCDA staff to make the floating wetland platforms. They are introduced in Agara Lake as well.

The 2nd edition of "Ripples" is released.

September 

Storytelling and Drum Jam session at lake by Snehadhara, Drum Circle, Pratham Books and PNLIT, to celebrate International Literacy Day. Over 70 children accompanied by adults attend.

Drummers at the lake, Sep 2017

BBMP offer to clean some of the weeds. Slum residents get the entire stretch along their hutments removed destroying bird habitat and nesting site.

November

PNLIT, Nrityadarpan (a classical dance institute) and IPAAC celebrate Karnataka Rajyotsava with a dance and music programme. Ms. Malavika Avinash, renowned Kannada actress lauds the rejuvenated lake and more so, the involvement of the community.

Nrityotsav, Nov 2017

The migratory Western Marsh Harrier spotted at the lake after years.

PNLIT is awarded the "Key to My Liveable City" by My Liveable City, an international journal, at Mumbai. 
My Liveable City award, Nov 2017

PNLIT participates in a public event called "Celebrating the Urban Commons" organised by the Azim Premji University.

Deccan Herald in a front page report mentions that "Puttenahalli Lake is in a bad shape." PNLIT immediately write to the Editor in protest. Our volunteers and well wishers overwhelm us with their vociferous support. Deccan Herald withdraws the write up and photograph from the online edition. We are deeply touched and grateful to all our friends.

Floating island chains in wetland, Nov 2017

December 

PNLIT participates in the VMWare Community Day held at their office premises.

Work begins on erecting a Pergola over a 100 meter stretch of the walking track along the wetland. Grants from Misys Financial Software Solutions and VMWare enabled this installation which is in finishing stage. The pergola design is CSR contribution from Mayapraxis architects.

PNLIT Calendar 2018 features butterflies and dragonflies photographed at the lake.


***

All in all, an exciting year which makes us look forward to 2018.  With your continued support, we will be able to nurture our lovely lake and make it even better.

With new year greetings,
The PNLIT team

Photo credits: PNLIT Shutterbugs

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Three days at Rangoli Art Metro

As part of a three day event "Celebrating the Urban Commons" organised by Azim Premjii University we were invited to showcase the story of our lake at the Vismaya gallery, Rangoli Art Metro from 24th to 26th Nov. 

PNLIT stall

We had enough and more photos of the lake from then to now. We finally chose what we thought to be the best representations of PNLIT's work, volunteers, children and adults, transformation of the lake from then to now. Aparna Rajagopalan did the layout of 23 photographs in seven frames. 

PNLIT display

Puttenahalli Lake in 2009 and 2017

The organisers had said we could have games as well. Our creative juices started flowing. We decided on two simple, if old fashioned games, an electronic matching game and another which tested the steadiness of the hand. We wanted both to be connected to the lake. Geetha Bhandary made the first with photos of our birds.  Being an architect used to making models, Ashwatha Chandran made a 3D model of Puttenahalli Lake in no time at all. Shana Gokul transformed the base model into an incredible replica of the lake (see pic). Two short "electricity poles" one either side of the viewing deck had a wire and a loop. The challenge was to take the loop from one end to the other without touching the wire and lighting a bulb in the middle of the water.

The first two days were a little slow paced but on the third day visitors kept us on our feet from about 2 p.m. to 7 p.m! We lost count of the number of times we explained each photograph, what we did and why. And the games ... ah! They were such a roaring success! More so the lake game which was far easier even for shaky hands. The connect game turned out to be more of a guessing game for almost all.  The only visitor to get it correctly was an employee of IBM. She first memorised from the base sheet and then quickly matched each bird correctly. This after swiftly and steadily whizzing through the lake game! 

Connect Game

Match the bird and its name

Lake model


Steady hand needed

So many people told us about lakes in their localities that were in a bad shape. We suggested they take the lead to rejuvenate it. Lakes need to nurtured by the local community. The gain from this is theirs too!

Heartfelt thanks to Harini Nagendra and Seema Mundoli for inviting us to participate in this event and to everyone who helped us with the exhibits.

More photos can be seen in Srinivas' facebook album.

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