Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings from PNLIT

As we come to the end of another eventful year, PNLIT wishes you and yours, a very merry Christmas and a fulfilling new year ahead. 

This Christmas, may your "Christmas Tree" bring you gifts of joy, love and hope that will carry you through 2015, just as our date palm does, year after year. 

(Pic: Shubho Banerjee)

To help you organise your year, PNLIT brings to you a compact year planner that can be downloaded here and printed in A4/A3 size.​
Thank you to all our donors, volunteers, staff and supporters. PNLIT looks forward to your continued support in the year ahead.
Take care and happy holidays!​

The PNLIT Team

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Garganey ducks are back!

We are delighted to report the sighting of our winter visitor, the Garganey Duck. Today when we went to the lake at 3 p.m. we saw four of them at the lake. Typical of its highly territorial nature, the Eurasian Coot, one of our resident species  was busy chasing the ducks away. The quartet merely flew a short distance and made themselves comfortable once again. We hope they are joined by more of their ilk. To know more about this migratory species, see here.

The Garganey was sighted at Puttenahalli Lake for the first time in 2011, an event which was reported in the Hindu article Ducking It. The birds were here last year too.

Female Garganeys at Puttenahalli Lake, Dec 2013 

We were unable to take any photographs today, however, BTV, a city tv news channel, who had come over for a story and have filmed the Garganeys. 

You are welcome to visit the lake and take photographs of our winged visitors. 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini-citizens at Puttenahalli

The Nature Connection event for children at Puttenahalli Lake on 16th November 2014 went off very well (see article below). The adults' event was postponed.
This article was posted on the ArtyPlantz website and has been reproduced with the permission of the writer Janani Eswar. To know more about ArtyPlantz, visit the website here
IMG 9970 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
Happy with her little treasure.
Have you ever walked through a park or past a tree or through a forest on a trek maybe, and not taken the time to really look at it?
Last Sunday, the team and I spent the evening doing our first Junior Green Connect Program at the Puttenahalli lake in collaboration with PNLIT who do a wonderful job in, as they put it, breathing life into the lake. The children were so curious, playful, energetic, and yet alert enough to absorb some of what we were trying to show them. Where, I wonder, do we lose that childlike playfulness?
IMG 9950 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
Introductions circle.
After some icebreakers, we started out on a Scavenger Hunt. Finding interesting things that we hadn’t found, paying attention to things we had seen but never really appreciated. Some decided to run through it, excited to find the next thing on the list and others wanted to take their time exploring each one slowly. The adults must have really wondered what was going on icon smile Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
I remember watching as we took off our footwear to walk through the grass something that a couple of us were nervous to do. These team mates quickly stepped in and out, always watching carefully to make sure there wasn’t anything else in the grass. That’s ok. It is the first step to a beautiful journey.
IMG 9968 199x300 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at PuttenahalliIMG 9972 199x300 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli

IMG 9966 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
Sticky things, muddy things, smooth things, rough things, pretty things and, some not-so-pretty things all got some attention.
IMG 0014 e1416265482270 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
A Sharing circle brought us together again.
We discussed how to pay attention to a plant to see if it likes us taking things from it. We all put our minds together and formed a list of signs for us to use. The aim of the exercise was to see if more attention can be paid to the plants as living beings and see if we can start appreciating what they do for us and, boy did that happen! Each plant was asked before we harvested from it and, each plant was thanked afterwards. Some times we assumed that the plant wanted to give because we wanted to take so badly icon smile Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli But, the process is set now though. Some wild edibles were gathered and tasted.  Some fun things gathered to take home.
IMG 9999 300x199 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at PuttenahalliIMG 9991 300x199 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at PuttenahalliIMG 9986 300x199 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
So many precious moments happened on this trail. Wide eyes, indignation at another person when they didn’t wait for the plant to give permission and curious questions of if this is edible or not. I wish I could share them all with you, reader. But, mostly, I wish I could share with you all that happened in the next activity.
We asked the little ones to see if they could find themselves a friend in the park. A tree that they would name, find the characteristics of and make friends with.
IMG 0028 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
Here is one new friend we made.
He had a very long name which I am not going to try to tell you for fear I will get it wrong. He was also a feisty, but happy tree. Well worth making friends with. There are I am afraid no more pictures of what happened here. We were all just too busy making new acquaintances and introducing each other around.
IMG 0033 Exploring our Connection to plants with the Mini citizens at Puttenahalli
One last game.
By this time, we started getting hungry and thirsty. A quick game was played to show the kids how if you listen to someone else describing what they saw in nature you might get it wrong. But, if you see it yourself, you can know so much more.
In the scamper to get to nourishment afterward, the team and I missed out on saying how grateful we are to have had that shared experience with the kids. Can’t wait to make some more memories and learn together.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Our problem with gardeners

At Puttenahhali Lake, we had three gardeners - Kumar who'd been with us for over three years, Ramu for a year and a half and Uchappa for a month and a half. 

We were periodically increasing their salaries and they were currently receiving Rs 7000/month. Perks included a cycle, flexibility in timing, annual bonus, clothes, medical help, advance for emergencies. We delegated work and, time permitting, supervised them with help from a volunteer who spent an hour or so about 3 or 4 times a week. This meant that they were pretty much on their own and worked as they wished. To get any specific work done, we had to personally supervise and ensure it is done. 

After collecting their salary on the 1st of November, all three stopped working! We knew this only when we called one of them on the 3rd to say that we'd got him a new cycle. He said unless we increased their salaries, they were not coming back. We refused to be blackmailed in this fashion and asked them to return the advance, the key and the cycles. The next day one of them came back saying he'd made a mistake. Ramu is a good worker and we took him back. Now another guy is pestering to be reinstated but we have declined since he is slacker. The other guy returned the room key but not yet the money or the cycle. 

Maintaining the lake is a labour of love for me and the others at PNLIT and I can tell you with a clear conscience that we have treated our workers with sympathy and understanding. However, we refuse to be a pushover. 

Since we pay salaries from the donations you give us, this update is for your information. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

An event for those 15+

We had earlier announced that Artyplantz and PNLIT are organizing a programme on 16th November (early evening), for children aged 8 to 14. More details about this event can be seen here

On the morning of the same day (16th November), we have put together a different programme for adults and children above 15 years - to sensitize and help them connect with nature. This event will be held 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fee: Rs. 350/participant. Seats limited to 20. More details in the poster.

Please register with: 
Rekha George (mob. 9740151629) / Nupur Jain (mob. 9886629769)

Click image to enlarge

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A unique opportunity for 8 to 14 year olds

PNLIT is committed to promoting awareness of the environment among the residents around the Puttenahalli Lake. We are happy to tie up with Artyplantz to achieve this end. Like PNLIT, ArtyPlantz loves nature and takes real pleasure especially in plant life. 

ArtyPlantz and PNLIT are organizing a programme specially designed for children between the ages of 8 and 14 years, to help them discover the beauty of plant life. If you'd like your child to become a "citizen of the natural world," please note that the session is on Sunday, 16th Nov. from 3.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fee Rs. 250/child. Seats limited to 20 (twenty) to ensure personal attention to each child. For more details, see poster. 

Please register with: 
Rekha George (mob. 9740151629) / Nupur Jain (mob. 9886629769).

Click image to enlarge

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The best laid plans ...

Just when we don't want a shower, it rains and how! Last week we'd requested BBMP to remove the Salvinia Molesta, growing in front of the slum side. It was prevented from spreading everywhere by the alligator weed, another invasive weed which, thankfully, spreads less profusely than the dreaded Salvinia. The contractor was supposed to begin work soon after Diwali. Yesterday at around 3 p.m., while we were inspecting the Salvinia infested area, it began to rain sending us scampering for cover to the Gazebo. We were joined by a few others and our volunteer teacher, Mr. Ramakrishna Rao shifted the class to the security cabin. His two students are preparing for the 12th board exam and cannot be disturbed on any account. 

The rain continued and our 12 foot long level marker which was a good foot or more above the water, submerged. Within an hour, the Salvinia side too went under water. Now there's just a thin strip of alligator weed acting as a barrier! Our plan to remove the Salvinia manually was well and truly scotched. Perhaps we should revise our plan and get the Salvinia weevil from Trichur! Not for nothing did poet Robert Burns say that the best laid schemes of mice and men/often go awry. 

The photos show how the water level increased after yesterday's shower, post the last major shower on 6th October.


6th Oct 2014

25th Oct 2014

6th Oct 2014

25th Oct 2014

6th Oct 2014

26th Oct 2014 (Pic: Geetha Srikrishnan)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lake update

The birds are definitely less in number this year and it is worrying us a great deal. The lake has clean rain water, level is fairly good, as deep as 12 feet or more at places. The 3000 fingerlings we'd introduced last Sept. have multiplied and can been seen at times especially around noon just below the surface of the water. 

The resident birds, though few, are constantly perching on the different dead trees we'd planted in the lake bed,  From Jan. 2014 many more new species of birds were spotted at various times and yet, the total number has not gone up. Bird experts tell us to be patient. We are trying very, very hard to follow their advice!

Too often in the recent months, the rainfall was just enough to water the plants, but the rain today evening has increased the level considerably. Since it poured while we were present, we had the pleasure of seeing the water gush in from the inlets. This year several of the trees have started maturing and flowering. The latest is the Shisham (Dalbergia Sissoo) in the viewing deck. This is the tree adopted Anjana and her friends by giving to PNLIT the money Anjana would have spent on Dussehra. This Haldi kumkum tree  is flowering profusely. It is a mild fragrance that is attracting a number of bees. Read more about Shisham here.

One dilemma that we faced was with a Champak Tree sapling (Michelia Champaka, Sampige in Kannada)  we'd planted in July. Its new and tender leaves are a favourite of the Tailed Jay caterpillar and the leaves are full of these fat, green creatures! Do we save the tree or let the caterpillar become butterflies? We decided on the latter and left them alone for, after all the tree will sprout new leaves. In any case, this is the way of nature, isn't it? 

Deepavali greetings to all!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bird Watch Update - Black-headed Ibis

The Black-headed Ibis is a common enough bird in India and can be seen in large numbers at Ranganathittu sanctuary. However, it was a first time visitor to the Puttenahalli Lake and was spotted today morning. 

As if escorting it around, was an Egret. The pair made a delightful sight, the Egret all white and the Ibis with its coal black head, neck and legs. For more info see the wikipedia link here

Mr Gopinath Subbarao, a neighbourhood resident, dropped in at the lake after hearing about the new visitor and he caught these beautiful sights of the birds in action. Visit the lake and see if you can spot the Black-headed Ibis yourself!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On the divine and the rain

If Dussehra 2013 was unique for PNLIT with a South City resident replicating Puttenahalli Lake in her Golu, this year it was a lady from Brigade Millennium who took us by surprise. Mrs. Anjana Shivakumar wanted to donate to PNLIT, the money she would otherwise have spent on gifts for her guests invited for Haldi kumkum! 

What better celebration can there be of Mother Nature than by taking care of a lake? Mrs. Shivakumar and her 40 friends chanted Lalitha Sahasarnama invoking the Mother Goddess. When it ended, she announced that she was giving Rs. 5000 to PNLIT towards nurturing the lake. We hope at least some of them (and many of you, readers) would follow her example and donate to the upkeep of the lake. 

To reciprocate her thoughtful, indeed unique, gesture, PNLIT has "gifted" her and her friends with a tree, a Sheesham , more popularly called Indian RosewoodWhat's special about this particular tree is that it was brought from Golden Temple, Amritsar when our fellow trustee Arathi Manay last visited the shrine. It therefore occupies the pride of place in the viewing deck. We are renaming this tree "Haldi kumkum tree" for a year and shall soon put up a board to this effect. 

Haldi kumkum tree (Sheesham)

PNLIT's Dussehra celebration was a small, simple affair confined to one day - Ayudha Puja. Not surprising since we have a whole array of garden equipment and tools!

Ayudha Puja

Every drop of rain that falls sends our hope soaring. How much of it will enter the lake is the first question that comes to our minds. The rain last evening was no different. Today morning we went to the lake to check the level against our own personal markers (a stone sticking out of the water, distance between a dead tree and the edge of water, etc.) At first glance it did indeed seem that the level had gone up considerably from the last such downpour on Sept. 25th. Two of the dead trees we'd planted in the lake bed were now standing in water! The water had not yet circled the base of the island but yes, the two ends had come a little closer. Compared to this time last year, however, the level is far too low! 

After the rain, Oct 6, 2014

After the rain, Oct 8, 2013 (a year ago)

The birds were not many too - only a pair of Spot Billed Ducks, a few Common Coots and the Swamp Hens. Just when we were sighing over the low water level and the few birds, there was a flash of bright green over our heads! Ah ha! A Barbet? Just that sight was enough to elevate our morale. We certainly hope that the divine will shower more rain and send more birds flocking to our lake in the coming months!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Story telling event - this day, last week

A week has sped by but the story telling event we had on Sept. 6th in collaboration with The Storywallahs is so vivid in our minds as if it took place, well, today.

The day was murky from morning and when it began to rain at around 2 p.m., we were relieved. If it rains now surely it won't during the story telling. We reached the lake well in advance, set out the registration counter and ... it rained. We took the table to the gazebo, wiped it dry and cleaned the seats just as sky cleared and the first of the early birds began to come in from 4 p.m. 

The programme began promptly AND with a full house. Kids, kids, kids everywhere but where were the story tellers? The children lined up and we set out to locate Nupur Aggarwal and Parvathi Om. The search was quick and the children "pulled" them out of the lake. Like Pied Pipers, Nupur and Parvathi led the kids to the Gazebo singing and coaxing the reluctant ones to sing along. 

The children sat on the floor of the Gazebo, parents on the benches, others stood outside but all eyes were on the dynamic duo, Nupur and Parvathi. Then began the best part of such events - seeing the story tellers and listeners get swept into the narrative. The artists were in full form. The kids didn't look here or there.

Suddenly a child burst into loud tears. He was so caught up with the action that he had bit his thumb a too hard! We swooped him away to our "office" to administer first aid. 

It was a small cut by the base of the nail but it was enough for a drop of blood and bigger drops of tears! We pacified him but his cries grew louder. He managed to blurt out why - he wanted to find out what happened to the Generous Crow!

The next story was a Punjabi folktale, Kaka and Munni. Kaka was also a crow but such a wicked fellow! He was out to steal Munni, the sparrow's eggs. Tension mounted in the kids and it seemed as if they held their breath even as their eyes grew wider.

The story telling event was turning out to be exactly how we wanted - transporting the children into a world of imagination. It was time for the next segment - paper craft. All was well ... or so we thought forgetting the biggest child of all - Rain God! He decided that it was time to make an appearance and how! 

We tied a tarpaulin between two pillars. The story tellers didn't stop, the children moved closer to them. Parents sitting on the benches got up and stood behind the kids, shielding them. Adults standing outside opened their umbrellas and blocked the rain further. It was magical, truly heart warming sight. No wonder it feels as if it happened just moments ago!

One of the parents, Mithun Prabhu took "126 photos, which i finally cut down to 81 as couldn't cut it down further seeing innocent cute little ones photos and some of their enthusiastic parents."  

You can see more photos here and here.

If you want any of these photographs please email Mithun <> / Nupur Aggarwal <>. 

Thanks to The Storywallahs who make learning so much fun through storytelling. 
You are welcome to send yours or your child's comments to Nupur and to us 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Free Home Appliances Repair Skill Development Training Program for Youth

A good opportunity for those who have finished Std 12 and interested in vocational training.

Labournet is starting a new skill development course next week.

Name of the course :  Home Appliances Repair Training 
Qualification:   12th  Pass  onwards , ITI passed or failed  and  any Graduate
Age: 18 Yrs- 30 Yrs

Course Fee: free
Course duration: 50 days = 200 hours 
Total intake: 60 students (male/female)
Certification: Bajaj Electric and NSDC

Course will take place in the Gottigere Center, Banerghatta
Two batches possible (morning and afternoon batch).

For more information, please contact Mr Rajakumar, Manager
25/1-4, 19th  A main , 9th Cross
2nd Phase , JP Nagar
Bangalore -78
Mobile : 7204072558

About Labournet

We would like to introduce LabourNet as a social enterprise that creates sustainable benefits for workers in the informal sector by taking an end to end solution that is focused on plugging gaps in the eco-system. These workers constitute 93% of India's workforce. Our aim is to reach  a million workers by 2017. We work with the industry to define occupational standards for job role and define industry relevant training program.
We also assist the companies in filling their ranks with personnel with the industry relevant skills. We have four methodologies to enable this:
Establish and run Livelihood Centers across India to empower people in rural areas / Tier 2 & 3 cities with vocational skills at the grass root level. Along with access to world class training and skilling solutions, unorganized sector workers get identity and financial inclusion by registering with these centers. The workers employed by LabourNet are also assured of insurance and social welfare and this improves their quality of life significantly.
Consulting and Managed Services for the informal sector
Employment and work enablement by ensuring linkages with the job market for all our stakeholders
Enterprise skill enhancement by providing onsite training (domain specific skills, soft skills and behavioural management) to existing informal sector workers.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bird watch update - Black-crowned Night Heron

The worry about not raising enough funds to meet our annual maintenance expenses of the lake was wiped out temporarily at least today evening with the sighting of a new-for-me bird - the Black-crowned Night Heron. 

How obligingly he sat on a pipe in the water, hunched shoulders, sharp, long beak and red eyes, turning this way and that as if posing for my camera! You can read more about the bird and hear recordings of its call here

If you are bringing your child for the story telling on Saturday evening, be on the look out for this Night Heron.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Literacy Day - Story time, Fun time!

PNLIT is happy to announce a unique story telling + activity event for children.

Let your children listen to TWO exciting stories:
The Generous Crow
Kaka and Munni

The story tellers are Nupur Aggarwal and Parvathi Om from the reputed The Storywallahs!

And hey!! That's not all. Let your kids engage in delightful paper craft with our experts!

All this fun for only Rs.100 per child. Admission restricted to 50 kids only. 

Hurry! Register NOW! A free gift from PNLIT awaits your child!
To register, please sms Nupur 9886629769/ Sapana 9880554136 or email

Date: Saturday, 6th September, 2014
Time: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Venue: Gazebo, Puttenahalli Lake
Occasion: International Literacy Day