Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cisco volunteers at Puttenahalli Lake

On 8th October 2015, a group of 34 volunteers from Cisco livened up Puttenahalli Lake with their good humored banter, comments and most of all, with their swift and efficient planting of saplings to form a protective hedge along the side of the walking track. This was done to prevent stray dogs from going down the embankment and chasing the birds away. By planting the saplings the Cisco volunteers saved a great deal of labour for us and our gardeners. By sending us the report below, they saved us the trouble of writing one as well! Sincere thanks to Cisco's Jagadeesh Maiya and Sudarshan Ganapathi, who led the volunteers and special thanks to Girisha Shankar for the report. - Usha (Trustee, PNLIT)

Puttenahalli Lake plantation drive (A CSR initiative by CSG-CNX India team)
- Report by Girisha Shankar (with minor edits)

When was the last time that the CNX engineers dug out live bugs? And when was the last time that a white-breasted kingfisher got spotted within city?

It was a sunny afternoon threatened by the evening rains. Thirty four (34) engineers from Cisco (where long-time PNLIT-donor Jagadeesh Maiya works) decided to spend the afternoon planting saplings by the walking track on the Puttenahalli lake shore. We all assembled around 2.30. Ms. Usha Rajagopalan, a trustee from Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust gave us a brief overview of the lake and how it was restored. Her inspiring speech was all that we needed to get into the act. Teams were formed from the assembled group. Equipped with spears, pick-axe and shovels we set out. As one person dug the hole, the second one removed the plastic cover of the sapling, the third planted the sapling, the fourth watered the plant and off to the next one. A few volunteered to transport saplings and water for the small teams that were ahead. It was an example of multiprocessor, with pipelining!!! The recent rains helped by keeping the soil loose and easy to dig. 

As the enthusiasm soared, the sleeping earthworms and beetles rushed out of their safe haven to see what was happening – scaring some of the engineers in the process. But were relocated safely without getting harmed. Some of us were lucky to spot some birds – such as white-breasted kingfisher. With all the saplings that we planted, may be we have increased the possibility of sighting more birds in this park in future.

The weather was helpful – by not raining. As many as 450+ saplings were planted by the team in the session. But soon, most of us, not accustomed to this kind of work, were
all tired. Sudarshan brought home made Puliyogare and Mamtha brought Ginger tea from Cisco campus. They were devoured by one and all in that park. Rejuvenated by the delicious food, digging/planting/watering continued till we planted all 700 saplings.

Our team got a boost when Junior Sudarshan (Sumukha), Junior Jagadeesh(s) (Sriram and Arjun) joined to lend their hands. The evening ended with an enthralling speech from Jagadeesh. With a few blisters in hand, yet with great satisfaction, we dispersed.

This is the beginning of continued volunteering. For ease of communication an internal alias (volunteers-pnlit) is being created with all the 34 volunteers included. The alias is open for more volunteers to register.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Puttenahalli Lake and Navaratri

We are wary of festivals because of the toll they take on water bodies in general and our lake in particular. Navaratri, however, became special for us since 2013 when a South City resident Raji decided to make our Puttenahalli Lake part of her "Golu." Invited for haldi kumkum, we walked in and stopped short. What? Our Lake in the Golu? The lake made of chart paper and little figures was almost an exact replica of Puttenahalli Lake. Raji and her son Aditya had anticipated it full of water and their model had an expanse of blue when in reality the lake bed was more green with weeds. This unusual representation during a festival of dolls caught the eye of the press and Jagran City Plus carried this story.

At Navaratri last year we had another heartwarming surprise when a Brigade Millennium resident, Anjana Shivakumar decided to revere Mother Nature by donating to PNLIT the money she would otherwise have spent on gifts for her haldi kumkum guests. We returned her kind gesture by "gifting" her and her 40 odd friends with an Indian Rosewood (Sheesham) growing tall and stately in the Viewing Deck. You can read this story here. 

(Pic: Nupur Jain)

This year Anjana has once again decided to pay her respects to Nature, the Supreme Mother, through Puttenahalli Lake. The photograph above shows the pride of place Anjana has given the lake and also indeed, how much the Sheesham has grown in this one year. 

Raji's dream of seeing the lake full of water is also slowly and steadily becoming a reality with the inflow of excess treated water from South City Sewage Treatment Plant. 

Our major challenge now is to remove the invasive alligator weed and reveal the water in all its glory for our communities of humans and birds. This is a huge challenge and expensive as well but with the prayers of people like Anjana and Raji directed towards the welfare of the lake, we shall overcome this hurdle. 

Navaratri greetings to all from PNLIT.