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. -

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


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. 
Mob - +91 9845695015; email:

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

citizen custodians of the Puttenahalli Lake. 
Mob. +91 7259722996; email: