Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Darter in Distress

To nurture the Puttakere we maintain a "To Do" list which is like Hydra's head. Each time we tick off one task, two appear in its place. Divya, Nupur and I met at the lake yesterday, 29th June, at 1:30 p.m. to discuss, among others, trimming trees, ground cover plants, events, share updates on new initiatives and so on. An hour later we walked past the island and saw an Oriental Darter sitting on a perch on the revetment. 

Darter caught in fishing net
Darter in distress (Pic: Nithya)
 

Though it is listed as a near threatened species by the IUCN, we had a few of them at the lake but had never seen one so close. At first glance, it seemed to have caught a fish. Instead of throwing it up into the air and swallowing it head first, this Darter shook its head and fluttered its wings. We looked closer. What it had caught was not a fish but a little mass of fine fishing net! Even as we watched, the poor bird tried to scrape it off on the wood.


Darter bird trying to scrape off a fishing net
Darter bird trying to scrape off the fishing net (Pic: Nithya)


Our gardeners have learnt to see if any bird was in trouble and have even rescued a couple of them caught in the abrasive string of a paper kite. However, given that this Darter could fly or dive away, we decided to seek expert help and telephoned the Avian and Reptile Rescue Centre (ARRC). The rescue team readily agreed to come but they had to cover a distance of about 22 km maneuvering the afternoon traffic to reach the lake. We got home guard Nithya to keep an eye on the bird so that it could be located among all the Cormorants and Darters. 


At 4 o'clock the lake opened to the public. The increased footfall scared the bird and it flew to the island. That was where Ramu took the rescue team.  Even as the coracle approached, however, the bird flew to another part of the island. Its next hiding place was below the low hanging branch of a Singapore Cherry. We didn't see it swim away but it popped up on a branch several metres away.  By now a number of walkers, young and old, had gathered to watch this game of "dive and seek" which could turn deadly if the bird wasn't caught soon. With dusk falling, the two rescuers decided to look around just once more, this time from the pathway. 


Darter bird on the island
Escape to the island (Pic: Nithya)

The bird must have been exhausted by then and they managed to catch it. Wrapping a thick towel around it, they gently removed the treacherous net before releasing the Darter into the water. 


Darter bird being released after being freed of the net on its beak
Darter being released (Pic: Nithya)

Released Darter (Pic: Nithya) 

Rescuers watch the Darter swim away (Pic: Nithya) 


Our deepest gratitude to ARRC for their prompt help. 


Best regards

Usha

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Event report - World Environment Day and 12 years of PNLIT

Two attendees write about the event


World Environment Day, 2022 started with an educational and inspirational morning  for the citizens of JP Nagar. Organised by Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT), Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) and Indian Music Experience (IME), this turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience.

PNLIT celebrated their 12th year as a Trust on this occasion. Ms. Sapana Rawat hosted the event while Ms. Usha Rajagopalan, the chairperson of PNLIT showed us the video of the incredible 12 yr journey of the lake. She mentioned how PNLIT works with the various government departments and how it has come so far with strong support from the neighbourhood residents. 


Ms. Kaveri from KSLSA gave an enlightening talk, highlighting waste management and citizens' role in taking care of the environment. 

Coming in all the way from North Bangalore was Mr. Samuel John, who provided an exceptional presentation with snaps on various life forms at the lake. His underwater video and the hunting sequence he had captured of one spider fooling and eating another spider were simply wonderful. He enlightened us about the important role played by each and every tiny organism present. How they all help in maintaining a rich ecosystem at the lake.

This remarkable presentation was followed by another showstopper - a vocal recital by National award winning singer Ms. Bindhumalini. Her melodious voice left everyone stunned, especially those, like me, who had shut their eyes in the dim room. I was transported into a peaceful world.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Ms. Sahana, who gifted the three special guests a sapling each. What a great start to Environment Day !!

- Nishka Jain, Student, 16 years



World Environment Day of 2022 and PNLIT's 12th anniversary were celebrated on 5th June 2022 in collaboration with PNLIT, IME and KSLSA. The event started on time with a welcome speech by Sapana, a PNLIT volunteer, followed by a presentation on how the lake has evolved over the last 12 years.

Usha Rajagopalan, the Chairperson of PNLIT took the audience through the journey of PNLIT since its inception till date including the ups and downs faced by the team. She shared how the issues have been handled and the lake brought back to life after 2 years of struggling with the sewage inflow. The audience consisted mainly of the donors, well-wishers of PNLIT and the neighborhood residents.


Usha's address was followed by a very thoughtful speech by Smt. Kaveri, Deputy Secretary, KSLSA. The importance of celebrating World Environment Day and this year's theme on One Earth with the tagline of 'living sustainably in harmony with nature' were beautifully articulated by her. She also pointed out our responsibility as citizens towards reducing and managing waste that we generate.


The next part of the event was a presentation by Samuel John, co-founder of social enterprise called "Spiders and the Sea". The presentation took us all to another world at the lake that we may not have observed both inside and outside the water body. He emphasized on the importance of each living organism of the lake and how they all are interdependent to complete the cycle of life. Right from the tiniest ant to algae to kites and fish, all forms of the ecosystem of our beautiful Puttenahalli lake came to life right in front of us through the pictures and videos captured with great efforts by Samuel John.


The perfect finale of the day's event was the soulful singing by Ms. Bindumalini Narayanaswamy. It was very thoughtful of her to have the lights switched off so the music could help the audience look inwards and spend a few moments to organise the thoughts and allow them to flow seamlessly. The choice of songs from Kabir's song about water to the shlokas from Vishnu purana, all blended beautifully to the theme and were delivered flawlessly through her captivating voice. The audience were mesmerized with her performance.



The event ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Sahana, Head of Curation, IME. 



Overall, time well spent on a Sunday morning celebrating World Environment day and PNLIT's 12th anniversary.

- Nandhini Sriraaman, PNLIT Trustee


Picture credits - Nupur Jain, Aditi Mahesh



Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Join us in celebrating World Environment Day and 12 years of PNLIT

We're happy to invite you for World Environment Day celebration on Sunday, 5th June, 2022. This event is being held jointly with the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), and Indian Music Experience (India's first interactive music museum). The programme will begin at 11 a.m. at the IME auditorium in Brigade Millennium, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore 560078.





As our well-wisher, you will be happy to know that we will also be celebrating the 12th year of PNLIT (on 11th June 2022). Twelve years of taking care of Puttenahalli Puttakere! 

This double celebration has a distinguished, exciting panel which includes: 

Mr. Shashidhara Shetty, Hon'ble Member-Secretary, KSLSA, who leads the activities of legal services institutions in the State. 

Mr. Samuel John, a nature (read 'spider') lover and underwater photographer who visited our Puttakere last year and can't keep himself from coming and shooting, on land, under water! You can therefore expect a unique video presentation. 

Our Chairperson, Usha Rajagopalan, will highlight the past, the present and the future of Puttenahalli Lake in a brief talk. 

The finale - a musical tribute to nature by Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy, the National award winning singer and composer. 

So, folks, welcome, welcome, welcome! Mark the date and time on your calendar: 

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Venue: IME auditorium, Brigade Millennium, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore 560078
Day: Sunday, 5th June, 2022
This event is free and open to everyone
Do please join us for refreshments from 10:30 a.m. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Making everyday, Earth Day

The first time we celebrated Earth Day was in 2010, to publicize the revival of our Puttakere among  residents in the area. At that point, we had no idea that we were in for a long haul. 

Earth Day 2010
Earth Day 2010 at South City Apartments, Bangalore (Pic: Ashok Das)

In fact, even when we registered PNLIT in June that year, we did so to assist BBMP and ensure that the lake doesn't relapse. Signing an agreement with them in May 2011 and becoming official custodians of the lake meant no turning, or looking, back for us, trustees. Since then, the lake, and we, have come a long way. 

Birds at lake
A serene morning at the lake, Apr 2022 (Pic: Nithya)

Folk concert at lake
Folk concert at the lake on 24th Apr 2022 (Pic: Nupur Jain)

Thanks to all who have been a part of this wonderful journey. We look forward to your continued support. Here is a glimpse of life at the lake this April 2022, but there's nothing like visiting it and seeing the wonders for yourself!

Removing litter from the water Apr 2022
Removing litter from the water (Pic: Nupur Jain)

Juvenile Great Cormorant (Pic: Madhurima Das)

Spot-billed Duck family
Spot-billed Duck family (Pic: Jayashree Govind)

Bees on flower
Water lilies abuzz with bees (Pic: Jayashree Govind)

Nesting box
Nesting box in water (Pic: Nupur Jain)

Nesting box occupied by squirrel
Nesting box occupied by squirrel (Pic: Ramu) 

It does indeed take a community to protect and nurture not just a lake but all natural resources. Wherever we are, let's do our bit to make the world a better place for our children to grow and flourish. Let them not have to fight the battles that we should have fought to make life on earth easier, cleaner, greener. 

Let's celebrate each day as Earth Day! 

Greetings to all. 
PNLIT team

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Upcoming evening of folk music

IME and PNLIT invite you to a mesmerizing evening of music at Puttenahalli Lake, where reputed international folk singer Savithakka will treat us to a selection of stirring Kannada folk ditties in her signature earthy voice, against the backdrop of the lake’s calming waters and the setting sun.

Savithakka will be accompanied by keyboardist and harmonium player Sri Ganesh Prasad and tabla player Sri Puttaraju Gonahalu.

Folk music Savithakka

Date: Sunday, 24th April 2022
Time: 4.30 p.m.
Venue: Puttenahalli Lake
Free walk in event with no registration needed.
All are welcome!


Folklore concert


About Savithakka

Born in Bengaluru Savithakka started learning at a tender age under the tutelage of her mother, a well-known singer smt. Neelambike. Savitha further honed her talents by training with senior mentors in the field of classical music, including Carnatic vocalist Ratna Shivashankar, and Hindustani vocalists Pandit. V. M. Nagaraj and Pandit. Dattatreya Joshi. She furthered her training in Sugama Sangeetha under the guidance of Sri M S Kamath and acclaimed music composer and sought-after mandolin master Sri N. S. Prasad.

Realizing the uniqueness in her voice, a base tonal quality that sets her apart from other singers, Savithakka began to carve a niche for herself by rendering folk music, Tatva pada, Bhakti Geete, Bhava Geete, in her own unique style.

As a folk singer, she has received recognition from All India Radio & Doordarshan. She has rendered her voice to the popular music album `Sharanu Janapada’ produced by lahari group, featuring authentic Kannada folk songs. Savithakka has sung for over 100 audio cassettes. As a contestant on the popular reality show, Kannada Kogile, she won the hearts of Kannadigas.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Upcoming Nature Walk by the Indian Music Experience (IME) on 23-April-2022

 A walk in nature makes us admire the creation and often arouses our curiosity. Let us understand and uncover the etymology of bird names in a scientific yet different way by walking in and around Puttenahalli Lake.


This nature walk will raise questions and encourage healthy conversation that will increase our knowledge about birds from a larger perspective.

Date: 23rd April
Timings: 4:30pm
Fee: INR 150

Kindly register early as limited seats are available.



Friday, April 8, 2022

'Birds and Cities' a webinar series by IME

The Indian Music Experience (IME) Museum is presenting ‘Birdsong,’ their annual exhibition from April 1, 2022 onwards for the next 4 months.

We are happy to share that PNLIT is one of the partners in this exhibition. Watch out this space for interesting events we are planning with IME at the lake.

Meanwhile, this Saturday do listen to Garima Bhatia , a well-known birder and photographer based in Bangalore in the new webinar series titled 'Birds and Cities'.

Event Details :

Birds are everywhere, in every habitat imaginable, but more importantly they are also present in our cities and around our homes, enriching our lives with their beautiful colours and enchanting songs.
'Birds and Cities' is a new webinar series by the Indian Music Experience Museum designed to take a closer look at the lives of our avian neighbours.
For the first session Garima Bhatia (birder, photographer and head of Early Bird) will introduce us to the beauty of birds that exist outside our balconies! This audio-visual experience is brought to you in partnership with Early Bird
Date: 9th April 2022
Timings: 10:30 am
Platform: Zoom

Thursday, March 31, 2022

On PNLIT fund drive

We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the support you have extended to our Puttenahalli Puttakere especially in the last two months. We are happy, and relieved, to tell you that your contributions will enable us to meet our lake maintenance expenses for 2022-23 if not to execute the pipeline project.  It would be great if you can get us a CSR grant to do this. 

To all - You are welcome to make a contribution to PNLIT at any time. Combine it if you will, with your wedding anniversary or your child's birthday.  What better, more lasting, gift can there be than a tree? We have enough and more (in 76 species!) for you to adopt. 

Even otherwise, come over to see the trees (and the birds, the butterflies, terrapin, etc. etc.). With sincere thanks to all. 

Here are a few sample boards 





Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Bird watch update - Mother duck, stilts, storks!

This seems to be a good season for birds. Several lake groups have reported sighting flocks of Pelicans and Storks. Our Puttakere is too small for such big species and numbers. Nevertheless, we are delighted to tell you that for the first time a Spot-billed duck laid eggs and hatched them at the lake! And to think we had no clue till last week when our gardeners sent photos and videos of the mother duck tagged by eight little fluffy balls! 

Spot-billed duck with chicks

Spot-billed duck and ducklings 
Pic: Muktha Baliga, 29-Mar-2022

When the lake was closed due to the pandemic last year, the chicks of the White-breasted waterhen used to wander off on their own, much to the obvious panic of the mother.  

White breasted waterhen with chicks

White-breasted waterhen chicks
Pic: Ramu, 22-Oct-2021

These little ducklings are more obedient. They swim behind their mother in a line, looking pretty much like the wavy tail of a kite.  Only when she stops, do they scatter but never too far. In spite of this, two fell prey to a Brahminy kite who herself has a chick to feed. Such is the way of nature. We can only be observers. However, we plan to make the lake safer by planting more reeds where the duck (and other species) can nest, hatch and protect their young ones. As of now, there are six ducklings left. Heartbreaking. 

On a happier note, we have had at least seven Painted storks at one time, four Black-winged stilts, Wood and Green Sandpipers. These migratory birds are still around and blending well with the resident ones. 

Black-winged stilt 
Pic.: Madhurima Das, 27-Mar-2022

Do visit the lake, see the birds and share their photographs. Who knows, you may get to see a visitor that we missed or has just arrived? 

To know more about the birds spotted at the lake, please see the Puttakere hotspot on eBird here.


- Usha Rajagopalan


Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Event Report of the musical evening organized by PNLIT and South City Karaoke Club March-2022

After a two-year long hiatus, our Puttakere came alive with music. We resumed our activities at the lake with a tribute to the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. This event held on yesterday (13th March) had singers from the neighbourhood of Puttenahalli Lake such as South City, Brigade Millennium and V S Cozy Apartments, 24th Main coming together to give a memorable performance.

The event which began with the prayer 'Ae Malik Tere Bande Hum' had the audience humming along with the talented artists who presented Lataji’s evergreen songs in Hindi of course but also in Bengali and Tamil. Rendering in flute by Mr. Bala and Mr. Raghavendra Shanbhag’s whistling added depth and enriched the programme.

While Jayashree Govind and Srinivasan Venkataraman (‘Sawan ka mahina’) transported the audience to the classic Nutan and Sunil Dutt starrer, Preeti Kadni and Harsha Anand sang the melodious ‘Kora kagaz tha ye man mera.’ Jayashree Govind’s narration of how Kamal Hasan got Lata Mangeshkar – SPB’s duet song in his Tamil film made the presentation of 'Valai osai kalakala' by Siva Columbus and Priya Ramakrishnan even more interesting. These duets had South City singers teaming up with co-artists from Brigade Millennium.

‘Sagar kinare’ sung by Renu Sadasivan and S. Vijay and Priya Ramakrishnan’s Bengali song ‘Ja re ud ja re panchhi’ seemed particularly suited to the ambience of the venue with Puttenahalli Lake looking fresh and clean with birds in the water and overhead, the leaves of the trees fluttering in the breeze.  

Roli Saraswat introduced the singers with interesting trivia about the composition and sang the classic 'Yeh zindagi usiki hai' beautifully. One of the highlights of the event was a medley of Lata Mangeshkar songs from 1949-2009. A fine selection, well sung by six lady members of the South City Karaoke Club. The finale number 'Ae mere watan ke logo' was not just a truly fitting tribute to the Nightingale of India but a reminder to us all of how much we owe to those brave souls protecting our country and us, the people.

In her brief talk, Usha Rajagopalan from PNLIT thanked the BBMP and BWSSB for rescuing the lake from sewage influx and bringing it to this pristine state. This was made possible by the constant follow-up of the trustees with the government departments. She called upon the 100 odd residents who had come for the event to extend their support to the lake as well. Sapana Rawat welcomed the artists and the audience.

Here are some moments from the event taken by various residents.
















(Report inputs provided by Usha Rajagopalan and Vijaya Balasubramanian)

-Sapana, PNLIT Events Coordinator

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Nature Walk at Puttenahalli Lake

We are delighted to tell you that Mr. Samuel John and Ms. Chetana Purushotham, co-founders of https://www.spidersandthesea.com/ will be conducting a nature walk for beginners at our Puttakere on 26th and 27th March 2022. 

This is part of their series called Urban Nature Walk to make people aware of the wonderful natural treasures in our city. In this instance, in our own neighbourhood lake!

Duration of the walk, participation fee and contact details are given in the poster below. Please note that they will take only 10 participants each day on a first come first served basis. Avoid disappointment by booking your place early!



Monday, March 7, 2022

Homage to Mr. Bhoja Shetty, IFS (retd)

Usha Rajagopalan pays homage to a friend of PNLIT 

A fallen flower on the pathway at the lake stopped me short two days ago. I looked up at the tree and saw one big cluster of flowers way above and buds a little lower. Our mentor Mr. Bhoja Shetty who had retired as the Chief Conservator of Forests in Tamil Nadu used to say that a proper identification of a plant would only be made from a flower. I knew exactly what this orange specimen shaped like a parrot's beak was. In fact, for the last few summers my friends and I had searched in vain for the flowers among the big leaves. When it did flower, it came as a shock, too good to be true. To be doubly sure, I sent the photograph below to a botanist who confirmed that it was indeed the celebrated Flame of the Forest (Butea  monosperma). 

Flame of the forest flower
The first flower of the Flame of the Forest, 5 Mar. 2022

I shared the excitement with other tree lovers, my family and friends to whom the Palash in flower meant the arrival of spring. Mr. Bhoja Shetty now lived in Pollachi so I decided to send him a print of the photograph by post. This was not to be. Yesterday morning I got to know that he had passed away. He would have been 100 years old in Sept. 2022.

I had had the good fortune to meet Mr. Bhoja Shetty almost soon after I settled in South City in 2006. My father who had been in the IFS himself had died a few months earlier so when I got to know that Mr. Bhoja Shetty had retired from the forest service, I went over and introduced myself. I was delighted to find out that they were of the same age, belonged to the same batch, and undergone training in Dehra Dun though they hadn’t known each other. They looked similar too - tall, lean, and active. 

When the rejuvenation of Puttenahalli Lake was underway I would update him often and seek his advice on the trees we could plant around the periphery. On 16th Sept 2010, he planted a Peepal tree in the viewing deck cupping the ball of roots packed in soil in both hands. 


Mr Bhoja Shetty

Mr. Bhoja Shetty planting the Peepal tree sapling. 16 Sept 2010
Also seen Mr. Vedanthan (R), Mr. N Ravi (L) from South City and Ms. Padmini (B), Brigade Millennium


We lavished care of the tree and installed benches around so that someday people would get to sit and listen to the rustling leaves. Barely a year later, on 11th Oct. 2011, a political leader got the tree chopped down(Read about it in this link).


In great anger and anguish, I narrated the incident to Mr. Shetty who merely smiled as if shrugging it off. He saw the replacement, a Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo, Indian Rosewood) and extolled its value as a timber wood. 


Mr. Bhoja Shetty beside the Indian Rosewood

Mr. Bhoja Shetty beside the Indian Rosewood, 10 April 2013


I couldn’t forget as easily and a few years later got Mr. Shetty to plant a white silk cotton tree in the safer confines of the South City complex.

 

In June 2020, we celebrated the 10th year of our trust, PNLIT. As a small measure of our gratitude to the large number of people who had helped us on the way, and continue to do so, we invited a few well-wishers to adopt a tree of their choice. By then Mr. Bhoja Shetty was in the loving care of his relatives in Pollachi. We did not give him a choice. Instead, along with a letter thanking him for all the help he had given us, we sent him a photograph of a Peepal tree growing lush by the water side. On it were the name boards of the species and of its adopter, Mr. Bhoja Shetty, IFS (retd). 


The Peepal in Mr. Shetty's name, 7 Mar 2022
The Peepal in Mr. Shetty's name, 7 Mar 2022