The Rang De Bangalore Chapter conducted a ‘A Walk with a Changemaker’ with Ms. Usha Rajagopalan on 23rd June, 2013 during which she shared her story, the challenges faced and the hardships they overcame for the successes of the project.
By Usha Rajagopalan, Board of Trustees, Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT)
TheBangalore Chapter of Rang De organized a "Walk with a Changemaker" around Puttenahalli Lake with me representing PNLIT. Around 35 people from across the city and the neighbourhood assembled for the walk which began at 11 AM and ended at 12.30 PM. I took them through the PNLIT journey from the early "save the lake" days to now being recognized as a "Change Maker." This has been a journey in which we've been so ably supported by all our donors and volunteers. Two highlights about the walk will stay in my mind for a long time.
We had put up a small photographic exhibition showing the plight of vanishing lakes in the city; of Puttenahalli lake before, during and after restoration and of the rich aquatic life it supports. This attracted attention not only of the participants but also several others who saw the photographs and left. One man however, tall, bearded, with a towel tied around his salt and pepper hair stayed on while I made the presentation.
Talking about the effort to fill the lake with rain water, I went closer to the grill where the man stood, to show the group the newly installed diversion channel. I thought he would leave at least then but no, he didn't. Instead he heard the narration and began walking with us. Finally, he said in Kannada, "Though you were speaking in English, I could follow a little. You were talking about clearing the lake. Yes, it does need to be kept clean." Without waiting for a response, he walked away. This is an affirmation that I will cherish but how I wish my fluency in Kannada was better!
Another memorable moment was with Sowmya and her daughter, among the first people to reach the lake. The girl of about 7 years was clearly delighted to be there. Sowmya explained that her daughter had visited the lake in a trip organized by her play school a couple of years ago or so. Since then, every time she went past the lake, she had insisted on her parents stopping the car and bringing her inside. She validates our belief in promoting conservation through children.
An appeal especially to parents living in the vicinity - please bring your children to lake and introduce them to Nature. It is a lesson they will treasure for life.