PNLIT is ten

Ten years ago on this day, four people were waiting at the sub-registrar’s office in JP Nagar to get a trust deed registered. Along with them, two others, who were to sign as witnesses. Usha, Prasanna and OP Ramaswamy (who I pulled in just that morning), Sripriya and Vardhana, along with me.

We were well prepared. I had drafted the trust deed myself with inputs from others (incl Ashwin Mahesh who was instrumental in the formation of PNLIT), and had it checked by a lawyer. I also made a visit to the sub-registrar’s office a couple of days earlier to get the document reviewed by the office clerks. Carefully printed it at home, and took it along with all the papers that the clerks had told us to bring. Despite all this, given the reputation that the sub-registrar offices have, it would be wrong to say that we were not worried about being put in an uncomfortable spot at some stage. It took but an hour or so. We were done… mugshots, signatures and all, and with the satisfaction that it was a “clean” effort. Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) was born! In no time, we had decided on a logo, made a facebook page and started building a website; opened a bank account, applied for PAN and started doing whatever was necessary for tax exemption purposes.

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Birds seen in Europe (Part 5)

Where there is the sea, there will be gulls. After all, the sea is what a gull calls home. Looking back, we did spend much of our vacation close to water, so it was natural to have spotted gulls in almost every city that we visited.

Common Gull

Unlike what the name suggests, the Common Gull was not really everywhere. Characterised by a red eye-ring, we first spotted it at Roskilde, Denmark, atop one of the houses. While on the boat from Flam to Gudvangen on Naeroyfjord (one of Norway’s scenic fjords) however, there were many of them following us, looking out for scraps of food. Continue reading

The Rain Trees of Nanjappa Circle

There are three of them. Survivors among the many that probably marked the periphery of Akkithimanahalli Tank in Richmond Town. The oldest living natives from the locality, who are closing in on a century, remember these rain trees (Albizia saman/ Samanea saman) of their growing years, not much different from the way they are today. So it would be safe to assume that these giants at the Rhenius Street-Langford Road junction at Nanjappa Circle (where a circle does not actually now exist) could have been planted more than 150 years ago.

The rain tree is not really “Indian”, but originally from Latin/ Central America. Still, it has grown to become an intrinsic part of Bangalore’s heritage. It is called Bhagaya mara in Kannada. Continue reading

How to revive your neighbourhood lake

Your neighbourhood lake where your mother and her siblings went swimming and fishing is now a multi-storied office complex with a sports stadium next to it. You yourself can remember the place as one where you sailed your little paper boats and from where you excitedly brought home guppies and tadpoles to put into your house pond. Thankfully, there is still some untouched space there – a playground with a few old trees, where boys and girls can play cricket, kick around footballs or just sit and talk. Yes, I’m reminiscing about the Akkithimanahalli “Mud Tank” in Richmond Town, which we let ourselves lose. Continue reading

Ganeshas and lakes

Eco-Ganesha kai hote? (What is Eco-Ganesha?) For sixty year old Savitri, who has lived all her life in a village in Maharashtra, the only Ganeshas she knows are the ones they make with the soil from the beds (and surroundings) of lakes and ponds in her village. Her first time in the city, Savitri is astounded by the size and the variety of Ganeshas she sees in the shops and Eco-Ganesha is a word that has got fixed in her memory forever.

Like many proud Marathas, Savitri says that the Ganesha festival itself originated during her ancestor Shivaji’s time, or so her grandmother told her. She is happy that the festival is celebrated so grandly in the city, but little does she know that many city dwellers are trying to emulate her and her village mates today.

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Spark the Rise, your vote counts!

PNLIT, is a not-for profit charitable trust that Usha, Prasanna, OPR and I started in Bangalore in June 2010. The trust is registered under the Indian Trust Act and we have already received Income Tax 80G exemption for donors. We presently maintain a 13-acre lake called Puttenahalli Lake, in JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore.

Our project “PNLIT – nurturing Puttenahalli Lake back to its pristine glory” has been cleared as an entry in Mahindra Spark the Rise (Round 4) – a programme that recognises ‘sparks’ and gives them a chance to win grants.

What is Spark the Rise?

“You have the passion. You have the ideas. You thrive on innovation. And you know what it takes to fulfill the real needs that’ll improve the life of Indians. So what’s stopping you? Time to take action. Time to Spark the Rise.”