It is 4:15 a.m. and this is the scene at the gates of the Samta Nagar Post Office in Kandivali East, Mumbai. Men (mostly) just hanging around on the street, doing pretty much nothing. Chances are, they’ve done this before, but not early enough… the reason for this repeat visit.
As I approach the group, Hukam Singh greets me. We were among the unlucky ones, not in the “first 20” of the previous morning. “Madam ka naam lick do bhai… atara” (write madam’s name brother… eighteen), said one. Yeah! I was in the first 20.
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The Nagarajan house on Sarakki Main Road, JP Nagar 1st Phase, Bangalore looks just like any other house we commonly see in Bangalore. Built in 1981, on a 60 ft x 40 ft site, the single storey house was, at that time, at the southern most end of Bangalore city limits.
While building the house, no provision was made for rain water harvesting (RWH). “We built the house as economically as we could. I was working in HAL Hospital (located near the HAL Bangalore Airport at that time) so we did not need to worry about accommodation as we had the doctors’ quarters, but we wanted to build a house where we could live after my retirement. I took loans to buy the site and build the house.”, said Dr Nagarajan. The rain water from the roof and compound flowed off into the storm water drains which in turn flowed into the main canals and finally into the lakes of the vicinity. “Many people dig wells before construction of their houses, but we didn’t spend that extra amount on a well either.”, said Dr Nagarajan. Continue reading →
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