Keep off the grass

Some people like grass. I mean, the kind that is greener on the other side of the fence.

Lawns are a matter of great pride in many residential layouts. “House with a lawn” is a sort of status symbol. There are people who claim to have bought flats in a particular apartment complex because of the beautiful lawns that they saw in the marketing brochures. Maybe the green carpet gives the feeling of being at the golf course. So, it is not surprising that they go up in arms if the children are found running around or sitting on the grass. A few weeks ago, I saw this complaint e-mail about how the gardeners were planting shrubs on a part of the lawn to “reduce their maintenance work”.

Lawns
Grass is being replaced by shrubs
Continue reading

Recycling flowers for Holi

With the festival of Holi a fortnight away, the balloon battles had begun. These days, they’re not balloons but small Made-in-China plastic packets filled with water. Not even the COVID-19 is a deterrent. Fill, twirl, knot, aim and throw with all your might to hit the target with enough force so that the balloon bursts on impact. It’s a lot of fun, but if executed well, it could be a most painful sting that could last a while. And if the balloon lands on an unintended target, well, God save everyone!

The children of Riviera Tower and Alica Nagar (in Lokhandwala Township, Kandivali East) are separated by a weld-mesh fence that provided just the right battleground. Things were getting out of hand. Balloons were confiscated and there were firm orders to call a truce. With this entertainment snatched away, the adults at Riviera were looking for something productive that could engage the children.

Continue reading

Just another Holi day

For people like me, brought up in the “south” in a southern populated neighbourhood, Holi is just another day. In our school days in Bangalore, Holi was a working day, so the question of colouring each other never did arise. At best it was a smattering of haldi and kum kum on the forehead. Only those children from the traditional “north”, for whom it was a big celebration, would miss school, and when they returned we would be awe struck by their pink and purple faces.

These days, in an effort to save myself from what I find a totally unnecessary and wasteful mess, it is a day when I don’t need to step out of the doors of my home. It is not that I am anti-Holi. Just anti-the-way-Holi-is-celebrated-today. Several days before the actual day, one finds children “having fun”, filling up plastic packets with water and throwing them at each other. By the time Holi actually arrives, we’ve generated thousands of plastic bags, and spent thousands of litres of water, when people around the world are fighting to reduce garbage and are desperate for water.

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-02 at 12.27.52 PM

Continue reading

Dusk at Puttenahalli Lake

A visit to Bangalore is incomplete without a visit to the JP Nagar Puttenahalli Lake. This Diwali holiday, it was late evening, and as I rushed down the Brigade Millennium Avenue alone, I was happy to bump into one of my former neighbours, Meena, who said it was a while since she visited the lake. We went together, chatting about our children, and made it to the lake just before daylight vanished.

A splash of yellow Coreopsis flowers against the blue tranquil waters make a pretty picture indeed! It was almost a year since my last visit. Last year too there was a lot of water, so the lake itself did not look different. But this year the trees looked much bigger, washed clean, greener and more lush.

Lake 1 Continue reading

Sustainable water solutions

About 38 years ago, way back in 1974, there was no “no water day” for Bangalore houses. Corporation water was released to houses every day. “Water timings” was also unheard of. Corporation water flowed in the taps through the day, so much so that many houses had taps connected to an overhead water storage tank only as a back-up. And water used to fill up in the overhead tank on its own, because the pressure of the water in the pipes was sufficient to help the water“reach its own level”. This was the time when Bangalore city had just started receiving Cauvery water. Continue reading

Water problems: What architects-builders can do

When we talk of water supply, water shortage, water conservation and everything else WATER in Bangalore homes, there are generally three subjects of focus:

– The water consumer – you, me and everything else that needs water
– The water supplier – Government, BWSSB, water tankers, bottled water agents
– The water source – Cauvery river, lakes, wells, borewells, rain.

As end consumers, much of the onus on saving water is on individuals. 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.

Continue reading

Retrofitting RWH in houses

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