BENGALURU: Residents of JP Nagar rung in Saturday evening by celebrating at the beautiful Puttenahalli Lake. Aptly called Kere Habba, the one-day festival brings together communities around lakes to participate in fun and games, all the while creating awareness about lakes.
“When I first shifted to JP Nagar, Puttenahalli Lake was in a bad shape. It was filled with weeds and was dying,” said Usha Rajagopalan. Usha is the chairperson of Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT), the organisation responsible for the revival and maintenance of the lake.
“Kere Habba is a way to show people that a lake is not just a landmark but is very necessary for an area and especially the city,” said Usha.
The initiative is the brainchild of Namma Bengaluru Foundation, which held the first ever Kere Habba at Kaikondrahalli Lake on Sarjapur Road. “We have forgotten that lakes are a place to rejuvenate and inspire our minds. Most lakes in the city have turned into dump yards, sewage areas and are dying under debris. We need to reverse this,” said Sridhar P of the foundation. Namma Bengaluru, along with India Water Portal, is organising the Kere Habba at various lakes in the city.
The Habba, which was attended by around 300 people, saw children learning about drip irrigation, making paper kites and taking part in planting of saplings. Many photographers were also present, clicking away at the array of birds that visit the lake. “We have spotted more than 60 species of birds at this lake. Many of them are rare for an urban settlement,” said S K Srinivas, a resident who has been bird watching for years.
Many adults took the opportunity to teach their children about the games of a bygone era. “I grew up in a small town and all the boys in the neighbourhood used to participate in the tyre race. Who won would get to bat first at the cricket match. My son has no idea what a tyre race is. I am teaching him that today,” said Vishnu.
Children were seen participating in drumming sessions, which quickly turned into a noise-making session, with nobody stopping them. “A lake is a great place for parents and children to come and strengthen their bond. Nowadays with gated communities everybody is just busy with work, movies or TV. Such initiatives will get people out of their homes,” said Meena, a resident.