I love the sight of lakes, the natural contours of its shoreline surrounded by lush green trees and hills. I enjoyed the view of such a lake from an apartment in Puna. It was refreshing just to look out the window. Now in Bangalore I pass by a lake each day as I travel to and fro my work place. I must be so happy? Its just next to the road I travel really , but alas I cant see it!! I can glimpse portions of it if I am travelling by bus! The reason is that it is fenced, protected and there is a charge to visit it. Good thing, (considering the encroachment and deliberate filling of lakes that has been the fate of many of Bangalore's lakes), except that I can’t enjoy even the sight of it. Maybe, if fencing was unavoidable, a wired fence instead of cemented one or…well, stupid as it may seem but toughened glass fence would have been good so that people passing by could enjoy a pleasant sight to which they have every right. Am I being irrational? Maybe I should just visit the lake to enjoy it rather than cribbing that I can’t see it from the road. Well even inside, what with the construction next to it I really cant see it as a natural lake. With man having cornered lakes with constructions around it to make which allow us to sit by its side on chairs over a platform ... I really need imagination to see it as a natural lake and not a man made reservoir!(actually this lake was reduced to a puddle around seven years back due to encroachment and we have to thank fellowmen for salvaging it and protecting it, though I still believe that it should have been made to look more natural) Cant all these businesses go on but still retain the natural features around the lake to allow us to relish its full natural glory. Cant spare precious space for that I guess?
The other day I had to wait in front of a school for 20 minutues. There was a flyover work going on right in front. It was noon and I didn’t have an umbrella. I looked to the right and left for nature’s umbrellas, the trees but there were none. I was standing on the cement paving outside the school. I imagined trees being cut to pave the area in front of the school. Was it necessary to pave here? Who am I to decide it was not. Maybe it was necessary, but still ‘they’ could have paved round the trees leaving some trees for people who sometimes have to wait there in the sun? It used to be done like that in many other parts of bangalore as can be witnessed, trees standing inside concrete pavings...
An autowala who once drove me back from work, told me that when he was a kid, the area was lush with trees and the temperature never usually exceeded 20 degree. It was only after IT and the highway coming up that the temperature has been taking the upside as the trees were compromised. Well I enjoy the comforts of the highway and the accessibility but I enjoy trees and shade and 'even temperatures' too. Cant they coexist?
I had thought that it is population that is eating up the possibilities of coexistence of man and nature but I am thinking differently now. We make space and time for whatever we really value in life by compromising on things we don’t value as much. It is our misplaced priorities that are behind the mismanagement.
We value material comforts more than we value aesthetic comforts. If we had prioritized aesthetic comforts we would have thought twice and avoided the placing of structures that are currently in the vicinity of the lake and built them with the objective not to lose the pristine look of the lake. If we had valued the comfort of a tree we would have avoided our need of claiming land by paving it. Is the damage irreversible? Well, we give more priority to money, if it hadn't been so then breaking down some structures and rearranging everything so that the lake looks natural and breaking up some of the paving so a tree can some day be accessed after every few meters.. wouldnt have been a far fetched thought. On the positive side though, I must say that on my way to work there is one other lake which I can view from a flyover and it has been spared its pristine look...thankfully.
A lake to look at and a tree to stand under, if not for these little things, what really is life for?