Why I Do What I Do

The end is just around the corner…

“Is Fate getting what you deserve, or deserving what you get?”

― Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts

I have wanted to be a writer from childhood. Even at nine or ten I knew that I would have to have a remunerative day job. I kept this dream and my writing to myself till a casual challenge from my husband propelled me to write an article and send it out. Luckily, I didn’t have to tell him, ‘Well, at least I tried’ because The Times of India published it within just a few days. Nukkad Mondays appeared on 28 May 1986, in the Mid-week Montage section of the local Ahmedabad edition.

I was in a high pressure job as Assistant Executive to the then Chairman, National Dairy Development Board, Dr. Verghese Kurien. My daughter, Aparna, 20 months old was in the day care of a kind neighbour, ‘Ajji’ (grandmother). I had a part time helper to clean the utensils and to sweep and mop the house. My days started early and ended late. Dr. Kurien worked on weekends as well and so did I. Nukkad Mondays kindled a spark that I didn’t want to douse.

I snatched moments from my 30 minute lunch break at office to write more articles and the TOI, bless the editor, carried each with flattering promptitude. The writing bug became stronger to the extent that I resigned from the Dairy Board to become a stay at home mother, home maker and writer. The journey subsequently was definitely not smooth but I rode out the bumps and all. Just when it seemed that I could  finally become a full-time writer and spend the rest of my life honing my skill, I shifted residence to Bengaluru in 2006 to an apartment which overlooked a near dry lake on the verge of extinction. It had pools of water, sewage perhaps, piles of trash which were often set on fire. Lorries regularly dumped construction debris in the lake basin. People living in the slum pushed these further in and built new houses.

After battling with my conscience, I conceded defeat and mooted a campaign in late 2008 to get the civic administration, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to rejuvenate the Puttenahalli Lake in my locality, J.P. Nagar 7th Phase, Bengaluru. Thus began an incredible phase in which I gained a new passion and identity as a lake conservationist.

The view which changed my life

Puttenahalli Lake, July 2009

The view I see now

Puttenahalli Lake, April 2019

Photo Credit: Madhurima Das

Puttenahalli Lake, Sept. 2021

Photo Credit: Nupur Jain

Published by Usha Rajagopalan ("Lakeika")

I am a writer, translator and lake conservationist based in Bengaluru, India.

10 thoughts on “Why I Do What I Do

  1. Jodi Picoult would not have penned those lines if he had read your blog. Had he read it, he would have written “”Passion combined with
    perseverance will get you what you deserve “

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is all destined Ushaji. Your experience with Dr. Kurien possibly gave you the grit and determination to carry out inspite of all the odds. Meanwhile, your interest to write, gave you the ability to communicate and connect with multiple people and start a movement. All these experiences big or small helped shape the PNLT movement. And am sure, many more to come..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful transformation from a dumping yard to a pristine lake. But passion and perseverance coupled with the enormity of time and effort put in to bring about this change is immeasurable.
    Thanks for giving up work in Milk Federation and taking up Lake Rejuvenation.
    Kudos.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your relentless grit in bringing the lake alive has brought in many enthusiasts among you in rejuvenating the lake. You had a basic instinct of getting the things done and working with such great man like Dr Kurien “white revolutionist” would have added in your resolve in rejuvenating the lake.
    Please continue your journey in bringing writer in you

    Liked by 1 person

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