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