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Sunday perfectly spent - Clean up Bangalore - Putenahalli Lake

Waking up at 4:30 am, traveling to one of the corners of the city aka Yelahanka and cleaning up a lake do not sound like the perfect Sunday plan, right? But it was definitely one of the craziest and funniest Sundays of my life. I am sure the other 37 BTCians would agree with me.
The fun began at 7 am when I got off the bus at ‘Putenahalli’ stop and asked a person to give me the directions to the lake. He very confidently replied ‘lake?? lake illa, no lake this place, madam!’.
As I stood there scratching my head, I spotted another confused soul –Silu, whom I had met earlier in one of the treks. We both reassured ourselves that we are very close to the lake and after getting directions from Viru (the founder/organizer of this event) we finally reached the destination. 
This time, apart from BTC, few other organizations were also involved like Chennai Trekking Club [CTC], Cognizant, Prayukti etc. The usual chit chat had begun. The most popular topics for discussion were ‘how bad the condition of the lake is’ followed by ‘what refreshments would be served after the clean up’!
I was a little curious to have a look at the ‘lake’ which we were supposed to clean up, but it was apparently on the other side. On asking Viru, he happily reassured me that it’s full of ‘subhe-subhe-log-jo-karte-hain’!   
At around 7:30-ish the event started. The organizers informed us about the past glory, the present condition and the future plans. During the 1970’s the lake used to be a visual treat for bird watchers as migratory species from all over the world used to visit the lake. In 2014, not only the birds, but the entire lake has vanished (which we later found out). The agenda of the day was to clean up the garbage.
All the organizations were allotted separate areas to clean up. Viru further sub-divided BTC into 6 groups. Each group was further categorized into 3 pairs, who were to collect light plastic, heavy plastic and I don’t remember the third category. We all were given bright yellow coloured gloves. At around 8 am, Viru and his battalion marched toward the battlefield!
We soon found out that there was no lake at all. It was more like a dirty (yet green) park. The initial few minutes were full of ‘eeews’, ‘yukks’ and ‘aiyooos’. But, time heals everything.
We stopped hesitating and started doing what we were supposed to. Viru and I were collecting light plastics which were scattered everywhere. It was not as bad as we thought it would be. Everybody gave their best. Somewhere deep down, it felt really good to know that we were serving nature and trying our best to contribute to the society. It motivated us to overlook the shit lying in front of us!
But as you know, BTC is synonymous to crazy fun. Eventually people started talking and even singing! I don’t recall the name but there was an extremely good singer among us. He even sang ‘didi tera dewar deewana!’. It goes without saying that ‘shit’ jokes were the most popular. I heard somebody calling it ‘prasad’! The garbage suddenly did not matter anymore. 38 pumped up BTCians were killing it together!
Among the 38 of us, the ‘joote-wale’ guys were in high demand as the place was full of abandoned shoes. Apart from regular plastic covers, wrappers and shit, we came across leather jackets, trousers and even a commode!!!!! 
In an hour or so, the place looked way cleaner. The battalion moved to the upper parts of the battle field, adjacent to the main road. People were using their 2nd or 3rd garbage bag by this time! And the best part was, everybody was actually having fun!!
After another hour the so-called lake looked spotlessly clean as there was no garbage visible. Most of the girls, including me eventually retired. However, the guys were in no mood to stop. They were standing right on top of the garbage dump, cracking jokes, discussing Modi government and happily filling up their garbage bags. 
Finally the organizers informed that there were no bags left! Only then the BTC men called it a day. 
After washing our hands for at least 5 times, we moved towards the refreshment table. Bananas and biscuits had never tasted so heavenly! It was followed by a general thank you session and a BTC introduction/feedback session. Every one of us was grateful to BTC for giving us an opportunity to contribute to society in some way or other. It made us realize two things. Firstly, throwing waste at random places could be extremely detrimental to environment (an entire lake has just vanished!) Secondly, we do not think about the people whose work is to clean these garbage dumps every day. Even after wearing gloves we felt sick at times. Just imagine what these people go through every single day!
Even though we were covered in dirt and filth from head to toe, something felt different inside. I do not about others, but I felt like I have done something substantial, and it was a good feeling! 
Complaining about the weather, the garbage, traffic is very easy. We do it every single day. Instead, if we take the initiative ourselves and try to find a solution instead of pointing out the problem, the world would probably be better place. As Mahatma Gandhi had said, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’.

Written By        : Sreemoyee
Organized By    : VIrander Sirohi
Date of event    : 8th June 2014
Members Count : 38
Place                : Yelahanka
Pictures            : BTC FB Page
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