Part 2 – Story Of the Lake – HEAVEN!
Thank u all for the overwhelming response and liking you have exhibited for a bit on Our Vidyaranyapura. All your suggestions are being taken care and I am digging out the old photos.. Some of my friends have given me an idea of bringing out these in book form. Many episodes concerning this place and people (who had impressed me) have been published in Humour Columns of Kannada Papers mainly as political satires in a very lighter vein-& Some of them are relevant even today and I am planning to place them before you. Some of the information which are scribbled here may be having other faces also! Also when I record these reminiscences I do not declare that I do not have any ill feelings on any individual or any group !
Story of the Lake… HEAVEN..
The present park in between Fifth Block and Second Block of BEL Layout was originally a pond with water at all the time-whether summer or rainy. During Rains the boundary of the pond would extend to the adjoining roads. You could see cattle and other animals drinking the water here. Early mornings and evening time a good number of cranes, Ducks and birds of different varieties will sit around the lake in a very disciplined way as if they are having a round table conference or a family get together. Different variety of birds would be there. Sometimes this spot reminded me of Kokkare Bellur where a bird Sanctuary exists and is famous. Sometimes we used to chase people who came here for hunting-their aim being birds!
When I first visited my site, this scene stole me in such a way that I decided to have my residence here then and there itself! There was a small path from second block to fifth block through this lake and there was three to four chappadis-stone slabs- on some vertical pillars for easy pass through, work done by a good human. This remained for long time. There was no compound wall and the lake was accessible from all the sides. One more small pond existed after the main road(now behind Ganesha Temple). In the left side of the lake one ERI- Kj (Dinne-,¢uÉÚ, the area surrounding the lake where they put heaps of earth to store the water) was existing. On the ERI one resting platform was there. Resting platforms are those very common in villages and Village Bus stands where a stone of 6/3 is placed horizontally on two imbedded vertical pillars and this is helping people who used to carry heavy loads on their heads to rest them there and have rest for the individual!
Some half a dozen Toddy trees (Eeachalu Mara ) were there and during season it will have bunches and bunches of fruits. Most probably these were used by then workers for extraction of Toddy(Remember-Brahma ninge jodisthini enda muttida kainaaa? Eachala henda-daaru..). One such tree still exists in the corner on way to Venkateshwara Temple. One more Eeachalumara was at HMT layout and this Bus stop was land marked as Eeachalu Mara Stop ! Mornings and evenings were filled with humming’s of various kinds of birds. I still remember a small bird of about 2 Inches creating a loving sound ! All round the lake a large plantation of various forest trees were existed and some of them are still there. Slowly other layouts Viz HMT,NTI etc took shape and the vast empty land around these layouts attracted many. Private layout started to take shape around late 80s.
In the early years we used to get fresh vegetables and milk from Thindlu, Kodige halli,Sanjivini Nagara… and surrounding villages from the farmers who had agricultural fields in and around this area. Vast fields could be seen if you just cross the Thindlu circle. On way to Thindlu a small channel was flowing and in rainy season we will take a round route as the roads were muddy and also sticky. Also almost every house had a small garden in his area and varieties of vegetables and fruits were grown by the individuals in a small quantity. We had the pleasure of distributing Varieties of Greens-Soppu,Gauva,Seethaphala, Dalimbe,Huruli Kayi,Badane Kayi,Tomoto,Avare Kayi.. etc which we had grown in our back yards to our kiths who were at the city and our neighbors!
The nearest entertainment was BEL Kalakshetra and HMT Auditorium on city side and there was two tent Cinemas in Bettahalli, one at the entrance of Ramachandrapura. One more tent theater was at Gokula main road. Gokula was the place which had sheltered many employees of BEL and the old Gokula can not be visualized now. The nearest eat out was at Gokula &Maththikere and I remember my self,my wife and my son treble raiding on bicycle to Maththikere for Samosa…!
During Rains crores and crores of Frogs will sing through out the night and in the morning frogs as small as quarter to half an inch will be strucking your movements. We were wondering how so much frogs came for a single rain! Easy answer was it was god sent !
There was no compound to the lake and link from main road to the lake. This connecting road ( now Venkateshwara temple Main Road )was built much later. As a large number of sites were vacant we could take short cuts all over ! The lake area had become open toilet for building workers and from morning 6 to 8 one can see groups attending to their natural calls.In 2013 I just for fun counted the number of people who visit this lake area for morning calls- it was 613!
Almost every house had a well and water can be touched by hand ! Just dig for five to six feet water will spring! It was good and potable-Then there was no mineral or RO waters. Only we had heard of Filters of domestic type. As the area developed there was a need to have the Domestic Effluent plant and this lake was chosen for installation of the plant! Till then there was no such plants in the residential areas of the city. Protests were made and the ready answer was we do not have any other place and Govt.Rules says that the new lay outs should have their own plants etc., During this time I had written a letter to Prajavani with a photo of the lake requesting the authorities not to go for the cleaning plant! One of our colleagues who was an officer at BEL & who was the resident in the main road went to Apex Court opposing this. But Court gave nod for the cleaning plant! Initially the cleaning plant was planned only for Houses constructed on BEL HB Society sites –numbering app.1000.
When the plant started working, aerators were installed to clean the effluent water. It worked like churners with supply of power. After treatment, water is allowed to an artificial pond which was built by the side of cleaning plant and the water after final treatment would flow to the vast pond.Godambi trees were planted around this area because it filtered the bad smell( this we were told). Some two artificial islands were constructed and a hanging rope bridge was installed to make the place look more attractive ( like Singapura!). Also some saplings -mainly Bamboos- were planted here and in the island portion. I remember some medicinal plants as well as Chinese grass here. The authorities had made arrangements for boating in this lake. One small room supposed to house the Children’s Library was also provided and this room still exists at the entrance of Main gate to park from Second Block. Open Toilet facility continued because nobody had toilets for these construction workers.
For the inaugural function the then Chief Minister Mr.J.H.Patel along with Sri Ananth Nag,the then urban Development minister had come. They went around the pond in the boat and had complimented the authorities for this Eco friendly work. We also appreciated them and we were also elated as this was first of its kind in Bangalore ! A Light Music Program was arranged by the side of the lake and Mr.Shivamogga Subbanna and Smt Rathnamala Prakash tendered light music on that day. Initially three boats were put for riding and some charges mere collected. Relatives who visit our houses will be taken around in the Boats-a luxury which they did not had in their areas and they would pat us and our area! We will be bloated! For one or two years the show went on. The place was almost second to Heaven then for us poor people…..
By H. Gopalakrishna
thank you uncle , brings back memories of the massive amount of water that would gush through into the lake after rains , covering the main road ………all gone in a flash and remains as MEMORY. We friends built our own boats from wooden planks and thermocool sheets and enjoyed the Boat Ride!!!!! Remember how difficult it was to dig foundation for building our house , just five feet and ground water would flow. And the little well in the back yard was the place to have our daily bath and we drank the well water which was crystal clear. All gone and yes each one of us are to be blamed …. we are greedy indeed!!!!!
Mr. Gopalakrishna’ s this article about early days of Vidyaranyapura reminds me many things we experienced. I am happy to see the recent picture of beautifully made road between BEL First Block Bus stop to the end of Blue-moon Gardens. As Mr. Gopalakrishna Narrated there was a small country passage about say one Brick loaded Lary/ truck could move through between a fence and ME S Compound which was taking a 90 degrees turn to right at one stretch and again a 90 degree left turn after a feet along the MES compound wall.
At the end of the compound wall it again taking turn to right towards a Gate for Air Force station. then it was taking a turn to left towards Ramchandrapura Village narrowing down further between a fencing which was a coconut garden and other side an agricultural field up to the Village entrance In the initial stages of our Layout this was the only approach we were using to reach Ramachandrapura village to catch a B.T.S. Bus or walk further up to BEL market to catch B.T.S. Buses near S.B.I. some times the Air Force station Gate kept open and we used walk through that gate to reach B.T.S.Bus Stop at Jalahalli East.
There was one more entrance to Airforce Station at the First Block End of 11th Cross which was going through Air Force Area. Earlier days we were using this entrance also to reach B.T.S. Stop at Jalahalli Air Force Station. Apart from B.E.L. Kalakshethra, H.M.T. Auditorium and three tent cinema houses we could go to Air-force auditorium where movies were shown on some particular days for us. By the year 1985 as construction of house increased M.E.S. has taken a decision to close these two gates and constructed the stone wall to separate the Civilian population from Airforce staff and cadets.
So we had only Ramachandrapura passage way approach to our Layout Untill Nanjappa Road is formed by BEECHBS with lot of struggle compromising with land owners there by canceled four allotments made to members giving them alternative sites and exchanged some land cancelling the sites formed to the left of the Nanjappa Road to exchange land with adjacent land owner. If any body want to know the 40 % of the land left for Civic Amenities and Roads had to consider the entire stretch of Nanjappa Road as it was made at the cost of BEECHBS and also the entire Vidyaranyapura Police Station area which was built up to give it to Police Department by cancelling residential sites and constructed the building at the cost of BEECHBS.
More memories in my next comment.