I’ve always wanted to live close to nature and that’s probably why my husband and I chose an area that is home to more than 15 lakes. We envisioned a life where we could gaze at the birds, walk along pristine waters, and even catch a glimpse of sea life! We felt that such a life would not only make nature an inherent part of our lives, but will also imbibe the responsibility of caring for nature in the minds of our children.
After we moved, we realized that life is never that rosy! A closer look at the nearby water bodies, especially the beautiful Lake Arasankazhani, near Perumbakkam showed the extent of litter around it. A few like-minded individuals came together and with help from the Environmentalist Foundation of India and Arun Krishnamurthy, we cleaned the lake, built bunds arounds it, planted native samplings, built a G-shaped island for birds, and created a sense of belonging with the local communities.
The transformation was phenomenal. The first year was a lake surrounded by mounds of plastic while the next monsoon was one of bliss! We could spot about 80 different species of birds and to our wonder, we found that this area was originally called Vedanthangal because it was once on the path of migratory birds. Though we don’t know if we brought back all of them, it was surely a great joy to see so many birds in Dec-Jan.
As we continue to maintain the lake, we are not completely out of the woods. Waste dumping happens, especially during the hot summer months when some parts of the lake become bone dry. We also have a burial ground close by and there are also strewn liquor bottles and encroachments.
Despite these challenges, there is hope because we have seen how small efforts have a big impact.