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Archive for the ‘Bangalore’ Category

Ejipura: “How many malls do Bangaloreans need?”

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This article was originally written for The Alternative. Reblogging it here.

For all those who are not aware there was the demolition of EWS quarters of around 1000 families at Ejipura just opposite the National Games Village, Kormangala in Bangalore last week. This demolition has happened for building up another mall by the builders of Garuda Mall. Even the Garuda Mall at MG Road is not legally built. The land was given for a multilevel car parking but the mall has come up instead of the parking. The residents of Ejipura whose houses have been demolished are out in the open in the cold without water, power, food and shelter.

“My 8 months old child is suffering from jaundice and fever. My husband is not there and I have lost my job. “says one on the residents of Ejipura whose house has been demolished. In spite of all these challenges she has been helping the volunteers in distributing food and clothes to the right people.

Pic: Mayank Rungta

Can we who live in our comfortable houses with food and snuggled into warm blankets be so strong? I am really amazed by these people who are greeting us with a smile even in the difficult times when they have lost their shelter. They have not forgotten to care for their neighbors checking if they received the food and blankets. Apart from that they are also taking care of their pets, mostly dogs and cats.

They are out in the open, on the footpaths on both sides of the road with their minimal belongings with nowhere to go. What was their crime that the houses of 1000 families have been demolished? Even a criminal has a roof over his head in the jail. The toilets have been destroyed. The first day itself water supply and power supply was cut off. And in just 2-3 days the ground where once these people used to live has been grounded and the area has been fenced. I really should appreciate BBMP for the efficient work they have been doing in demolishing the houses. They have carried out this eviction very strategically in phases, first the houses were demolished, then people were pressurized to vacate the place, then they started leveling the ground without looking at what’s on the ground and this debris was piled on all the sides to block various entrance so that supply of food, water and other essentials arranged by volunteers can be ruptured and finally fencing the whole area with very high tin sheets. If they channelize this efficiency towards the grappling problems of our city, I am sure Bangalore would be a much better and a cleaner place in no time.

With no access to power supply, water supply, toilets, food and shelter the government has left them out in the open to suffer and not even taking the responsibility of providing them an alternative shelter. To add to it yesterday they demolished more houses in the area. It is only because of the continuous efforts of few people and volunteers that these victims are able to get food, water and blankets regularly. Even we volunteers faced resistance by the police in distributing food and blankets. The vehicles carrying food was not allowed to enter the area. We had to walk with the food cans to find people among the rubbles in the dark and distribute food to them. It is really unbelievable how much callousness exist around us.

My emotions have been overwhelming to put everything in words. I feel angry. I feel helpless not able to fight for them. I am sure after all this my conscience will never ever allow me to step into the mall which would be standing here in next few months or years or rather any mall. How many malls do Bangaloreans need? I and my husband rarely visit a mall and our life goes on smoothly.

I, along with other volunteers, have been visiting the site for the last one week. I can’t really explain the plight of the people in words; how people have been sitting or sleeping in the cold. I would request that we all to go to the site and see for ourselves what it feels like when you lose your home. At least, the residents would feel that they are not alone. We know how much it matters when someone is there with you just to talk to you in the difficult times. Many of the residents have lost their jobs and it would be good if we can help them find jobs. They are mostly home maids, driver, cook etc.

Appealing all to come out and help the residents of Ejipura in any way – helping them fight for their ‘Right to Shelter’ or help in spreading the awareness or help with the logistics or finding them a home or a job.

You can follow the updates on Ejipura and volunteer for relief work through the Relief for EWS Ejipura Demolition Victims Facebook page or the hashtag #EWSEjipura on Twitter.

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Written by Priyanka Varma

January 28, 2013 at 8:40 am

The Gift !!!

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“Thank you Sister” were the words of an 11 year old girl named Abhirami.  I couldn’t guess what the words were for and asked her. “I got an A grade and my sister got A+ grade in English. Thank you Sister!!! “. And just a day before that I was pondering on the question “Is it really helping with what or how we are doing with the kids “. I am not sure whether her grade was a direct result of our teaching as I am not even aware of last year result. But the words were enough to motivate you.

And 2 days after that when I went to the place (Desire Society) she was again there telling me in Kannada ” Sister I want to learn more and more English. Also teach me Hindi” and there she came with an English story book and Hindi notebook ready to learn everything. The way she told reflected her crave for learning.

The change might be slow and gradual but there was a change – an interest kindling to learn something, a curiosity to know more about things around them.

This gift was not enough for the day. There was another gift also which I received from a 4-year old girl Ganga. As soon as I had entered the gate she seemed to be waiting for me and called me “Sister Banni(Kannada word for Come)”. I followed her small footsteps and she sat on the stairs asking me to sit. And gave me a flower carefully wrapped in a piece of paper and an Eclairs with a white piece of cloth calling it a handkerchief. Another Smile for the day :).

🙂

May be I am not able to express my feelings in my words. But sometimes when not everything is going good with you or you are not satisfied with what you are doing the small things like this give you a smile on your face and the motivation which you need to move ahead.

Written by Priyanka Varma

April 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

Bangalore’s Life and People

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I have started writing on a new blog on Bangalore’s Life and People. Do visit: http://bangalorecaptured.com . This is all about Bangalore and around Bangalore – the people, the surroundings, the life, the food, the wildlife and everything that you can think about Bangalore or associate with!!!

Written by Priyanka Varma

November 19, 2010 at 11:07 am

Posted in Bangalore

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Clicks in Hebbal Lake

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Another weekend early morning and I was off to Hebbal Lake, around 30kms from my house with two other friend photographers. After getting the camera atleast I am able to experience the early morning beauty, the fresh cool breeze and the silent roads. Moving through the Lalbagh, K R market, VidhanSoudha we reached the Hebbal lake and there was an awesome greenery there. Around the lake there is a park which is open for visitors for free till 9:30 am.

There we enter the park and could see the birds flying over the lake. That was a scenic beauty to be captured. The water, the sky, the forest around, the birds, the overcast clouds and all this makes a perfect scenic picture in the light of the early dawn. Tried capturing all this into one shot with different exposures to finally get a perfect shot.

Spending some time around the lake capturing the clouds and the water moved towards the park around. The park had beautiful flowers, trees and insects. As soon as I see flowers, I feel like taking the macro shots of them. If you are not into photography,  Macro shot is the shot where you take the closeup picture focusing sharply on a small area. Took macro shots of the different flowers. While capturing the flowers, found some beautiful insects on the leaves. Its because of the camera that I am bound to say they were beautiful insects. Seems my perception has changed because of photography.

There were beautiful sounds of birds chirping. Tried to search the birds. Caught hold of few parakeets, pelicans but they were so far that the lens I had was not able to capture the image. Need those telephoto lens for capturing them. Yeah photographers are never satisfied of their camera lens. They need more and different types of lens once they get bitten by this photography addiction.  Will be back to this place after getting the appropriate lens to capture the glimpse of those birds.

Finally after capturing the beauty we were moving out when a spider-like insect inside a web caught our attention. It was half- hidden and somehow we all struggled to capture it. Suddenly it came out and posed for the shutter bugs for few seconds and went back. And we managed to get few clicks.

Enjoy few pics of Hebbal Lake here . Its a lovely place to spend in the early morning even if you don’t want to capture the beauty in your camera.

Written by Priyanka Varma

June 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Camping @Coorg

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Me rappelling at a height of 120 feet

Standing on the edge of the mountain at a height of 120 feet with the support of a rope tied to the tree,  scared to see down, convincing myself that rappelling is easier than walking down 120 feet through the paths. Giving me an adrenaline rush it seemed quite daunting to take the first step towards walking down the vertical slopes. But somehow I took a couple of steps and Voila it seemed as if I was natural at rappelling.  Enjoyed the further journey of climbing down swaying left to right, taking breaks in between to give my hurting hands a rest.

That was a part of the mini-micro meet of ma Alma mater alumni at Coorg organized by Thrillophilia.  Loved the two-days doing bakar, camping , playing mafia – ‘the GAME which dominated the minds of the people till the next day’, having nice food, adventuring out with rope walking and trampoline – and ALL in the silence away from the city with no power, no internet.  After a long time saw the beautiful sky full of stars which is a very rare scene in the city these days.  The camping site was a good one with all sports facilities though people glued to their all time favorite cricket. Twas in the jungle with a nice scenic view of mountains covered with trees.

Thanks Thrillophilia for arranging the trip and ALL for making it a nice and enjoyable one.

Written by Priyanka Varma

April 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Bangalore, Coorg, life, travel

Tagged with , , ,

Amazing moment

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He hugs me clutching me with both his hands, not ready to leave me. He recognizes me touching me with his soft hands. That was one of the most amazing moment. He is a 5 year old kid without the power of vision. But it seems he has got a different power compensating his power of vision with which he can feel and recognize people around him. Every weekend I visit him. That day I visited after 1 month. And to my surprise he could feel my presence and recognized me. He came towards me, called me by my name, indicating me to lift him and he hugged me strongly with his hands. He was not ready to leave me as if asking why I didn’t see him for so many days. I really was amazed and happy by this gesture of his.

Before this I had not thought that a small kid who can’t see with his eyes would recognize me. But each time I visit this place, I get to know about them more and more – How they live, how they ‘see’.  But this was the most touching one that I experienced.

Written by Priyanka Varma

March 13, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Posted in Bangalore, Society

Tagged with ,

Fun Day @ WonderLa

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It was just a normal Sunday when we were taking weekend computer classes for the kids at Anatha Shishu Sevashram. And  the kids told that they have a short vacation after their exams. One of us just asked them if they would like to go out somewhere for one day. And they all were too excited and happy to just hear that.  Seeing their happiness on just the thought of going out, we talked to Saraswathi madam(caretaker of the orphanage). She was also very happy and suggested us to take them to WonderLa as they had never been there because the orphanage could not afford it. The kids were very happy when we mentioned them about WonderLa. Without thinking anything whether how we will get the funds, we promised them that we would take them  to WonderLa.  We had just four days to arrange for the funds and transportation. We were very much worried whether we would be able to fulfill the promise we had made to the kids. But then we were determined that in any case, we will try our best.

First we had thought that we would not take the smaller kids but then we didn’t feel like to devoid them of fun. So, in total it was 52 kids.  And its truly said “Where  there is a will, there is a way” . First of all, we got a 60% discount from WonderLa. But still it was a large amount. We mailed to our friends, office colleagues and in 3 days we could collect sufficient amount. Thanks to all of you who helped us in this.

Finally the D-day came. On 25th Dec at 8 am all kids were ready after their breakfast waiting for the bus with smiling and laughing faces. 13 of us(volunteers) were there to take care of the kids. Singing and dancing we reached our destination. It was Christmas day and there was special event happening outside – Santa Claus meeting the kids,  singing, dancing and clapping on the drum beats.

At 11am we entered inside the WonderLa. The kids were happy meeting the Santa, handshaking with them. As it was a large group of kids we had to divide them into groups with one volunteer with them. We realized that there was no use of dividing the elder kids in groups as they were already running here and there. So we took the younger kids in smaller groups. But there is a great bonding among the kids themselves that they took care of each other. It was little difficult to manage the younger kids but we enjoyed with them – instructing them, scolding them and also making them stop crying after the rides. Few of the kids cried on the rides but still didn’t want to miss the fun and took the other rides though they were scared. And few were not at all scared.

At the end of the day, all the kids were very much happy and were quite reluctant to go back.  But the joy and happiness on their faces really made our day.  When we went back for the classes this Sunday, they told that the trip was super and “chennagidde“(Kannada word for super) and that they enjoyed a lot. Thanks to all of you who helped us in making this possible.

Enjoy the pics :

http://picasaweb.google.com/vaibhav.kumar/WonderLaTrip_WS#

http://picasaweb.google.com/trivenicat/Xmas#

http://picasaweb.google.com/priyanka2112/Wonderla03#

Written by Priyanka Varma

December 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm