Bangalore Beat 46: River Netravati and Rural Bangalore District

I was driving towards Bangalore from Mangalore in the middle of August. It was the independence day weekend. As I went up the winding roads of the  Western Ghats, river Netravati was flowing down towards Mangalore on my right hand side. She has been in my conscience, right from my childhood days. During monsoons, there were floods and schools used to be closed for a day or two. We waited for those moments eagerly, without realising the life on the flood plains during such times. Some of my class mates lived there.

I have lived in Bangalore since 1987 and in rural Bangalore for the last 14 years. As rural Bangalore has become increasingly urban, the water table has sunk down to a good 700 + feet below the ground level. Most of the ponds and lakes are dry, land is parched and people have been clamouring for water. So some people in the state government of Karnataka worked out a scheme to pump up the ‘excess’ water to Bangalore rural district. They claimed it was getting ‘wasted’ during the monsoons and going into the sea. This idea has caught the imagination of the people of rural Bangalore district and they are looking forward to the water of Netravati to fill their tanks and lakes.

However the people of Mangalore are up in arms.  This so called ‘waste’ water is important to maintain the balance of salinity in the delta. Apart form it, this project if implemented will destroy many acres of pristine rain forest. Energy required to pump this water to Bangalore which is about 180Km away and at a higher level too is enormous.

So, how does one provide water to rural Bangalore without upsetting the ecosystem?


River Netravati, at Shiradi Ghat. august 2014

Dry lake bed of Madhure Lake, in Rural Bangalore District. This 198 hectare lake has been dry for years. State Govt. Spent about Rs.3 crores ( 500000USD) to rejuvenate it, which according to me is a wasted effort.

Dry lake bed of Madhure Lake, in Rural Bangalore District. This 198 hectare lake has been dry for years. State Govt. Spent about Rs.3 crores (US$500000) to rejuvenate it, which according to me is a wasted effort.



Bangalore beat 45:1986

Vidhana Soudha and BTS - 1986

A picture from my first walk with an SLR. My cousin’s Nikon FM, if I remember right. It was 1986, 28 years ago. He loaded a roll of Ilford FP-4 and asked me to go out and shoot. To see if ‘I had it in me’ to be a photographer. The state government organisation that public transportation service was called Bangalore Transport Service’ or BTS. It was known for non-punctuality  and unreliability.

Bangalore Beat 44 : 8th Cross Malleswaram – ‘down but not full down’

I asked directions to a store. I was near 8th Cross, Malleswaram. “Saar, it’s on 8th cross, down but not full down”  he said. I understood what he meant. Anyone who knows Malleswaram would.

For those who are not familiar with Bangalore – Malleswaram is a north-western district of Bengaluru city. It developed as a suburb during the great plague of 1898, which caused many people to move out from the city center. It was once quiet and beautiful. Like all other parts of Bangalore today its crowded and noisy.

8th Cross,  arguably the most famous road of Malleswaram that runs east-west on an incline.  It’s full of interesting shops and eating places.  ‘8th cross full down’  is a term used to describe the bottom part of the road.  ‘8th cross down’  is the middle part !

Last week as I walked up8th  road, sun was setting, the light was brilliant. I was shooting and a gentleman got out of his car and introduced himself as Anil Kumar, actor. He played the male lead in the 1975 Kannada film ‘Bili Hendthi‘ (White/Caucasian wife). I was just eight years old when I saw the film in a theater in Mangalore.  He chatted with me, said he still acts and models if he gets jobs that suit his age! I did a portrait.


8th Cross down, at the junction of Sampige Road

I met Anil Kumar, the hero of the 1975 Kannada film 'Bili Hendthi' (Caucasian wife)

I met Anil Kumar, the hero of the 1975 Kannada film ‘Bili Hendthi’ (Caucasian wife)


At 8th cross full down


It used to be pleasure to walk down the road…


8th Cross Down





Bangalore Beat 42: Quantum System

I have been living in Goa for the last seven months after living in Bangalore for 26 years, starting  September 1987. I witnessed the explosive/hyper growth of Bangalore  in this time.  Panaji, the Capital  of Goa too seems like a small town after Bangalore.   I have begun to look at the big Indian cities in a different way now.

Quantum physics says that the a quantum system can be in more than one state at the same time and in more than one place.  Bangalore seems like a quantum system to me.  During a recent visit I realised that many parts of the city are left out in most of the discourses on the city. People live in their own bubbles, including nostalgia. People live,  love,  work, and die next to each other albeit  in different realities, at the same time.

Bangalore Beat 41: Protest

On 01-01-2013 people of Bangalore decided to protest against the ‘Delhi Rape’ – there was an event put out on Facebook and hundreds of people had signed up. I went there to document the event. There were just about 50-60 people. About a kilometer away on Brigade Road, there were hundreds and thousands. I thought of publishing these pictures now, when the memory of that horrendous incident has faded.

Jan1protest Jan1protest-2  Jan1protest-6Jan1protest-4 Jan1protest-5Jan1protest-3  Jan1protest-7 Jan1protest-8