This is the story of how a stinking, neglected water body was changed into a beautiful lake due the initial efforts of a single man who inspired and helped others to help themselves and were able to rejuvenate the Hulimavu Lake.
Mr. Saurabh S Nair, a resident of Bannerghatta Road passed the Hulimavu lake often over the past 7 years and never paid any attention to it! He says, “On 15th April I attended a Rudra Puja performed by Swami Saranu at the Maruthi Dental College and took a sankalpa to protect nature. I strongly believe that this was my inspiration. On 16th April 2016, I was again passing by the lake and was taken in by a strong urge to do something for the lake and felt that.
The lake needed my help. Having seen Binay ji’s video, The Art of Living Faculty, ,his words kept reverberating in my mind. That social lethargy that we urban dwellers possess had to be shirked off. I had some knowledge about cleaning a lake. I immediately bought the required equipment – a long bamboo stick, a rope, a set of iron panjas (similar to a claw to help draw out the garbage) and a pair of long hand gloves. And I started on my mission.”
Cleaning a 120 acre lake is a mammoth task and many groups of well-meaning citizens had been debating about how to go about it but it never led to any action. Saurabh decided to take the plunge. The lake was almost completely green, covered with water hyacinth. This plant grows very fast. The foliage covers the surface of the water and prevents sunlight from entering the water which results in the death of every living organism in the water body. Once while pulling out garbage from the lake,they even found a dead turtle smothered by plastic. Saurabh says, “On the west side of the lake, I could not see any water, which is very dangerous.”
Did he not have a single doubt – would this project ever succeed or would it fail? Saurabh, an Art of Living faculty, says, “I don’t know how but there was not a single negative thought in my mind. Passersby would tell me that at this rate,it would take me five years to clean the lake.I knew I could do it, even if it took 10 years, I was prepared to invest the time and effort in making sure the lake was rejuvenated. It was a single minded focus. I think it was Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s grace that did not allow any negative thoughts to arise!”
He started a Facebook page and shared his first video on cleaning the lake. Saurabh reached out the Art of Living’s River Rejuvenation director Sri Lingaraju for guidance and support.
After the first few weeks, suddenly there was water visible on the western part of the lake – the first breakthrough! Saurabh was elated. More fishermen were sighted and fishes could be seen prancing about in the waters, pelicans became regular visitors. Soon more people joined his efforts in reviving the lake and it was common to see dozens of volunteers at the Hulimavu lake on weekends cleaning the other side of the lake.
Politicians, government authorities, residents of the area also joined the movement. Reporters covered the project in the Times of India as well. The lake has not yet shaped up to his expectations, but Saurabh is a happy man, for he sees life in the lake as well as in the people who are now coming forward to take care of it.
Mr Saurabh S Nair, inspired by Sri Sri Ravishankar, showed the way to many people about how a single man’s effort and inspiration can make a difference. The proof is that the Hulimavu lake is now a beautiful vibrant water body,maybe not picture perfect but definitely more alive and breathing than it was ever before.
Saurabh Nair was also felicitated on the dias as the chief guest of the Independence day celebration at the Nandi retreat apartments Gottigere.