Bangalore- our very own Bengaluru is a beautiful city. Or at least, it used to be. What happened to it now? Well, we dried up our lakes and filled it with tar and concrete; we sucked out the groundwater for our never-ending wants; and most importantly, we conveniently turned the sweet life-giving rivers into dark stinky drains.

Rivers? In Bangalore? Yes, our very own Bangalore was once filled with streams throughout the city, which flowed abundantly and sufficed all of the water needs. As a resident who’s been in Bangalore for all her life, I’m telling you — the place has changed drastically. I have nothing against change, it’s only the change for the worse I’m disappointed with.

Nearly 22 years ago, my parents visited Nagarbhavi — an area in southwest Bangalore for the first time to build their humble abode that was filled with gigantic boulders, prickly shrubs, creepy-crawlies, and a full gushing stream. Unfortunately, the area wasn’t developed much and was considered ‘remote.’ This meant they couldn’t cross the stream. Tired, exhausted, they decided to refresh beside this flowing freshwater. They took sips of water, splashed some on their face and felt completely rejuvenated and headed back.

Rivers clogged with plastic and other wastes in Bangalore

Two years later, set with a firm mind about building a home and moving here, they came back to Nagarbhavi. And what do they see — the same boulders, prickly shrubs, and creepy crawlies. But the river was a drastic change. Gone was the fresh gushing water and in its place — a dark black stinking stream. Shocked and double checking if they were in the right place, they ultimately felt deeply disappointed with the inhumanness of homo sapiens. Now, 20 years later, it’s still a horrendous experience to walk on the bridge with the drain flowing below.

A Drain in Domlur, Bangalore with blooming greens

And it’s not just in Nagarbhavi, water bodies throughout the city have now turned into masses of black streams, clogged with surmounting wastes. An instance that I face every morning is when I walk to my workplace. I cross another black streaming drainage with industry effluents gushing into it. And if you listen long enough, you can actually hear the river crying and voicing out.

Of course, it goes unheard. So, if you’re wondering what this is really about — is it the never-ending sorrow of man-nature conflict? The story of the city landscapes? Or is it about mankind’s unkindness? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m part of all these changes and I take the blame too.

But let me tell you something. There’s still hope. That crying river I cross every day to work is lined with green lush on one side, while concrete overpowers the other. When I look at the blushing green trees, it’s a message to show it’s not too late to do something. This is something we all know, but isn’t it really time to act on it?