Sunset times – for undesigned lakesSeptember 10, 2011
The aesthetics of water
Civilizations have risen around rivers and water. Water has truly been the birth place of our villages and towns. Look around and you see that large cities have multiple lakes and a river running nearby. Hyderabad has its myriad tanks. Chennai had the Cooum and many small ponds. Coimbatore was a city of the river Siruvani but also the tanks. Even smaller towns like Tumkur, Sira, and Mulbagal have had myriad water bodies which supplied the citizens with water and also recharged the groundwater which could be drawn through wells and Kalyanis.
Sadly urban areas have also been the graveyard of water bodies. Rivers and lakes have been filled up, desecrated with sewage and solid waste and turned into filthy cess-pools. As we struggle to revive water bodies, more with functionality in mind, let us also remember that the younger generations deserve the aesthetics and spirituality of water too.
A lake is a glorious place especially at sunrise or sunset. With stunning visuals and the sound of nature it is can become a spiritually uplifting place too. The sky seems to take on the colour of water or is it vice-versa? The water edge becomes a place of contemplation and sometimes, at dusk, a place of melancholy.
Around the outskirts of the city especially during the monsoon the lakes fill up sometimes partially. They have not been developed in the conventional sense with a chain-link fence and a bund lined with stone. Concrete benches have not been placed and boating as yet not introduced. There are as no tickets to enter and even to see the lake. People are not immersing idols by the dozen nor are they throwing plastic into the water. There are no lights to make the space look like day and no hawkers to help litter the surrounding with left-over eatables.
Go to these places at sunrise or sunset. Go quietly and occupy a space to see the water. Spend time listening , watching and thinking. Watch as the sky changes colour. Feel the breeze. Enjoy the silence or the distant sound of civilization. When you come back leave the place a bit better than it was by cleaning it a little. There is a guarantee that you will return wiser and charged.
Do this before urbanization quickly over-whelms this water body too. Think also what we can do perhaps to protect this space from people like us. Can we transform our city-scape to include such small pleasures of living or are we so bankrupt of ideas that this sounds utopian?
A water-wise city will ensure the functionality of its water bodies as places to store flood waters, a bio-diversity hotspot, a recharge area and a recreation area. It will also take some lakes and rivers beyond functionality and into the realm of the soul. Into the country my friend lead me.