We knew it as the “pond near the Eucy grove” and it was very handy for picnics, general teenage high jinks, setting for first love etc. The eucalyptus trees have long since become houses but the “pond” is flourishing like a green bay tree. It seems it is actually a lake spread over 18 acres, has a name and a place and is being restored.
I've tried to retrace old paths there in the past few months and was surprised the first time to find the lake neatly fenced in. At the time I took it as a sign that it was shortly to be filled in and built over. But I found out yesterday that the fence has been put there by an exemplary group of residents from the gated community nearby who’ve taken it upon themselves to raise a staggering sum of money and save the local water body.
On those same walks, I have noted that the gated community in question is more attractive than most, but have always regretted the flower farms and vineyards that Palm Meadows’ villas now stand on. This regret is automatic now, coupled with the weary feeling of futility that becomes a tedious addition to the emotions of those who return to this city. (An old friend who returned recently from a long stint in the US messaged me about a reunion: “Meeting up at some place called Rendezvous or maybe it was called Vous or Chez-vous… not sure exactly, I'm used to restaurants being named MTR, Koshy's, Bheema).
Now I must gladly acknowledge the sterling work that Palm Meadows residents have been doing with Sheelavanantha Kere for about three years. Click on the link to read all about it – a heartening story of real change by real people. I will do my bit to support the cause and chivvy as many others as I can to join in. It is a great thing that they’re trying to do.
But tI can't help a stray thought or two. That these bite-sized portions of picturesque land used to belong to large farms, one of which I grew up on, others that my friends did. That the lake may have never needed saving if it hadn’t been endangered by rapacious development. That if you’ve walked past fields of asters in full bloom and smelt the grapes ripening on the vines in April, the restoration of the lake seems a bit of a pyrrhic victory.
Deep Water, Jewel, Album: Spirit, 1998
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