Sunday evening at Sankey Tank turned out to be quite the experience for the 80,000 odd people at the Namma Bengaluru Habba.
The brainchild of the state tourism ministry, led by Minister for IT, BT, S & T, Priyank Kharge, the event was conceptualized by Bengaluru-based Oum Pradutt and team.
"What we were able to offer was nothing short of an international street festival, as the ministry approved all our concepts and that was the greatest impetus," says Oum, adding, "The initiative came about because people have been complaining about the sorry state of lakes, with some even frothing, and the general question about what can be done. It's not enough for us to sit back and blame the government and other civic bodies, because it has to be community driven. For instance, if I live near a lake and want to protect it, then I have to contribute towards that. We thought that we needed to get people involved and sensitize them about the dos and don'ts around a lake. What can you do to not pollute and conserve a lake? The festival was curated with that in mind."
The day-long affair, had something for everyone and was completely green. "For starters, there was no plastic. The banners were eco-friendly and made of cloth or canvas. The food outlets, most of which had organic offerings, served on biodegradable plates, while water counters every 50 metres apart urged people to use their own sippers and have them refilled. The flea market was organic and the workshops were about subjects as diverse as having seed ganeshas that you plant instead of immersing after the festivities and grow a tree, to sustainable development, terrace gardening and e-waste management, among many others," he explains.
Vistors to the fest were also treated to music and art extravaganzas, as well as activites in jewellery making, finger puppet making, etc. The highlight of the event, says Shabbeer Ahmed, who hosted it, was the flyboard acrobatics by a professional, as well as the laser projection that was done on a screen of water.
"The content was all about lakes, including the inception of Sankey tank, the species of birds that nest here, the trees surrounding it and preservation, etc.," says Oum.
The entire stretch from Bashyam Circle to the other end was cordoned off with the support of residents' associations. "This would have never been possible without citizen participation. Equally commendable is the support of civic bodies — from power supply to garbage management, traffic control, law and order and safety measures," he signs off.