Thursday, March 9, 2017

Grass Cutters in Bellandur Lake

Seenappa is the Lake gardener for Lower Ambalipura Lake. His work timings are from 9:30am to 5pm and he keeps to it quite strictly. However, he also works a morning shift prior to coming to the lake. This is at the Bellandur Lake - where he cuts grass - from 5am to 8:30am. The grass is cut for the herbivores in Bannerghatta National Park, for the animal shelters (goshaala) in Hoodi, Ulsoor and elsewhere around Bangalore and also for some individuals who own cattle. And this he does gratis - since he thinks the animals need good grass to eat. In this activity he is not alone. He is joined by about 20-30 other grass cutters  every day. Works start at 5am and they go on till about 11am or noon. Small Trucks from each of these animal shelters come to collect the grass. None of the grass cutters are paid. They are not supervised. They are not assigned any work. They do it of their own will. They think it needs doing. The grass cutters have known each other for 20-30 years and there is a pleasant familiarity as they get to work. Each of them find their own patch in the lake from where they cut grass. Infact if you are not told or the cutters are not pointed out - you can almost not see them - surrounded by grass. Each of them have their own coracle - that they use to row upto the point where they want to cut grass from and then quietly go about their work. I still find it hard to believe that they do it almost everyday, without fail, and they take/charge no money for the work they do

The truck
The grass cutters in their coracle
Look hard to spot the grass cutter
Cut grass
Seenappa showing me around

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