In your taps soon … Sandaas ka pani.


See this river of stinking foam? This is Byramangala. One of the largest water sources in Bangalore.

To say that Byramangala is polluted is a gross understatement. Filled with industrial effluents, delicately spiced with sewage from India’s “Garden” city, and with tons of garbage added for good measure, the waters of Byramangala are not polluted – those waters are lethal.

This water is used for irrigation by all the villages around. This water is used to grow the “organic” vegetables and rice that you feed yourself and your children every day. Pay a visit to Byramangala reservoir. Stand there for more than five minutes and you will puke or faint. The vegetables and rice grown here are filled with deadly toxins, worms, bacteria and heavy metals. Farmers are fed up, livestock is dying, consumers (like you) get sick.

Across India’s silicon valley, every single lake, every stream, every source of water is in the same state.

But hey, don’t worry. The scientists are busy doing their research. Sticking their probes everywhere they can. Producing impressive Sankey diagrams and awe-inspiring Powerpoint presentations, attending international workshops on your money, publishing research papers, accepting awards – while also accepting funding from the same industries that poison your water.

And all that hard work and “science” has paid off. The “scientific” solution to our water crisis is apparently quite simple.

No need to stop those industries that merrily dump effluents in our water. No need to arrest the mafia that dumps garbage in our lakes. No need to arrest those illegal developers and builders.

Just “recycle” all that poisoned water and send it back to you. Simple. This is the “master plan” concocted by the scientists your taxes pay for and the government you elect.

No need to make even a token attempt to decongest the city. Instead, let more and more people and corporates come rushing in. By 2030, the population of Bangalore will be 20 million. That’s the population of Australia, by the way.

I’m not joking. Wastewater usage for Bangalore is almost official policy. It’s not enough that Bangalore’s garbage is dumped on surrounding villages. They are forced to use Bangalore’s foul water as well. That toxic water is in turn used to grow the food that you eat. And your own sewage water comes back to you in your own taps.

Yeah, shit happens. Your own shit.

Whose fault is it? Yours.

You had it coming to you. You do not question the scientists who influence policy. And you do not question the government that makes policy. The “scientists” bamboozle you with science. The government deceives you with promises.

Between the two, the bigger culprits are the scientists. I’ve been dealing with them through my career, and I know just how they think. Not all of those ecology scientists are dishonest. A few of them do have the right answers. But they are throttled by those whose primary interest is not in solutions, but in personal glory – and in funding.

During a recent water workshop, I saw those scientists and their cronies in action. I had to accept that what I had suspected all along was unfortunately, true.

Bangalore is doomed.

Crores of rupees spent on research, on all those foreign-trained, award-winning scientists. And their astonishingly simple solution for Bangalore’s water woes – use your own sewage.

Yeah. Science to Man’s rescue. Drink sandaas ka pani.



Shit! It’s your food!


Two months ago,¬† it was plastic in our rice. This month, it’s shit in our sweets.

Once again, I was involved in a panel discussion on a local TV channel (TV9 – Bangalore), about the safety of our food. TV9 mounted a sting operation on major sweet shops across Bangalore. Diwali is the most important Indian festival, and the demand for exotic sweets is especially high at this time of the year.

Manufacturers of sweetmeats take full advantage of the high demand – and the government’s lax attitude – to peddle all kinds of shit on unsuspecting consumers. And I mean that literally.

TV9 went around the city purchasing sweets and sent them to a reputed food testing lab. I know this lab well, and I can tell you this lab is one of the best in India. Can’t disclose the name of the lab, because the channel asked me not to. But they did show me the lab reports.

And those lab reports were horrifying. Horrifying, but not surprising. I’ve been in quality control and R&D since thirty years, and I know very well how badly our food is adulterated – and what evil lurks in the minds of those who manufacture our foods.

Without execption, all the sweets tested had high amounts of coliforms in them. Coliforms are bacteria that are found exclusively in the colons of warm-blooded animals (like us). Human and animal shit are filled with coliform bacteria. There are about a hundred species of coliforms and many of them are harmless. But a significant number of coliform species are deadly pathogens and can cause severe gastro-intestinal infections. To make matters worse, coliforms are usually accompanied by other deadly bugs like viruses, protozoans and fungi, all of which can make you crap yourself to death.

To make matters even worse, coliforms are resistant to most antibacterial medicines, thanks to indiscriminate prescribing by doctors. And to make matters still worse, several coliforms have long incubation periods, upto a week in some cases. That is, if you eat contaminated sweets, you may get severe diarrhoea a week later, and you will never know what caused it.

The presence of coliforms in your food therefore, is a clear indication of fecal contamination. In other words, you are literally eating shit. How does shit get into your sweets, you ask? Obviously, through bad water, bad handling and bad storage. And zero safety standards and zero enforcement by the authorities. And of course, bribery and corrupt officialdom.

The worst culprits are koya based sweets like peda. Did you know that koya is usually stored for months in the open before use? I am always scared of round sweets like laddoos, because I’ve seen how filthy are the hands that pat those sweets into a round shape.

And beware of all sweets coated with ‘vark’, i.e. silver foil. It’s not silver in the first place, and that foil is made by pounding whatever metal they use, between slices of raw intestines taken from slaughtered goats and lambs. That’s right, raw intestines. Filled with coliforms. And remember that an innocent lamb was butchered so that you could enjoy that kaju katli.

Not just coliforms, all the sweets had high amounts of lead – another indicator of bad water being used.

I’ve saved the best for the last. All the lab reports showed that not one of those sweets had sugar in them. No sugar. All had ridiculously high levels of saccharine in them. But no sugar. Saccharine is an unsafe artificial sweetener that can cause cancer, but you already know that, don’t you?

So. Your sweets have shit in them. Bacteria. Fungi. Worms. Heavy metals. Stale milk solids. Artificial flavors. Unsafe dyes. But no sugar.

As I said, horrifying, but not surprising. Our food has always been contaminated and heavily adulterated. But no one seems to care.

In spite of dire warnings by experts (like yours truly), in spite of sting operations by the media, in spite of validated reports by certified testing labs, morons like you will still pay Rs.500/- a kilo for those sweet little packets of shit.

Can’t you make simple sweets at home, to celebrate your festivals? That’s what our festivals are about. Home-made sweets, sharing with family and friends, enjoying simple pleasures.

The real criminal is not the thug who makes these packets of shit. The real criminal is the jackass who buys them. You.

Happy Diwali.


BTW: If you can follow Kannada, you can see the entire TV report and panel discussion here.



Bangalore fights back … the story of Puttenahalli lake.

Puttenahalli - SKSrinivas
Puttenahalli lake today.

Twenty five years in Bangalore have made me a hardened cynic and a prophet of doom. I’ve seen this city deteriorate from a beautiful, innocent little hamlet into one of the filthiest, overcrowded, screwed up cities in the world.

I remember when this was a nice little town for pedestrians and pensioners. Now it’s a shithole filled with stray dogs and thugs. There were trees and parks lining every avenue here once. Now there are malls and brothels.

There were lakes and ponds filled with clear water once. Now there are open-air toilets and slums. Once there were flowers and birds everywhere. Now there are dogs, dogs, dogs, everywhere. Roads with more potholes in them than tar. People defecating in public view. Hooligans driving two-wheelers on pavements. And hawkers squatting on what’s left of those pavements.

Bangalore’s demise is inevitable. Investing in this urban nightmare would be a remarkably foolish business decision. But still, there are determined citizens who have chosen to fight back. And there are some victories.

Puttenahalli lake is one such. Once a delightful waterbody tucked away inside Puttenahalli villlage, on the southern outskirts of the city, the lake suffered the same fate as all other lakes across Bangalore. Encroached, surrounded by concrete condos, filled with garbage and human waste, infested with mosquitoes, vermin and local goons.


The lake was written off, waiting to be swallowed by land-sharks and politicians. A small group of locals decided to do something about it. The Puttenahalli neighborhood improvement trust came into being about seven years ago, with the single-minded objective of reviving the dead lake.


It took them a great deal of hard work, and a considerable amount of their own money. But today, Puttenahalli lake is a thriving waterbody, filled with clean water, a home to fifty species of birds and all kinds of flora and fauna. It’s not out of the woods yet, there is still a slum to be removed, but I’d say the worst is over.


To a large extent, the battle is won, and Puttenahalli is now officially known as a “saved” lake. Considering what it used to be, this is a major achievement by any means. And across the city, other citizen groups have taken up the fight to save their local waterbodies.


For a city that has been destroyed by political greed and corporate thuggery, and is in imminent danger of death, Puttenahalli lake is a small beacon of inspiration and hope.

As long as there is hope, I think Bangalore city still has a chance to survive, however slim that chance may be.

Take a look at my Puttenahalli collection.

Cheers … Srini.