This prompted Ro to visit the Madiwala Lake last Saturday afternoon. The 114.16 hectare lake, with a wetland area of 24.74 acres, was built nearly 300 years ago. It is said to have been built overnight (don’t ask me how!) and it got its name (which means washerman) from the washermen folks who lived around it. The water was supposed to have been so clean that people would travel several miles to take drinking water from it. Not any more.
The many varieties of fish, the rose garden and the nursery have long since disappeared. Replaced not surprisingly by a slum on the habitable bank, contributing to human waste contamination of the lake water. The forest department has done precious little except to put up a very badly maintained children’s park and deploying a apathetic gatekeeper whose main concern is to collect Rs. 3/- per ‘entry’.
But we saw the spot-billed pelicans. This more than made up our day which was otherwise ordinary. Not in hundreds though, as the news article promised but may be a few dozens of them. With most of them dozing on the trees at the island, only a handful of them played up to the crowd and displayed their skills at take off and landing. This island is their home in the lake for the two months that they decide to spend here.
Pelicans are strange birds. They lay 3 eggs at a time and only one survives long enough to reach adulthood. The weakest ‘chick’ is done in early by the stronger ones. Of the remaining two, one slays the other so that only one survives at the end. So no need of ‘hum do hamare do’ there, was Ro’s comment. Wise eh?