Revathy Kamath, a resident of Bengaluru, was a passionate gardener, always thrilled in the presence of colourful flowers. The 63-year-old shares, “I have always been a homemaker. When both my sons grew up and got busy with their own chores, I dedicated more time to do my favourite activities like gardening.”
But soon, her journey went from being a homemaker and gardener to becoming a landscaper and environmentalist! She went on to launch her own enterprise called ‘Calyx – Landscaping & Organic Farming’ in 2000 but has now stepped down as its proprietor to enjoy her retired life.
This graduate of Botany says that her love for gardening has given her happiness, satisfaction and success. But how did it all transpire?
For the love of flowers
Revathy says, “First, I started a small flower shop where bouquets were prepared and distributed based on orders. Gradually, I had clients including IT giants like Wipro and HP, and I turned to event organising as well — stage decoration and related arrangements for the companies’ functions, which gave me immense satisfaction. As I’m also into music and concerts, such events were also organised with the help of a great team I employed.”
It was in 1994, during her 40s, that Revathy got an opportunity to get into the landscaping business by setting up a garden for a house.
She says, “I had zero ideas about this field, but after in-depth reading and understanding, I took up the project. This became a huge success which led to numerous other big and small projects coming my way, including the garden of Mysore University in Bengaluru.”
Revathy explains, “In order to do landscaping work, we need space to grow all types of plants which are later replanted to the assigned area. I was looking for a plot to do this work as well as to do organic farming. On a visit to a friend’s place in Somanahalli village, I noticed a few acres of spare land. My plan was to use the land without buying it after obtaining permission. Somanahalli Gram Panchayat president Muniraj Gowda gave us a heads up and we planted trees like banyan, peepal, neem, jamun (Java plum) and jackfruit along with various creepers and ornamental plants.”
It took Revathy a while to realise that the water facility on this plot was limited as the nearby Somanahalli Lake was on the verge of dying. She also discovered that the adjacent Raja Canal was blocked which resulted in the lack of freshwater flowing to the 25-acre wide lake.
“There were some encroachments which stopped the water flow. I decided to take the help of the village administration to remove these. Earth movers were brought to clear the barriers. This took about six months and water slowly started flowing into the lake. Two islands over 30 feet in height were also constructed inside the lake area to support the flowing. The freshwater gave hope to hundreds of farmers and the general population in the locality, who got no benefit from the lake for the past 45 years,” says the green warrior.
The river conservation activities took a lot of effort and money. Revathy shares that over Rs 45 lakh was spent on the process which was contributed by her sons.
“Both of them have always supported my ventures. They were happy to help this cause to better the livelihood of the villagers while taking a small step to save our planet from water scarcity,” she adds.
“While studying the river, the villagers shared their fond memories and how the encroachments got out of their control. Even though there were only a few fences and some waste, they couldn’t do anything about it because they were ignorant of the administrative proceedings and, of course, due to financial constraints. I’m glad that they live a better life now,” she says.
After the clearance, Revathy planted more than 4,000 saplings in the barren land. The place is now rich with greenery, chirping birds, butterflies and more.
“Cleaning of Raja Canal has to be done promptly. Otherwise, it could be the reason for floods and losing more rivers. The mission is still in progress,” she informs.
“Even though I have partly left the landscaping field to live a peaceful retired life, my love for plants, trees and flowers is only growing. I will continue to work for them and do every capable thing to save my planet,” says the sexagenarian.
Revathy shares that her aim is to educate students about ecological issues and inspire them to take initiative, thereby protecting human life and ecology.
Edited by Pranita Bhat; Photo credits: Revathy Kamath.