Many years ago, when I used to study in college, Damdama Lake used to be a wonderful picnic spot. It used to be a lake full of water, and boats that could be rented, and also a few hovercraft, an ideal place to unwind after a hectic week for picnickers and anglers who could catch a large variety of fish. This time when I visited the lake after nearly 12 years, I was surprised to see the famous Punjabi Singer Mika’s signboard proclaiming the boundary of a piece of land, no doubt a future farmhouse! What was not very surprising however, was the lack of water in the lake. Instead of rolling stretches of green, there were endless stretches of a fine kind of sand, the signs of an advancing desert! Time seems to have come to a stand still in Damdama, there has not been any visible infrastructural development in the area. The fish-farm ponds were dry, the road leading to the complex was crumbling and not much excitement was visible in the visitors.The tents which were given out on rent are missing, and so were the hovercraft, although some boating was indeed taking place! Of the few photographs taken by me, I have pasted some.
Well, I guess, this expanse of scrubland, and the lake bed on which my brother is standing were once upon a time covered with water! The soft sand that now covers most of the area is very dangerous as we came to know when our car got bogged down, and we had to huff and puff till some of the local people came over to help us out!
The boys in the photographs study in colleges in Gurgaon. Their common complaint was the poor connectivity of public transport between Damdama and Gurgaon. They have to go to Sohna, and then from there catch a bus to Gurgaon. The poor supply of electricity, old and literally crumbling electricity lines, and poor village roads and lack of a proper drainage system were some of the problems faced by them. Thus it is clear that not much has changed in Damdama in terms of infrastructure!
A spot of liveliness was provided by some of the water birds we saw feeding on fish guarded by the dog in the foreground, a perfect and balanced relationship between bird and mammals!
This beautiful picnic spot is falling victim to desertification and unless something is done to save it, it will soon disappear under advancing sand dunes! The large variety of fish that used to swim in the pristine waters of the lake will all be things of the past!