A Plea

God to man hath gifted nature
Whose nurture could do no one
So nature to man said,
I love thee no more

Felled you, my trees wantonly
Killed you my animals wantonly.
Polluted have you me thoroughly.
Nothing left have I to give you really.

Then man to nature pleaded
Nature oh my nature
I pray to you thee
Rain to me thou bless
For no drop of water have I
No grain have I to eat.

What will you do with your nuclear technology?

Probably you would do the same and the third person over there would also do the same.  But I won’t..

The question is directed on the countries who have developed the nuclear technology, reactors and so on. They have sunk in so much money on its development and they have a wonderful infrastructure to go ahead with setting up nuclear power plants in any part of the world. Can they afford to keep these  information unused? If they can’t use these in their own country, they would like to pass them on to other nations. It’s natural, I agree but is it moral?

One needs to remember that  nuclear  power plants have become death traps.  You never know when it may collapse and  pollute the atmosphere there and displace the  people. If you want to learn more on this topic, please consult Japan and they would tell you what happened  in Fukushima when an earthquake shook the area a few months back..

Would the Japanese people welcome setting up more plants in their land?Japan has already 16 nuclear power stations  of their own . They would cry out a big NO for increasing the present   number.  On the contrary they may demand shutting off of a few existing ones to save the country from a possible  holocaust . They would not want to see another Fukushima in these places.

The Japanese engineers and nuclear scientists understand this dilemma.   Could they let this investment lie idle and let the workers be paid for doing no work !

So, Japan is trying  to woo  some smaller nations into going in for nuclear power.  “It’s so cheap, you know?” The real purpose of this export magnanimity is to rehabilitate its own nuclear based persons and not to benefit the receiving countries.

Through this article I wish to warn such nations who consider nuclear power a modern  novelty, not to fall for such sales talk. Keep away.  Go in for hydel or thermal power plants but never  the nuclear variety.

Talking about our own land,India has 19 nuclear stations already  and four more   are on the pipe line including the one at Kudankulam in Southern India.  These are live volcanoes.  You never know when a volcano will erupt.  No amount of assurances will keep a volcano from erupting some time  and  at the time of its own choosing.

Personally I would suggest   replacing the nuclear power plants  with  Thermal power plants. We have a large quantum of coal deposit which can feed dozens of power stations   for decades.

Next, we have fifteen major  and perennial rivers in India.  Which country in the world can boast of so many rivers?  Why aren’t we making use of these rivers?

There is so much hesitation  even  for linking up all the rivers. Why?  Link them at the earliest. Once done, start an  internal water way system from Kanyakumari  to Kashmir.  Build  hydel power plants wherever technically possible along these rivers.

Shall we have a safer India?  And please don’t buy any more nuclear reactors nor set up any more nuclear power plants.

Do we need nuclear power?

In the aftermath of a series of tragedies that have struck Japan recently; what perhaps will linger for generations to come would be the recent outcome of a possible nuclear disaster. Nations like our own, are reviewing the security status of nuclear reactors . In the wake of such heart wrenching crisis, it is also the moment of interrogation. Do we need nuclear power ? Is man equipped enough to harbor such potentially dangerous source of energy? Humans are capable of using nuclear power, but at moments of crisis, like the one we have today, is it worth all the suffering ?

Nature showed us once again who is the boss. By producing sources of energy, which could turn lethal in a blink of  an eye, the risk surmounts to extreme levels. Today the debate regarding the use and necessity  of nuclear power is doing serious rounds amidst environmentalists, intellectuals,politicians and even lay-men.

Our earth is becoming potentially hostile day by day. With interpretations of phenomenons like the super moon, or Dec 21,2012, people world around are  paranoid.Threat of an earthquake, or a possible tsunami hit is not something unimaginable even for a country like India. So, in the wake of hope-crushing disaster, should we add to further dangers by producing nuclear technology? Do we really need it? Can we afford the catastrophe that might arise under a natural disaster ? Questions are strong and many. Answers don’t suffice, for it might still be too late or a bit early. It all depends not on our knowledge, but on our wisdom. Now, are we wise??

Why should some villagers go to bed hungry?

Yes, why should they? Statistics show  that we produce enough food grain annually  which  is sufficient  to feed every mouth.. Yet, some 240 million (i.e. 21 % of the total population) go hungry or they cannot eat more than one meal a day.  And almost the entire 240 Mn are village based citizens. Is anything wrong with our food grain  distribution system?  I do not think so. The PDS shops are available right up to the village level.  So, why?

They go hungry because they have no purchase power. Without money in their pocket, how could they buy their food grain?  They don’t have money because they have no job for more than half the year round.

A small percentage of the village population do commute to the cities and towns if they are nearby and within walking distance.  In an Indian city or major town there are enough jobs. Any migrant labourer  would always find some temporary job  on daily  wages. But the trouble is for the villagers living deep inside the land. They have no alternative at all.

In one of my earlier articles, I had suggested that we must set  up cottage industries to manufacture small items like spinning bamboo basket, brooms, roof cleaners, safety pins, dolls, play materials made of paper pulp, minor spare parts for machines and other manufactured equipment and so on. And they have to be trained in these professions. They then will have sufficient purchase power.

One proposal is to send our  undergraduate engineering students in their final semester to villages on a 2-4 weeks tour to study their problem and give suggestions for their survival.  The Engineering  Universities and colleges should motivate  their students in  this regard   and it would be an advantageous experience too for these students to get a glimpse of  a village life and develop ideas to rehabilitate them.

Another proposal is:  All our future medical and engineering colleges must be set up in far flung villages only. This should be no problem at all.  The government possibly could give the self financing institutions some subsidy in this venture. Existence of colleges at village level would generate hundreds of jobs and the students would find it easier to interact with the villagers.

Some thirty or forty years back, the government gave licenses to private entrepreneurs   to set up engineering  colleges only in the suburbs but now all they have to do is send them to the distant villages

Isn’t it unfortunate that the Indian Planning commission  had nothing in their  Planning bag for the villagers.  All are not farmers nor are they land holders. What has the Government done to them by way of planning, development and jobs?  Shouldn’t the Commission apply its mind on the problems of our villagers?

I also appeal to the rich  Indian diaspora  to adopt one or two villages advise them and provide  them with necessary finance at setting up cottage industries.

Most  of our  636,365 villages have a population less than 1000.

Let the  well off Indians do their mite for our villagers so that they too

prosper and not having to tighten their belt..

– – – – – – – –

Tadobaaa…ah!

The desire to visit a jungle sprung up when my school friend Sumit mentioned about his desire to visit Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Nagpur, Maharashtra sometime soon to add to his elaborate list of forest visits… well, they are not ordinary forests, but have to be tiger reserves, that’s how passionate this friend of mine is about tigers and seriously concerned about their dimming count. I was sure that irrespective of the Oppressive (with a capital O) summer heat, tiger sightings or not, I will have a good time with him given his experience in the wild. Another friend Debu, from my college tagged with me, so it was a threesome gearing up for a ride of expectation.

We took a train that starts from Kolkata in the afternoon and reached the heart of India, Nagpur early morning the next day. Then it was a car ride till a town Chandrapur, and then another 30 km ride to reach Tadoba. In-between Sumit’s experience warmed (literally) us to the fact that we have to purchase (and eat) lots of water melons to keep the body cool. In the meanwhile we had come to know that the temperature touches mid forties easily and the effect could be felt at Nagpur or Chandrapur… everyone on bikes seemed to have hit the road after robbing the bank, that how they have their faces covered, revealing only the eyes. We managed to load our car with two jumbo water melons, lot of grapes, and of course our bottles of chilled bear and headed towards MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corp) resort

When we reached Tadoba, it was 2 PM and the first ride into the Mohrali Range set off at3 PM. We changed, had a light lunch and hit the open green Maruti Suzuki jeep that we had booked. We were told that only petrol jeeps are permitted to ply in the forest area, keeping in mind the pollution and probably the sound that the diesel engine creates. The driver Bandu was a confident, strong lad, for whom we developed a liking in an hour of conversation. Slightly late for the first trip in-between a sea of cars, we set into the core with lot of expectations and thrills. Add Stayed at MTDC Resort. The first animal we saw within the first km was a langoor busy shuttling between trees. Our fingers started clicking the camera shutters to savor the moment of the first capture. One thing we, the first timers observed that there were lots of pools of water, locally called Taka constructed by the side of the road which feeds the animals with much needed water during the hot days and gives us opportunity to take their pictures in the process. As we went a little deep, we saw few cars huddled by the side of such a pool, waiting in expectantly with their cameras outstretched. Their cameras wore huge lenses and our digicams looked like toddlers to those. Bandu was quick to understand the situation and parked the car instantly to join the rest. The forest rule does not permit us to get down from our cars, all we could do is wait patiently without making much of a fuss in the stinging sun.

Then came the moment when the tigress made a grand entry and became centrestage, the cameras went berserk in burst mode. Content with everything going around, we thought “And it is just the start”. From that trip onwards, once we became bored, we came back to that waterhole for a sure sighting of the royal family, and they barely disappointed us.

The Royal Family crossing over...

In-between, we saw various kinds of deer, the spotted ones were plenty, the barking ones (they actually bark and also the smallest  variety) and the sambars (the biggest and as legend goes, the stupidest). The sambars were never scared to have their profile been shot, and it was fun filling up our cameras with their pictures. Then there were huge bisons (Indian Gaur) sipping from some waterhole or the other. In a place called Katezari (a range), which is greener of all ranges in the forest and holds subsequent amount of water even in the oppressive summer heat, we found bear footmarks on trees laden with honey bees, but always remained short of coming across one of them.

Been through so much in so little time, the male tigers stole the show. There were two of them one of which fondly called teri-poonch, meaning slanted tail (nothing more than a demarcation). We reached that in a cinematic way when our car followed the trail of a male tiger in a narrow road. After almost 20 mins of search, finally got to check out the huge species. Our meeting with the second male happened when we were only 20 feet away from each other, almost ignorant of our presence, he walked the other way and into the forest.

A dam called Telia-dharan (dam)... sighting Green and plenty of deer for the first time

Going through this, we may feel Aal Is Well with the gorgeous beasts, but it is far from so. Poaching is still active is few reserves, villagers in-between the forest throw tantrums when asked to be shifted somewhere else, politics in taking up responsibilities, are all burning issues. So much so that our PM Manmohan Singh had to step up and comment on the conservation of tigers in India. Precious little are being done since while we keep our fingers crossed that the count of tigers surpasses all expectations and crosses the official figure of 1411 till now.

Go Green with Solar roof Shingles

Form fits function. For example, some tropical flower nectar from deep flowers, which is reserved for the birds in the long, thin beaks and long tongues. The structure of these flowers not only serves to feed the birds, but to lure the birds to spread the pollen that comes from the nectar and pollination help themselves.

Recently, a declaration of biological engineers and architects used to produce innovative and useful products. One of the most promising of these days shingles.

What are Solar Roof Shingles?

Solar roof shingles are made of the same material used to produce solar cells. Solar shingles are photovoltaic cells, which are designed to take advantage of the photoelectric effect, but the sun is used to capture electrical energy consumption in general.

Solar roof shingles is a relatively new product. The first solar shingles were released back in 2005. The first wave of solar energy photovoltaic shingles look like a lot of cousins in terms of appearance and costs. But a lot has changed since the first day of the shingles on the market.

Energy collected by solar roof shingles can be used for electricity generation, and domestic and the public electricity grid. Most of the current system where  homeowners have these shingles have a network connection that allows the excess electricity produced by solar shingles to be fed back into the grid.

Adding solar roof shingles home helps the environment and save some money over time. Thanks to modern technology, now it looks like tiles, beautiful as the normal version. It also protects the home from the elements than the regular shingles, but they also help at home using solar technology. Materials of photovoltaic solar roof shingles convert the solar radiation into electricity.

The special combination of solar roofing shingles, slate, fiber cement, metal and asphalt roofing, wiring provide energy efficiency at home. They are extremely durable and are able to convert sunlight into electricity for up to 40 years. Solar roof shingles are easy to install and should be installed by solar energy expert, or a certified electrician. Roofers who install solar electric systems are often faulty. If the roof is not installed by solar-trained individuals, homeowners are also faced with problems such as leaky roofs.

Solar roof is popular in Germany, Japan and other countries with high electricity prices. Solar roof also gained popularity in North America; people are beginning to understand that our lifestyle choices have an impact on the environment. Probably will be the first choice for roofing in the future as more and more people see the long-term environmental and financial benefits of solar roof shingles offer.

Papa..Papa—Yes Johnny?..Using Plastic? NO Johnny!

Rewind to this cute nursery rhyme that used to go so well with the then toddlers—“Johnny Johnny Yes Papa…eating sugar- no papa….”. This very rhyme related so much to the innocent bunch of frolicking toddlers who used to be usually all over the place, making mischief, playing games, throwing tantrums and teaching you and I some lessons indirectly (on the importance of telling truth and nothing but truth!!!).

And now, fast forward to today, when children are quick, clever, precise, smart, savvy, brainy and enormously witty. Back then, there used to be a need of a nursery rhyme to bring home the importance of telling truth to children. But kids of today outsmart even their elders. They are smart at catching elders off guard, when elders themselves speak a lie or two, and then they thus question them as to why elders spoke lies…Today’s kids are daredevils and they fear none!

One such smart matter of fact witty and shrewd lad happens to be my nephew. Oh!  He’s an inexplicable source of energy, questions and clarity. Just like today’s generation of younger lot who know what they want with immense clarity, my nephew too falls into the similar category. He knows what’s right and what isn’t, of course of trivial day to day things which happen around daily life. I’m obviously not hinting at larger than life, complicated, philosophical aspects which children need not be aware of. I’m mostly referring to the mundane elements of life, and the limited world of children, and the limited things around which their innocent lives revolve.

So one day, my dear nephew’s class teacher gave the class an awe-inspiring lecture on environmental implications of using plastic. The children all listened with immense attention. On matters other than such practical issues, especially studies where their attention spans usually go for a toss, in this case where she spoke to them about the hazardous aspects of plastic, the kids listened and listened.

It wasn’t just the listening that needs a special mention here, but the assimilation and implementation which are truly noteworthy. That afternoon, when he returned home from school he was a changed boy. Not in terms of his mischievous behavior et al, but in specific terms of his attitude towards plastic.

As soon as he entered the house, he saw their maid servant carrying a plastic bag and going out. He quickly grabbed her bag, ran into the kitchen, and threw it away! Later that day when his mom returned from office with a plastic bag in tow, he reacted in similar fashion. He gave standing instructions to his grandparents that none should be seen around the house with plastic bags in their hands! He asked his grand mom where she carefully keeps all the plastic bags at home, and when she meekly answered him, this fellow quietly disposed off all the bags in one go, the following day. No one in the house could make out anything from his strange attitude of hatred towards the plastic bags. They tried to ask him, but in vain. He didn’t reply one bit. He wanted to be silent observer and analyzer of how all elders at home implement his standing orders.

Three days later after his first brush of hatred with plastic, his mom went shopping, and she came home with loads of plastic bags!

No sooner he saw that, he leaped on his mother and entered into a brawl with her as to why she wasn’t obeying his orders. Now it was all piling over, and hence she decided to probe into his behavior. After much probing she came to know about how their teacher had explained to them a thing or two on plastic and its bad effect on Earth.  Everyone at home tried to convince this little fellow as to how it was an impractical thing, not to use plastic and that the whole world uses it nonetheless. But our anti plastic obsessed hero wasn’t the kind who’d give up on these sweet convincing.

He went a step further in his project- “say- no to plastic”. For the two following Sundays, he actually sat in his room with a pile of newspapers, with all attention, and made paper bags! He took his dad’s help for this joint craft activity and came up with more than three dozen paper bags! The following day was a holiday from school. But he woke up extra early, stood by the door and whosoever he met, he handed them one paper bag—right from the newspaper boy, milkman, maid servant, laundryman, to everyone at home got one bag each. Five paper bags were sanctioned for fruit, vegetable and grocery purchases at home. He didn’t even spare the guests who were expected for dinner at their home that night.

This visionary seven year old boy then stashed some paper bags in his school bag. That afternoon he got down the bus and started walking home from his bus stop. His sight fell upon a fruit vendor selling some guavas and apples round the corner. He immediately walked near him. The fruit vendor thought that he might be interested in buying guavas. But this guy had other plans! He picked up his pile of plastic bags, dumped them all on the ground and handed him the paper bags which he’d carried along in school. He promised to the fruit vendor that he would bring him more such good paper bags tomorrow, if he promises to sell his ware only in paper bags!

Wow! Now this is what I call hard core implementation; and going into the crux of the issue and uprooting the actual problem, even if it means going out of the way. This is a living example of practice what you preach, being exemplified by none other than a child. They say, don’t take people by their literal words. But here’s an example of a seven year old boy who not only took the words of his teacher literally, but went a step further at implementing what was preached to him.

This generation is thus too smart to outwit. They are bold enough to question you and me on our face- Papa..Papa—Yes Johnny?..Using Plastic?….Yes Johnny…And they have an ability to transform our thought process, if only we are ready to let go. This Johnny brigade has the potential to correct the wrong things going on this planet. All that they need is the right avenues to harness their potentials. And our wee bit encouragement is the slice of the pie that they need.

Unparalleled beauty

If you  are  willing  to  hide  and  seek  with  nature than   get  your  bag  packed  for  one  of  the  craziest  wonder  on   Earth; Sikkim.

I  have  had  my  Goosebumps  when  I  have  seen  the  3rd highest  mountain  peak  in  the  world; the Kanchenjunga. Eternal  beauty  of  Kanchenjunga  is  the  main  source   of  tourism in  the  surrounding 4 states.

At  first I have  taken  the  northwards  bus  from  Kolkata  to  visit  Gangtok, from  there on  I  could  see  the serenity  that  Sikkim  can  offer. I  live  in  an industrialized city called  Durgapur in  West Bengal. So  this  kind  of  natural  beauty  seemed  new  and  breathtaking  to  me. I guess  you  would  feel  the  same……….

From  Gangtok  I  had  gone  to  Runtek  cave. The  place  is  situated  at  24  Km  SW  from  gangtok. It  is  one  of  the  richest  cultural  monastery situated  on 1550 m of  Rainvul  valley. Except  that there’s  so many  other  beautiful  places  to  visit  that  no one  could  imagine. Jaharlal Nehru  botanical  garden, Lingdun Monastery   to  name  a  few. I  have  visited  all  the  places  in  one  day, the  day  after reaching  Gangtok, but  I  would  love  to  suggest  to  take  few  more  time  to  enjoy  the  beauty  of  those  place  if  you  have  time.

One  of  my  favorite  spot  is  Changu  lake. Which  is  situated  a  35 km from  China-Tibet boarder.

The  calmness  of  this  lake  is  something  new  and  the  beauty  is  really  inexpressive. Eco-tourism  is  having  a  burst   in  Sikkim, thanks  to  this  lake  and  all  those  beautiful  places  I  mentioned, but  above  all   ,the  place  is  having  a  cover  of  lush green  greenery  which  is  the  prime  reason  of  sustainability  over  here. 36%  of  Sikkim  is  covered  with  natural  vegetation; shal, oak,maple, chestnut are  some  mother’s  nature’s  son  here.

I  have  my  special  moment  from  Sikkim  when  I  have  seen  plentiful  of  color  through  beautiful  Orchids, as  I  have  never  seen  them  before. Thousands  of  butterflies  were  flying  over  those  colorful  wonders. Another  specialty  of  this  place  is  adventure  sport. Whoever  love  to  stick  around  and  fly  over  the  valley, trekking, rafting  are  all  here  to  be  done.

I  had  spent only  4  days on  the  top  of  the  world. I  had  my  mood  filled  with  serene  and  pure  beauty  of  nature. The  day  I  have  come back  I never  really adjust  to  the  noise  of  artificial  life. I  always  would  prefer  to  go back  and surrender to  the  calm, uncomplicated, fresh  beauty  of  Sikim, What  about you?

Direction:  BY  plane from  Kolkata  to  Bagdogra, then  from  there  on  take  Sikkim  tourism  bus  or  hire  a  private  cab.

Once Upon a Time– A Joyride…

The other day, one of my friend’s seven year old son and she were having a relaxed conversation at home. They were talking about many things under the sun. School, homework, vacation plans…etc being just some of the topics discussed. In the course of the conversation, somehow my friend made a passing reference to him, that years back, as a ten year old girl, she used to ride on a bicycle to her school. As such, the school was about 20 minutes from her place of residence, but still, she managed to cycle her way to school every day.

The friend’s son’s ears immediately stood up; and he was hardly attentive that afternoon to everything else that they spoke about later in the conversation—because his mind was stuck on only one aspect— that mom cycled her way to her school, when she was as young as ten years old. The idea was somehow novel to the chap, and thirty minutes into the light conversation that they were having, he was lost somewhere in his own thoughts.

He didn’t make any effort to extend the dialogue on that day. However the next day, he curiously asked his mom “How about letting me ride a cycle to school, when I turn ten, mom?” For a second, she couldn’t gather what he was hitting at. But then, she understood. With a deep sigh, she tried to divert his attention to something else. But considering the fact that this generation of kids is too smart for parents to fathom and assimilate, she knew she’d have to put her foot down and give her point blank refusal to his “cycle ride to school mission”.

When further probed by her son, demanding a valid reason from her, as to why he wouldn’t be allowed, she sat down on the living room sofa and stated in a plain voice- “ Once upon a time, when I was ten, this world used to be a different place, baby. Riding a cycle to school was common back then. It used to be like a joyride, which we all really used to look forward to. It was wonderful hopping up and down, bobbing down the sparsely populated streets, along the markets, amidst the cool shade of trees, to just ride coolly and reach school”.

“Just look at the streets today. They are pouring with crowd and vehicles of all sorts. The vehicles are dominating the scene. Cycle rides are no longer considered joyrides. It’s no longer a pleasure to ride your way, because everything around the very experience of riding a cycle has changed. The streets are no longer quiet, the markets are buzzing, the cars and buses have multiplied. Almost everything associated with roads has undergone a sweeping change. Accidents are commonplace these days. Not a day passes off when we do not read about road rage and accidents associated with it. Cities have become maniac and crazy after fast life. It is only in pockets that we see people riding their cycles today, especially, it is prevalent when some rally or something similar is organized, to bring home some awareness about living pollution free. Otherwise, we hardly get to see people going out on their bicycles. It is always the cars, scooters and public transport that is mostly used. In fact, cities today do not even have any cycle zone, wherein people can peddle their way without having to worry about whether any car or big vehicle might hit them. So, it’s just that the road mechanics these days isn’t suitable for a cycle rider. It is only for the privileged “carbon footprint” enhancers like cars, scooters, motorbikes et al, to whom civic society of today caters to”.

So saying, my friend stopped. She knew she was getting slightly nostalgic and at the same time, slightly irritable about how life has changed—for better or for worse—she didn’t know. But she was sure it definitely had. For, once upon a time, it all used to be a joyride; but today it no longer was; and she knew she had a daunting task at hand convincing her child when he would turn ten, as to why it was a not so good idea to cycle his way to school. For the time being at least, he looked convinced. But knowing today’s demanding kids, she knew at the back of her mind, that someday when he’s close to being ten, he’d surely bring up the topic yet again. And that was exactly what she momentarily didn’t want to think about. So she left him on the living room couch to do his drawing/ painting, while she went to the balcony musing about how fascinating those joyrides really were, and how today’s generation is missing out on the simpler pleasures of life….

Tall, Dark and Handsome…still yummy??

I love John Abraham, he is an absolute hunk. But getting to see him talking about how he takes care of his skin ,i.e make/keep it fair,left me a bit perplexed…whatever happened to the Tall Dark Handsome men !! Being an avid reader of romances like Mills & Boons,and being one who looks upon GONE WITH THE WIND  as the bible of romance, its difficult to accept this strange male obsession with fair skin. Those heroes in the romances,especially in the books of 80s & 90s and GWTW, which came way before M&B s,all the heroes , even when they belong to the Caucasian whites, are portrayed as having a dark demeanor. Rhett Butler in GWTW is dark compared to his woman.

Back then, darkness was synonymous to masculinity. A virile, masculine male inadvertently had a swarthy or something mysterious about him that both excites and frightens the maidens. He is like that lone dark horse which gallops in the open fields, almost impossible to tame and too hard to possess  but too exciting to let go.

Times before 80’s & 90’s, saw dark men completely taken into cruelty as portrayed in literature. The famous Shylock of Shakespeare is dark complexioned, something that indicates his evil nature. The blacks were often portrayed as potential rapists and men fuming with violence, all because of their skin color. But this portrayal also suggests the insecurity that a white man faced when compared himself to a black. The blacks look more virile & masculine compared to a Caucasian white and hence a white dominated world, portrayed blacks hence.

But coming down time,the potential of the evil/darkness to excite and attract was better understood. Hence heroes like Rhett Butler, Heathcliff… came into being. All dark and possibly unconquerable, but in reality they are waiting for their right woman to redeem them. Now that makes it all the more exciting, as Beatles say ” All you need is love ” !

I stick to the paradigm of darkness and virility which also accentuates the femininity and fragility of the woman. And this shift in concepts all boils down to market and our God-given dusky skins. So with all the women chasing fair skin, it leaves only the men. Now ,why should they be spared from the rat-race!

Unchained melody

Looking out the window, eyes delightedly viewed the generous clouds opening up, giving way to raindrops, eager to drench my land. And in fraction of a second, the parched ground came to life, emitting a scented aroma. Magically the ground transformed itself into grass; a mammoth green carpet was being created, and gradually flourishing crops started swaying from side to side.

Raindrops—they created all this green magic.

Their rhythm is always so predictable; and their sound, a sound of music.  When they fall, it’s as if heavens are joining their hands and beckoning all that is good and pure to touch upon the numerous lands and valleys, so also lives of people, overflowing them with abundance & prosperity, and giving them all a new birth; a desired rejuvenation.

The sound of raindrops is always welcoming to ears, which have otherwise grown unduly accustomed to the noises overpowering the cities. The angry horns, blazing engines with puffed smokes, and the endless insurmountable monotony of this nonsensical noise is definitely not music to one’s ears.Nowadays, to add to the flurry of these meaningless sounds, we have the additional paid melody of “ring tones” overpowering us. The natural sound of raindrops is far melodious than these electronic musical pieces.

Whereas raindrops are those audible treats which fall from above like someone is showering sweet irresistible goodies.  And then heart feels like gathering each and every precious goodie, by spreading the two hands, looking up and saying a big thank you to that Someone who is obliging us with the droplets. Even constant, unstopped showers with sound of raindrops never feel like a source of disturbance.  One feels particularly thrilled when those droplets relentlessly & persistently keep falling down, and a time comes when they completely shadow the noise of our yelping engines.

There’s one more unchained melody which is seamlessly music to ears. It’s the chatter of children- constant, ever so noisy, but always a pleasure. Put a bunch of children in a room, and within micro seconds, see the room come alive. It’s a fascinating experience, with all the “hulla-gulla”, and overflowing bubbles of energy breathing therein.

And needless to say, another such unchained melody to ears is always a beautiful song, which brings us back to our spirits; transforming our feelings; enriching our minds, and captivating our hearts.

So, life around us does consist of such melody in great profusion. It’s just that the busy lives need to sit back and unwind the beauty in each of these melodies, before it’s too late and these tunes begin to fade away. After all, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. So, it is all how one perceives it. One has to start searching for music in the little joys of life; only then an orchestra can start playing a symphony in the splashing fountain of one’s hearts, bringing on one’s platter, the intractable & overwhelming moments of unchained melody…

new territory

Blogging was there on my mind for long time.  Here I am on indianblogworld to write something about my MIND.  There is some anxiety how will this go.   I remember my first trek to Yeoor hills. Not aware what is trek. Friends shared that its fun-to-join.  I was enthralled by the beauty of post monsoon jungle.  The sound of gushing waters, green everywhere.  Suddenly on the jungle road we heard a sound that was similar to tiger growling by lowering his head.  My god !! this is my first trek and are we part of tiger’s menu today.  We continued walking, as some trek nerd had advised “never stop and return”.  Later I found that even Bull’s are good mimics.  There was big Bull around 500 mtrs. ahead of us and that beast was making sound of growling that resembled tiger’s growling.  It was so much fun after that.

The Bloggers world, I can smell the freshness of the nature, colours of butterflies, unknown friends who shared snacks and jokes.   Its open diary to my mind, past, present and future.

Jay ho !!

Earning Eves

The recent Bangalore murder of a wife by her software engineer husband, sheds some light on the  thin balance of domestic politics. As for now,the reason behind the brutal murder of the only 6 days old bride, is her 3 times bigger pay packet ! Now its utterly bewildering .

Domestic politics is also sexual. The sexism in a man-woman relationship cannot be negated,since a major chunk of it still lies buried inside biology and traditions. Globalization might have reached our doorsteps in many forms, but its yet to enter into the heads of our society. Now I’m not pinging on this murder issue, but on the major issue of the extend of female independence in this country. If freedom is the pursuit of happiness, then it sure includes earning one’s own livelihood. This is sadly denied to many women. In fact a woman earning more in a household is most of the time taken as an insult to the males in the house.

If the divorce rates have increased in recent times, it has got a lot to do with women becoming empowered. But empowerment is not outside culture, its only when it threatens the security of the man, that she is deemed nontraditional and chained to her home. But fortunately, there are men, who are man enough to recognize their partners as their equals. Women don’t have to prove a point to anybody and with this confidence alone comes her empowerment. Man and woman have to co-exist. Happy homes are indeed made of love and mutual respect, not out of oppression and adjustment. Women of today, stands shoulder to shoulder with their men and they forward the society towards betterment so.

If “think globally” has become a cliche, then there are many yet to hear it. Now what happened in the Bangalore murder is not known to anyone yet, but its sad to find a young bride brutally murdered because she earned better. This is not an isolated case, the society has been intolerant towards its females from time immemorial. However, earning Eves are rising by numbers day-by -day.

Popeye’s Premonition

Like us, even our pets, especially dogs are averse to visiting docs. I remember one such incident when I had to take my Labrador for a check up. Its so true, about dogs and premonitions. Popeye (that’s my dog)that morning, started giving me suspicious glances, always wary of me every time I came a few steps near him. I guessed he would be thinking of two of his greatest fears, bath or vet. I still can’t understand which is his greatest fear.

However, when he was given sweetened milk as a treat, he concluded its gonna be his worst day. He refused to have breakfast and when I cajoled him to get into the car, he ran and hid behind the bed. Handling a 3 yr old lab, is by no means an easy task. So I had to fetch in my neighbor with whose help, I pulled him into the car. For all those animal lovers there, I tried all sweet talks and even bribery. Force was my last resort and after every visit to the vet or bath, I always wondered why wasn’t it my first resort! Coz this guy won’t walk willingly into either.

He grumbled inside the car and the more he grumbled the more I sang aloud. He can’t tolerate my singing and he knows I can’t tolerate his grumblings. So its all about who irritates the other one more into silence. He started rolling in the back seat and that’s when I really gave him a lecture which shut him up for a while. Dogs are quick learners, at least mine is. At the traffic signal, I still don’t know how he managed to open the door and flip out. People started shouting and that’s when I realized what had happened. Caught in between the traffic I couldn’t go behind him. I was scared, angry and panic- stricken. Images of Popeye being hit by a vehicle loomed in front of my eyes and I was also worried about where he was going. We were already about 5 kms away from the house. He will get lost, so as soon as the traffic opened, I managed to turn back. I drove frantically.

Popeye had a liking for sweets, and during our walks which was always inside our colony, he would stop at a small sweet shop often. But I couldn’t find him anywhere. I was about to give up when my mobile rang and my ma asked me to come back. When I got home, I found my pooch lazing on my ma’s lap. I swear, for all the love I have for him, he really could get on my nerves like none. He knew I was angry and I totally refused to acknowledge him. After an hour, he came around nudging my hand. These guys are clever, they know how to melt your heart in a nudge. However, mine melted. I was happy & relieved to find him at home. However, he did  get his checkup, this time the doc came to us. And for once Popeye had no premonitions, I caught him completely off-guard!

Flowers in my Garden.

They welcome me

Flowers

every new morning

they greet me

when we meet

they smile at me

they giggle seeing me

they appear like

shaking hands with me

they become alive

when they feel my presence

when they tremble & shake

they appear to dance

they bloom in every hue and color

to honour me.

the beautiful flowers and

lively green plants in my terrace

garden brighten up and start sparkling

seeing me why should they

not be happy seeing

me because I water

them every morning

making them feel

nourished and satiated.
——————————————————————————————————————-
My feelings about my plants and flowers in my garden and how they react, when I water them every morning.

Cycle your way …

First of all let me make an honest confession..I love to cycle but can only do for a few minutes on a road which is leveled..take me uphill and I soon end up panting and puffing.
So cycling is not an easy task when you want to go uphill….well looking at the situation a little philosophically going uphill in life is not easy in any case.
Well besides the bi-cycling I am also talking about up-cycling! lets get going….

Technically the term means “The process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” Well it sounds something similar to re-cycling but again technically looking at re-cycling it is defined as “Processing used materials into new products “.The difference is in the processing.

Well I am not talking against re-cycling but yes in this small write up of mine I intend to discuss about up-cycling.

Not that I have never ever used a cloth bag which my mom would have stitched out of a skirt which I had outgrown (of-course goes without saying I cribbed to her then endlessly that she was being very very stingy and “middle class”). I confess for being being a “show-off” when I converted a coke can into a pencil stand which stood proudly on my desk when in those yester-years coke in a can was a happening thing! I have ample of such childhood instances when my mom was being middle class, I was being a show off and we were up-cycling without even knowing about it!! Having evolved from the childhood whims I do not fail to identify any opportunity of making best of any waste I see around and now I tag that being “eco-friendly”. And they say what’s in a name!!
Well this weekend I got more intrigued by up-cycling once again when I came across products by http://www.terracycle.net. I really hope you go and visit their site to know how they have managed to set an example for making best out of waste. Well that was only to give you an insight into how big this can get but each one of us could get going in small ways in our houses. Am pretty sure a lot of us already might be doing it and hope you share your experiences with the wider audience here. While I share some of mine in this article..

1) Ever used glossy magazine pages/covers to do a nice gift wrap? Trust me it sometimes looks as jazzy, just use your innovation right.
2) If not magazine covers I have also sometimes wrapped gifts in old newspapers and pepped it with some colorful streamers or drawings. Looks nice! (Feels good too)
3) See those nice kiddie taste pictures on the carton boxes of cereal etc you buy for your little one. Cut them out and use as gift tags or items in a collage for his room.
4) Like a said before be hep convert those coke cans, baked bean cans or whatever u buy -can into a spoon stand, pencil stand or even a small flower pot stand. Wrap it up in foil or glaze paper and of course put in a dab of your imagination and color pallet. Trust me you will love to show off with these.
5) Cut out windows and doors on a card board box (eg shoe box) and pull up a roof on it. Cover it with white paper and ask your little one to paint his house in his imagination. A 3 day do-it-yourself project for your school going kid. If you have lots of these get one by each of your child’s friends. They will love you for this one.
6) Put some stain glass color paint with your art on any used glass bottle (wine,champagne, vinegar etc) and convert it into a nice looking flower stand by your sunny window.
7) Batteries that have been chewed and discarded by heavy items like a camera can be used for days together to ring that alarm clock or the musical toy for your little one – think before disposing them. (this might not be up-cycling but it sure is going uphill)

So it be recycle, up-cycle, bicycle – cycling is sure a step towards a healthy tomorrow for us and the mother earth.

Switzerland meets India

Well, Switzerland can never meet India… be it the size of the two countries and their populations, the infrastructure, the colour of people or the huge geographic distance! Then what am I up to? Been in Switzerland on work and seeing the best, am just comparing the good things the two countries possess or should possess to go the distance.

Many would argue, Switzerland is anyway a first world country, a big economy; while India is an emerging economy, a country still marred by violent terror attacks (26/11/2008, Mumbai, more recently Pune German bakery, anyone?). Well, it’s India… who has to go the distance, inspired by first world countries…

After the Mumbai aftermath, when the irresponsibility of politicians and bureaucrats are being held responsible for all the security lapse which cost us 170 plus innocent lives, the first thing that comes to mind is making situation of politics in India similar to Switzerland, where the ultimate power does not lie with the seven-member Swiss Federal Council (for more info, visit Politics in Switzerland… you can’t ask for more in English), but with the common people, who can change the law with majority voting, in the process, getting rid of corrupt politicians. Well, this is not possible with a huge population in India and with so many poor people who barely get heard. Hence progress of the poor is a necessity and going by the latest, Govt is doing something for the poor (the buzzword is the letter ‘I’ for Industrialization).

Normal Indian road.. never away from action

Serene road in Switzerland.. picturesque always

When will the infrastructure of India be like Switzerland? Never… because India has broader roads than Switzerland does… with such a miniscule population (population is less than any big metro in India! we really have a hearty laugh on it…), the small country barely needs wider roads; Jokes apart, it is true that India needs roads as wide as possible! However, I am speaking about the quality of the roads… barring a few recently made roads and highways, India barely has good roads even in the city, and which remains congested during the peak hours!! This brings me to the wonderful transport system Switzerland has… admitted to be best even by European standards. I am looking forward to the day when all transports in India will be driven by a single body with high on maintenance and low on politics, so that normal people ditch their cars for public transports.

The natural beauty in Switzerland is breathtaking which the Swiss are quite proud of. They are born with it and (other than wasting a lot of paper… as seen in office, and keeping the lights of the shops on in the name of advertisement) do a lot to maintain the green – abandon cars, bike to work being a few of the initiatives. India has a few regions proud of the greens, but normally the cities and the towns cut a sorry figure! We really need to buck up, as nature is already talking to us with the severe hurricanes, tsunamis, ails and many more names of devastation coming up every fortnight.

The aged in Switzerland probably have a sorry tale to tell… they expect their children to be out of their homes and independent at a tiny age, thus leaving them with no other option but to look after themselves when old. It’s sad looking at them out on the road all by themselves, sometimes barely being able to walk! India scores much higher here, if there is anything we strongly feel about and are proud of as Indians, it’s our culture…. We are respectful and responsible towards our parents and anyone aged and look to be with them throughout. Respect to old people comes naturally to us, and is something Switzerland and all first world countries need to look at and make positive laws on!

Initially, when I was here, I was surprised seeing fellow Indians greeting me, whether or not we had ever come across each other! This behavior, compared to the behavior shelled out at Indians by fellow countrymen in ‘layered’ Indian society, pleasantly shocked me. If only we can have an India where people show respect to each other, we will have problems half to what we have now.

No country is perfect. I have witnessed petty infractions on streets of Zürich, which probably will never happen in India. Why? Because the Swiss are so “peace loving”, they would never object! It’s different that in India, people are always objecting to something or the other. We are built that way, perhaps.

Looking forward to an India which would fulfill the positives discussed- no fights in the name of politics, world-class financial institutions (I am told, the Nazi money that Switzerland acquired was invested mainly in academics, which is the reason for the country’s roaring scientific success), love and faith among people and where all Indians greet each other Grüetzi (German for ‘Hello’), the Swiss way.

Let’s paint the Earth Green.

Swipe through TV channels, turn the newspapers, shuffle some journals, and this is what is preached all over. That Earth is getting warmer, that emission norms aren’t up to the standards, that pollution levels are dangerously rising, that Arctic ice is fast melting— everything agreed. But the point is “what are you and I doing about it?”

We human beings have evolved taking people around us for granted, so how can Nature be an exception? We have taken Nature for granted all this while, and it is all going to have a domino effect on us. And Nature’s fury is real time; coming to us with a Bang!. We saw it in Katrina; We saw it in Tsunami; and we saw it in Aila.

Ok. Leave it. Why go so far? Why speak in macro terms? Let’s try and speak in micro terms.

How many of us make birthday resolutions? How many of us stick to them and fulfill them? How about making an “Environmental friendly” resolution for a change? No resolutions related to weight loss regimes, or diet sticking sprees, or budgeting vows, or career related self promises, but doing a resolution purely to do with being nature friendly.

They celebrate a World Environment Day to hold placards and express uproar, and create awareness on the implications of harsh vengeance of Nature. But how about trying to make every single day an environment friendly day?

It’s hard thinking about it, and more so, sticking to it. But come to think of it, it will soon become the order of the day.

Are there any quick fix solutions to reverse the situation? The answer is NO. But tiny baby steps in this direction will matter. So be it planting double the number of trees as much as somebody axes them is just one gesture. And when this gesture is undertaken on a mass scale, imagine the impact! When car pooling starts happening extensively among office goers, imagine the cut down in carbon emissions. When cyclists aren’t looked down upon as merely faltering beings coming in the motorists’ way every now and then, and when cycling as a substitute to driving/ riding becomes a norm, rather than being an exception to the norm, we will be doing acts seeming like droplets in ocean, but those droplets will multiply. And after all, droplets do make oceans. When eco friendly homes no longer remain on paper, but get made in front of us, when we as consumers demand they be made, when efforts are made to bring in a legislative framework to such requirements, when solar energy conservation and rain water harvesting start becoming as common as road side restaurants and cafes, we’ll get the hang of what marvels environment protection will do. When car pooling starts becoming a mass effort, rather than barely a handful of people acting upon it, their results will be in front of our eyes.

So let’s get up. I won’t say buckle up. That will be like contradicting myself.

A small effort today to paint the earth green will go a long way……

Try to make this birthday resolution a little different; a little green.

Bear everything, Be happy

He did not promise a problem-free day or life. By looking at others who are less fortunate than us, our problem seems to acquire its right dimensions. We have this strange tendency to harp on a problem and keep thinking about it and talking about it…

We love to magnify the small problem and allow it to grow to gigantic proportions. Perhaps, we should learn to let happy thoughts dominate our today, and problems if seen in their true dimensions, will simply fade away into tomorrow…

Pain – Unbearable Pain – Whether it is emotional, physical or mental – jolts you to the very core of your being. It is during such trying times that we dig into our deepest reserves of faith and strength of character. It is then that we turn to Him and know that He will take us through the difficult time…

That He is there with us, beside us – always. The tears flow freely, the intensity of pain is excruciating and you feel truly, truly alone. No one – No one – but you can truly understand what you are going through. And He will take care of this too. Bear everything, Be happy…

conservation-local & global

A recent visit to the local fish market left me astounded.The market was thick with many varieties of fish and crustaceans. They were an eye full. Now what astounded me was the presence of endangered fishes like hammerhead sharks amidst the catch. Now, I’m no marine expert, but I for sure know that this particular specie of sharks have been listed endangered by the World Conservation Union.There were plenty of them and they were all small, so I guessed they were babies.The sight of  piles of these fishes really made me wonder about the futility of our conservation programmes.

The need to better educate these people were more than just visible. They were quietly unaware of the fact that they were selling the remnants of  an almost extinct animal.The phrase,’Think globally, act locally”, cannot have a more apt application. If conservation processes has to work, the education of the local masses is a must. Since conservation is a combined process, the thought and the action have to meet completely. Hence, to suit the phrase, the education of the fisher folk is a must on the science of conservation. Now where to start and how to go about it are issues best left to the science people. As a simple nature lover, all I could really hope for is a better tomorrow.

Process like conservation can only work if the local support has been gathered. We have innumerable instances where people have come together to rescue life. Without sacrificing livelihood, I hope something can be done to beat this ignorance.