Delhi Smog: Our Contribution

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Delhi, The national capital of India has been in the news recently for its alarming high level of pollution levels. Apparently, it is fifteen times over the limit. The whole city is shrouded in smog and the visibility levels have decreased drastically. The situation is so appalling that the government had to shut down schools for three days. Temporary measures include banning construction work and power plant for five days.  There are also a host of other measures that the government plans to take.

There are many short-term and long-term implications of such high levels of pollution including:

  1. Respiratory problems
  2. Higher risk of ADHD in children
  3. With increased content of lead, chances of abnormal mental growth also increases.

For people who think staying indoors will solve the problem, such high levels of pollution also causes indoor air contamination.  You can find a  official detailed list of health risks here for better understanding.

All the major social networking sites are filled with angry citizens disappointed with the government’s lack of plan of action to tackle this situation. And it is total failure on the governments part but we are the world’s largest democracy. Our motto being for the people, by the people, of the people. We have active contribution in our nation’s progress and problems. Our water resources have already been contaminated to levels where we cannot drink them without proper filtering process. With such air quality it won’t be long when we will wearing and installing air purifiers in our homes.

Earlier in 2016, Beijing city China Had reported alarming levels of toxicity of air. A Chinese man accumulated tons of particles by vacuuming air in the city only in a couple of minutes. There was also news of people selling packets of fresh air. Our lakes, rivers, canals and ponds have already been polluted. Industries releasing their waste in the local water bodies have ruined the complete ecosystem. One such recent incident was the Hindustan levers mercury drainage in Kodaikanal which has been causing birth defects amongst the local population. Know more here.

How do we contribute the destruction of our own beautiful nation?

  1. The Double Standard: We believe in cleanliness and hygiene but only within the boundaries of our home. Anything else it is not our concern.
  2. Visit any residential area in most parts of the country and you will find a nearby corner or an empty plot of land where people take the liberty to dump their waste. Polythene bags filled with waste ranging from kitchen to toxic waste all in one place. Our sense of cleanliness is satisfied once we dump the garbage out of our sight.
  3. Public Transport Is For the Poor: Using a public transport for your daily commute is the best option for an individual, the society, the environment and the nation as well. But I have encountered many people say that they are not so economically backward that they have to use public transport. How will you be poor, in fact, you will be rich with all those expenses you avoid by opting for public transports. Other common complaint is a lack of cleanliness and orderliness in the public transport. But my question is who makes it unclean? The answer brings me to the next point which is
  4. Not My Job: This phrase is most commonly used by us than casual greetings. Every work or attempt at contributing towards the society except the ones that pay is considered somebody else’s job. This can range from filing your taxes to disposing a wrapper in a dustbin.

Our Indian heritage places nature at the utmost level of devotion. It is not a secret that natural resources are exhaustible. If we continue with our habits, we will destroy our planet, the only place you can live.

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(Mis) Adventures Of the New Missus

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Pre-marriage shopping is the most exciting part of any marriage. On one such day when we returned back with many bags, I noticed my mother lost in deep thought. Thinking that she might be feeling sad of me going away, I asked her what she was thinking. To my surprise she snorted back and gave me a look of disapproval. After which she started accusing my father for bringing me up as a boy instead of a girl. She said it’s because of his pampering that I would face difficulties at my in-laws place, since I knew nothing about household work. Accepting the fact that I actually didn’t know anything, I looked at my father crestfallen. My father looked at me reassuringly and retorted back at mom saying I can use technology for learning everything. It’s not a problem at all.  Hearing my father’s words, I was relieved.

The very next day my father gifted me a tablet stating it would help me out in every situation that I face after marriage. I readily agreed since Google has answers for everything, plus with the convenience of the tablet, it would be a win win situation. My mother was still not convinced.

Nevertheless, I got married. The honeymoon period got over.  Routine life started.  I was a bit nervous about facing the challenges ahead. But armed with my tablet. I was sure I would conquer them all.

Most of the challenges resulted in misadventures 😦

Some of them are as below:

  1. Cooking: I had already bookmarked few recipes which, in my false pride, I thought were easy. On the very first day, I hoisted my tablet, on top of the stack of containers (since it doesn’t stand on its own) to get a better view of the recipe. To prove my efficiency, I started cooking multiple recipes simultaneously. Initially everything seemed to be in control, but after some time everything become a mess and in my rush to avoid things from burning, I dashed against the containers holding my tablet, losing my balance. By the time I regained my balance the tablet fell straight to the ground nicking its edges away. Thankfully the screen remained intact. Distracted by the fall, I forgot all about the food. 😦
  2. The next day some of the relatives who were not able to attend our marriage were paying a visit. My mother in law suggested me to drape a sari. After the debacle in cooking, I was determined to perform well in the new task. I took hold of my faithful companion and started searching for video tutorials. When I found a suitable one, I placed the tab on my dressing table and started following the tutor step by step. After first few steps, I got confused. I stared at my reflection in the mirror not knowing what to do next. That’s when my sister in law came to inform that the guests have arrived.  With the half draped sari, I reached out for the tablet, to replay the tutorial. Unfortunately I tripped and also lost grip of the tablet. We both fell down with a resounding thud. Every came rushing worried. I had to assure them it was nothing. But when I came out wearing a salwar kameez. My in-laws understood including the guests and I could sense them suppressing their laughter. I was so embarrassed. And yes for the tablet, it survived, though with a huge scratch on its screen.
  3. After few days, my husband posted our pictures on Facebook. To my dismay all my friends thought I was on the heavier side and some of them even started calling me aunty. I was so distressed.   Insecurity filled me and unfounded fear of my husband rejecting me started to haunt me. That’s when my best friend suggested yoga to me. We had attended a yoga workshop during our college. So I knew the basics. Determined to lose weight within a week, I woke up early in the morning, took hold of my tablet again and played video of yogasana; my friend had recommended and claimed guaranteed results. With full enthusiasm, I started working out, after first two cycles, I felt I had mastered it and stretched my leg so hard that it sent the tablet flying away. Unfortunately, this time the tablet didn’t survive and shattered into a hundred pieces.

After all this, I was so depressed that I started rating myself as the worst wife ever and was about to give up. Noticing my sadness, my husband comforted me and asked me not to be so hard on myself. I felt at ease and started practicing meditation and yoga to calm my nerves. In a matter of few weeks, I felt I had lost some weight, plus with the help of my mother in law, I could cook decently and also manage to drape a sari.

I was happy with myself and I attributed all my success to yoga which helped me achieve equilibrium. Filled with contentment, I lloked over my room with appreciation when my eyes fell on my broken tablet. I wished if there could be some form of yoga for tablets too. I don’t want tablets to exercise 😛 but like yoga brings a sense of perfectness to us, there should be a perfect tablet.

My perfect tablet would be:

  1. A tablet that could stand on its own.
  2. Scratch proof screen.
  3. Waterproof.
  4. Could be firmly held so that it doesn’t slip away if your hands are greasy.
  5. Longer battery life.
  6. Vibrant color body. (since you carry it around all the time)
  7. Has a strong body, so that it could survive accidents.

          I sincerely hope that like yoga has positive effects on us, yoga tablet does the same to tablets. 😀

 

This blog serves an entry for the contest Lenovo Yoga Tablet #Better way hosted at indiblogger.in

Enlightenment

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I was experiencing the tried and tested plot of many Hindi movies: bus travel, window seat, mild drizzle, passing green landscapes and a sad girl. Perfect setup for emotional flashbacks. And flashback it was, every little incident replayed in the form of a movie, directed by my heart and showcased on the window pane of the bus which acted as the screen, am I the solo viewer. The sad ones made me smile, and the happy ones made me cry. Irony indeed!

Deeply engrossed, I had reached the intense scene when I was caught by my parents bunking college, , my father after a moment of staring at me with those big red eyes, starts to condemn me for my actions, but when he starts speaking, he speaks in a woman’s voice! I peer my eyes and strain my ears, he asks me again in the same female voice “How do you know Marathi?”
I relaxed back on my seat, drew the curtains on my screen erstwhile the window, when I hear it again “How do you know Marathi?”
The voice belonged to the woman sitting behind us. I was about to play my memories movie back, when I heard another woman replying back in pure Marathi. Now hearing people converse in pure Marathi was obvious since we were in the heart of Maharashtra, but what caught my interest was the American accent with Marathi.

I strongly felt I had heard this voice before, but was not able to place it. Then I remembered, while boarding the bus, a foreigner woman in her late forties clad in salwar kameez approached us to inquire about the baggage carrier in the Volvo.

Certainly, the curious part of me got hooked to the conversation. (Milder way of: I was eavesdropping. Though am glad, I did.)

Below is the conversation as I heard:

AW*: stands for amazing American woman. She is the heroine of this blog.
IW*:  stands for intrigued woman, who portrays the role of interviewer.

IW:  “How do you know Marathi?”

AW: “I have spent most of my life in Maharashtra and my husband is a Maharashtrian as well.”

IW:  “When did you come to India?”

AW: “I have completed my medical studies from Delhi university, after which I started working for NGO’s and social causes. For one such project I had come to Maharashtra where I met my husband.”

IW: “Oh! (Hesitates a bit but nevertheless asks) am sorry to be so inquisitive but from time known Indian students have been travelling to America for higher studies, this is the first time I have ever heard an American  studying in India. May I know why you chose India?”

AW: (smiles a bit, as if she was expecting this question) “Yes, there are many Indians in America. I personally know many people who went there for studies and then settled in America itself. When I was in high school, America was at war with Vietnam. Every day I saw reports of thousands of innocent Vietnamese being killed. It disturbed me a lot, and I no longer wanted to be a part of a country performing such brutal activities on innocent people. Hence I Left America.”

IW didn’t ask any more questions; maybe she didn’t want to bother or was simply stunned as I was.
I felt so small and ashamed of myself. All I have ever thought was about me and people I loved.
I don’t know whether her decision to leave America was right or not, but awareness in your country’s affairs and standing by what is  right is what I learnt from this amazing yet simple woman.

When I alighted at Pune, I looked back at her and smiled, silently thanking her for enlightening me and showing me the true meaning  of being a citizen. She smiled back as if acknowledging my gratitude.

Who Answers Our Prayers?

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The year of 1998 , few years left for the glorious century to end, people all over were excited to witness turn of the century. The year 2000 held great importance, as if everything would be renewed for the better, people started considering themselves as living legends. 😛
Unaware of the event unfolding in their surrounding five kids namely Kiki, usu, yasu , banu and danu (arranged in descending order) were enjoying the end of their summer vacations in the religious city of Tirupati. The cousins always looked forward for the summers to approach so that they can spend the two months together. They were maternal cousins : kiki , usu, banu (Tirupati sisters) were hindus whereas yasu and danu were from Mumbai and were muslims. They dint knew each others languages but communication was never a problem , they were content to be together and every year when the time came for Mumbai children to depart , a highly emotional drama was witnessed on the Renigunta platform including wishing the train would get cancelled or for some reason the elders postpone the plan.
On one such day the kids were planning to visit the nearby municipal garden which was their second most favorite place , first being their grandmothers village. They requested their mothers and the evening was booked for the park outing.
The kids were really excited . But the weather had some other plans , and the first rain of the year poured on the same day late afternoon, though not a heavy rain , just a drizzle, but that was enough for the mothers to postpone the plan and to dampen the kids spirits. After a lot of pestering by the kids, the elders promised to take them out if the sky was clear , which was at that moment was packed with heavy dark clouds.
Being children they accepted it, and rush to the terrace to pray to the almighty to clear the sky, at that point of time a little drizzle was on. Each one of them started praying to the superpower in their own way which is:
Kiki took a discarded piece of plastic pipe , held ends of the inverted pipe in both her hands to form the shape of kavadi and started performing kavadiattam dance to please the lord.
Yasu without knowing which was the west direction started praying namaz with a continuous series of prostrations.
Usu started worshiping our Thanjavur doll as an idol with offerings of dried leaves which were scattered on the terrace , due to sudden gust of wind.
Banu and Danu , too young to comprehend just raised their hands to the sky and were murmuring in their own illegible language.
Everyone prayed with closed eyes for more concentration.
This episode of fervent prayers continued for a while with constant breaks to check whether their prayers were working or not. After every break the prayers were more intensified.
After about 15 mins, their prayers were answered , the skies cleared and one could easily see the setting sun. It was not less then a miracle for them. Happy with their God, they rushed two steps at a time to their mothers.
The elders had already cancelled the program , and were in no mood of taking the kids out . After a lot of persuasion and efforts at bribing the kids (chocolates, ice-creams etc) , the mothers resorted to threatening and thrashing which made all the kids run back to the terrace.
After some fuming discussions on the hypocrisy showcased by their mothers , the kids resumed their playing and ended another fun filled day .
My question is whos prayer got answered? Is it the kavadi dancing Kiki or the prostrating yasu or the doll worshiper usu or the simple rumblings of danu and banu?
Did all the Gods got convinced or is it one single God who was touched by the children prayers?
Or were the clouds destined to pass away after a little drizzle?
And the bigger question is if the children were so potent in convincing God itself , why couldn’t they convince their mothers?
Does this mean that even if God is willing or God paves the way , still it is in our hands to control the situation?
Does that imply that we control our lives ?
If so, why do we fight in the name of God, if we are responsible for everything , the good as well as the bad?

“Man created Religion, Religion didn’t create Man .”

Cheers to Humanity !!

Right Now is the Right Time !

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From the time immemorial, people have divided their life in two phases pre -retirement and post retirement :/

Pre-retirement:

  • Enroll in a good school.
  • Excel at studies as well as extra curricular activities.
  • Enroll in a college.
  • Excel to get a good job.
  • Excel at job to get promoted.
  • Get promoted to earn more money.
  • Buy a home.
  • Get married.
  • Have kids and then start the same process from them
  • As the kids grow up plan for your retirement.
  • Invest in some retirement plan.
  • Postpone all your desires and wishes to retirement .

Post retirement:

  • Live off ur savings and meagre retirement benefits on medicines and maintenance expenses
  • For those who remain healthy visit a few places and then settle back to a routine life, looking forward to grandchildren visits.

Sums up whole life…:(
For people who find this normal, nothing against them….enjoy \m/
But for me ….. a big NAAAAAA…
This is not how i want to spend my life…. almost halfway through the pre-retirement phase (recently Happily married) 😀
My question is why wait till retirement to do things u want to do now???
is it worth struggling so much and ending life with ‘what ifs’?
For example:

  1. What if I had started my business?
  2. What if I would have approached her/him first?
  3. What if I had eaten that pizza?
  4. What if I would have learnt dancing?
  5. What if I had done all dis before ?

and many more…..

I don’t want to spend my life regretting the decisions I took, even if they were not right, atleast i could be happy that whatever happened in my life good or bad, is because I listened to my heart , and your heart is never wrong .
Mr. husband feels the same, but says it is not the right time…:/ He finds no logic in this #software techie  grrrrrr!
My questions to Mr. Right time?
where is right time?
How would we know your arrival ?
Do you knock like Mr. opportunity?
why do you take so long to come?
For me the right time is now… and I intend to fulfill all my dreams , no matter how crazy they may sound ! I wont enlist them here , because i firmly believe:

“Actions speak louder than words “.

Mr. Right time is with me , and I would make sure to enjoy every minute with him!

P.S. : How does reading your favorite book , overlooking tea estates from your balcony, while sipping your green tea, in your cottage on the misty blue hills sound to you ? 

Yay to my dreams!

Need to reform men !

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In the wake of recent Delhi rape case that has made every other person to think about ways to ensure safety of the female species…, even I proposed that if every girl is provided with decent education many of such incidents could be avoided. My mother agreed to it. my housemaid who was wiping the floor at that point of time looked at me and smiled. I took it as encouragement and started on a lengthy speech of how education is the solution. She started laughing , I was offended and asked her what was so hilarious. She looked at me with those deep dark eyes narrated to me her story: her name is Seema and she was the youngest amongst three sisters and has been born and brought up in the same slum (where she still resides) just behind the area where i stay. she was married when she was 15. ten years down the line , she is a mother of three children , the eldest one been a daughter. Her husband , a drunkard (who does not earn anything ,who comes home drunk and beats her up to force her hard-earned money to drink more )  which prompted her to leave her in laws place and come back to her maternal house. he followed her back here , with promises of being sober and shouldering his responsibilities , which never happened. He remains the same . At this point of time , I told her why doesn’t she divorce him, and quickly realized she cannot afford to , a woman who is struggling to survive wont even think of going through legal struggles. After hearing this  I emphasized on my previous point that education might have helped her. and I also added that there are many government education facilities which provide free education. She looked at my mother smiled at her and then told me that if she would have chosen education , who would have ensured her safety, I asked her to explain, she said young girls living in slum areas are more openly subjected to sexual abuses , and if something like happened would she able to live a life with dignity as she is leading now even if she doesn’t have money. She said the only way to ensure safety of their daughters was to get them married soon. Then , She added that now she is worried about her own 9-year-old daughter, and takes her everywhere she goes. i told her to empower her daughter so that she can break free from poverty. She explained that her daughter was excelling in school studies but she would get her married as soon as she  finishes school. I got enraged and strictly told her not to do so, she asked “can u ensure the safety of my daughter”? I was silent for a moment and starting tell her that things have changed , our nation has become modern and women are excelling. She said what about Delhi gang rape case ? I (sort of defense mechanism) told her that Maharashtra was comparatively safer than North India (A common presumption that rest of India has against North India), then she plainly told me about the Shirdi incident where shamelessly a young nine-year old girl was raped. I was dumbfounded. Then she told about many more incidents which have happened in our own vicinity, including incest.

That made me think , I pondered on this for that whole afternoon, and then i realized that there’s nothing a girl can do, the only possible way to stop this menace and break this vicious circle is that we raise our men as gentlemen. if each parent raises his son responsibly and teaches them to respect women as important as teaching them to eat or walk, these incidents would never happen. They should lead by example , if a child is brought up in a healthy environment where his mother , sister , aunt are treated with utmost respect and honour , he would never think of disrespecting a woman. Where parents take extra care of restricting their daughter’s behaviour i.e. monitoring her dressing , to the way she converses, her friends , her thoughts and resort to strict measures if they think anything  would land her in trouble. The very famous saying that every mother says to her daughter “A girl’s character is like glass, once broken can never be mended.” The same should be taught to their sons and also train them to take additional care of the glass.

If we could achieve this , that is if every parent takes responsibility of raising a Man and not an animal, soon our world would be a beautiful place and women would live their life fearlessly and in the true sense be a DEVI.

P.S.: For those people who curb a girls freedom saying that she should not provoke a man to rape her , please realize this that :

“Girls don’t rape guys, they find attractive!!!”