Friday, March 28, 2014

The future is dark

Akhil knelt on the field and touched to feel those cracks that clearly were formed by drought over years. They were so rough that he felt it could cut into his soft skin. He looked up to where his parents and grandparents were standing and went running to them. He ran into his grandmother and hugged her by the legs. She looked down and bent down to reach for his face, beads of perspiration trickled down along the sides of his small face, wiping them off she asked him “Remember the picture I showed you from my album of those lush green fields, and a canal running along the sides? Well decades ago this used to be that place.”
 Akhil turned to those fields and looked back at his granny in bewilderment. “Same? But this place is so dry Grammy, and so hot, look I can squeeze out at least a bucket from my tee”.  He was twirling the fabric around his tiny fingers and trying to show how much water he could squeeze from them.  
“The ground is so cracked up; I can feel the dryness in my throat. There is no sign of life at all in this place. I don’t like it here. Let’s go back...Pleeeeaaase.”  He ran into the car, turned on the air conditioning and decided not to step out. Akhil’s dad too followed and decided to give his wife and her parents some private time.

Surely the sight was not of any interest to the 8 year old boy. But his Grammy and grandpa were reminiscing in the memories they had once of this place. When they were in their prime they had hoped for better things to happen here, they were promised a better future and they felt miserable about how it turned out to be.  A place that was once the hub of agriculture, a place that once provided food for its neighboring states was now abandoned. There was no sight of any life even for miles; nobody could survive the wrath of nature.
Her thoughts were interrupted when her daughter held her hand and together they walked to her husband. “Appa I am sorry. I know it breaks your heart to see this place turn into a barren land. Surely you did your best, there was nothing you could have done had you and your family stayed back here. Look around everybody left. The place is a ghost now.”

Her father stood there thinking of his past. He remembered the same spot he was now standing decades  ago, his father and others from the community assembled for days together and revolted against the Govt , to stop a project that they knew would do no good to the place. They were fierce and the fire amongst the revolutionists was spreading to all the nearby cities as well. There were protests everywhere, seeking the suspension of the ongoing project that involved in production of methane gas. The govt had signed a contract to allow a private company to dig down the Cauvery delta region which was a rich source for lignite and methane.  The protests were held on one side and the project continued its work on the other.
 In spite of being warned that during the operation the release of methane could increase Global warming, in spite of knowing that to get to the coal beds they have to drill to depths below the underground water and that to extract the methane from the cracks the water will have to drained completely and this could create droughts and earthquake, and knowing this would be no more a fertile land , and that farmers would no longer have a job the Govt mercilessly gave them the license to drill wells that disrupted nature’s way.  

The wrath it has unleashed on these lands today, this is exactly what they had feared. A desert has its charm too, but this place was robbed of everything possible, it was now not even worth a rag to step foot on.
“It is getting late Appa.If you have finished going down the memory lane, let’s go.” said his daughter who was now starting to feel exhausted by the scorching heat. For one last time he looked over what used to be his farm, he remembered walking through the swamp mud and checking for his foot prints. But today even as a tear rolled down his cheek and hit the ground there was not a tiny impinge of it.

The END.

This is purely fictional. And I hope it remains a work of fiction. I hope my bizarre imagination of the future is never proved to come true. And that no family of ours have to leave their roots and migrate to a foreign land because of the fear that it would impossible to survive in a place that cannot provide for us.  This was just how I envisaged after reading this piece of article here .The coal bed methane project as of today is suspended. But if it were to take place, God save us. A lot of people put their heart and soul into discovering various other alternatives to produce fuel, which brings no harm to nature. They are discouraged; some are even put in jail(That’s another story). A little support from the Govt in encouraging and experimenting with these methods may help us a lot rather than investing in methods that only leads to destruction. Do take the time to read the article else find the key points below.
Key notes from that article:
  •  Landscape to extract Methane gas:Thiruvidaimaruthur, Kumbakonam, Orathanadu, Papanasam taluk of     Thanjavur district and Kudavasal, Valangaiman, Needamangalam, Mannarkudi taluk of Thiruvarur district.
·         Steps to extract Methane
It’s present between the pores or cracks or on the surface of lignite rocks. At Mannarkudi region, underground coal seams are found from 500 ft. to 1650 ft.beneath the ground water. To extract the gas, a steel-encased hole is drilled into the underground coal seams and dewatered through pumping, which reduces pressure and releases trapped gases up to the well head. By such methods, ground level water around Cauvery delta would go below 500 ft and underground water sources around the Mannarkudi area would also go dry. There are also chances for Earthquake and sink holes.
·         Adverse impact of the project
The company would identify area to drill wells, would need pipes to connect wells, build roads and compressor stations, need vacuum devices and bore well machines. It would need space to store all the required materials to implement the CBM project, which will make the mineral rich Cauvery delta a trash filled dry area. On the one hand, the destruction of ground water and on the other hand, the impact of salt rich waste water pollution will turn Cauvery delta into a desert. (Earthquakes, land retreat and other natural disasters have happened in the areas where Methane is taken, in the United States of America). Agriculture and the society dependent on agriculture will be ruined if this project is implemented. They are planning to extract coal from underground using this chance to their best.Disaster is not only for Mannarkudi, but also for entire Tamil Nadu.
·         As with all carbon based fossil fuels, burning coal-bed methane releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.Methane is rated as having 72 times more effect on global warming than CO2 over 25 years, so there are significant concerns about the ultimate effect of CBM production.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

10 Day Challenge - Day 10

I am no big fan of confessions. If I haven’t done it so far, there is no reason I am going to do one now. But rules are rules right! When it comes to secrets I always remember the dialogue that Old Rose says in Titanic “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.”I may or may not have secrets; If I do I am taking them with me to the grave. So I am not going to confess anything that is going to turn my world upside down. (I may actually not have any too, but I like to keep it mystique).  Mostly I am an open book, who prefers to choose truth over dares any day. I spent an entire day thinking what I should confess about, I got nothing.

There is one thing though which a couple of people in my life may already know about. It isn't a confession, because it isn't like I want to keep it hidden. It’s merely admittance of someone I once used to be. I may have been a bit of a snob in my formative years. Not because of any other reason, but I preferred to stick to people who I thought are like me. That is human tendency right? Birds of the same feather flock together. But today I feel bad when I realize I don’t recall names of most of my classmates. Trust me you don’t want to be there. That awkward moment when a classmate walks up to you and waves and you look behind you to make sure he isn't talking to someone else. Yeah,Embarrassing.  And then at college, I was no better.  For most part of my college I thought this is no place for me. I kept wondering every morning why I left city to come and learn at a village like this. (Tagorians, if you are reading, please don’t hate me. It was a long time ago!) I was uptight, judgmental and too shallow. Don’t imagine me as one of those characters in mean girls, things weren't so bad.It's not like I was the hottest chick in the block or the richest one too who thought little about everyone else. I just had a few reservations about certain people and didn't make an effort to know them.

But a lot has changed since then. College was the place that it all changed. And post college at work. I met a lot of people from all walks of life and made some great friends who have broken a lot of fallacy I had about them. A wider exposure to life has changed my outlook, in a positive way. I gathered life isn't to live superficially but to embrace everyone, or at least to give it a chance. I understood that we don’t have to be opinionated about people all the time, we could be wrong. Like they say don’t judge a book by its cover. A person shouldn't be judged by his background or appearance and sometimes not even by his actions. We don’t know what the circumstances must have been. I am happy I not a snobbish person who throws a lot of attitude, though my husband feels at times that version of me surfaces. Well change doesn't happen overnight. I am a better person today, trying to be better with each day that passes.

Finally the challenge is over! Phew. A few of my friends who have been following have been kind enough to appreciate my writings and I thank each one of you for it. It meant a lot to me and has kept me going to finish this. Thanks again! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

10 Day Challenge - Day 9

Feelings come and go like clouds in a sky. Like waves, you cannot stop them from coming but you can decide which ones to surf. Like they say “We might be the master of our own thoughts, yet we are the slaves of our own emotions”. Imagine a life without emotions. Wouldn’t it be like robots, a life without LIFE?  No laughter, No sorrow, No love? We probably then would be on a mad chase to find something to make us feel alive. Hard to imagine! And imagine no smileys around to express your emotions. I would spend all my time trying to gauge the mood of the person on the other end. I am a big time text person; I would rarely dial a number, if I can text. And an excessive user of smileys while texting.  Sometimes they convey what words don’t. 
So if I had to pick two smileys that describe my life right now, one would be excited smiley. The last two days it has been the most dominant emotion. A couple whom I am good friends with had a beautiful baby boy yesterday and all of us have been so excited and delightful for them. Right from Tuesday night we have all been anxiously waiting and annoying the father for hourly updates and after close to 24 hours we received the much awaited news! I wasn’t around when my niece came into this world, so this was like the closest experience I have had to the whole pregnancy and child birth thing. Truly it felt miraculous to hold the tiny one in my arms, and look into his eyes that had no malice, and had innocence written all over him. I have come to believe that a child is truly a blessing to a mother sent straight from God, in its purest form. It makes one realize that life is not merely function and utility but form and beauty. The happiness a baby brings along with its birth is unmatched to any achievement. When the mother put her arm around the baby and says the pain I experienced was worthwhile you understand that it’s the purest form of love. No amount of words would do justice to how touched I feel about the whole thing. Let’s just say it was like witnessing an incredible greatness and nothing less than a miracle.

The other smiley would be thinking. I have been working on an assignment that needs to be submitted today and it is all about education in Finland and how they are the best, the key being excellent teachers. And how we can improve ours using their education model.  So my brain has been doing a lot of flip flops to come up with an essay. But I really do wish there is a change brought about in our education system. It saddens me that excellent education in India is only for the privileged. Even today it takes generations (or sometimes never) for one to break the cycle of poverty that affects his family, because quality education isn’t readily available. The figures show 90% of our children don’t graduate from schools. Disheartening!  I feel blessed and lucky to be in the 10%.  But something to worry about isn’t it? Especially when they say the future of the country lies in today’s children. Hmmm…

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

10 Day Challenge - Day 8

Ways to win my heart, turn offs, and now turn ons. What is next? It Feels like I am filling up my profile on a matchmaking website.  Ha! Jokes apart,When it comes to romance I am a big sucker for the Bolllywood types! I often wonder in real if one could fall in love so easily like those in Yash Chopra’s movies.  Sadly I haven’t experienced any ‘violin melodies playing in the BG’ moments but yes those moments when you fall head over heels in love with someone, when you feel butterflies in your stomach those I have.  And so reasoning out why should be easy. (I am obviously not going to tell you what really turns me on, you thought I would?  J )

    1.Mesmerizing Eyes: Not the blue eyed ones (though I wish I had dated someone with blue eyes), just the ones that look at  me and make me feel weak in the knees. The one whose looks could kill. Many a times we convey a lot through our eyes. That moment when your eyes meet someone’s and you can read a thousand words that go unsaid. (Well, you can always imagine 1000 words right; even if he has no clue his eyes are saying that ;)) Soulful eyes, with an intense look (I should read sincerity in it), will make me melt. (You should know this is all hypothetical alright, I can’t go melting anymore at just a look thrown at me now. Too late! Wink!Wink!)

    2.Good music, dim lights and scented candles: The stage is set, how about a few delectable munchies and cocktails to go with it? And someone who is witty. And someone who can strike up an intelligent conversation. Of course I mean one person with both these qualities!

     3.Dance to a melody: Salsa, waltz or Jive it takes two to Tango! It is okay neither have I mastered them, just swaying together to the song would do. I enjoy dancing and that’s when you will find me in the best of my spirits.

Jeez, thank god there is no fourth point; it’s a No Brainer what happens next! 

Make me drown with your looks and remind me why I love you,
Feel my hands gently, hold them tight and pull me towards you,
Make me laugh and show me a good time, I’ll waltz away with you into the night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

10 Day Challenge - Day 7

The interest I had initially in this 10 day challenge is kind of wearing off on me. It feels like am beating around the bush. Nevertheless, I would like to finish it, rather than abandon it having come this far.

So do you need four ways to make me walk away in the other direction when I see you? Here it comes.

    1.Egotistical: Who isn't self obsessed? In healthy amounts it is okay. But I get annoyed easily when someone acts like they are superior and demean others.  This attitude just oozes out in every action of theirs. A definite NO NO for me.

    2.Superficial –Another character I can’t tolerate. I don’t see the purpose of putting on a mask and hiding behind it. Just doesn't work for me, I can see right through it but I may not call it. And then it’s a ‘NO ENTRY’ sign that waits for them.

    3. This one is tricky. Oversensitive – I feel like I am walking on egg shells and don’t know how much to tell so that they won’t feel bad. I don’t like a conversation to be like a battle, like I need to think about each word I have to say. I have a problem with people being Insensitive too. In this case I fail to connect. Finding the balance is the key

    4.  Violent, Aggressive, ill-mannered: Be one of them and I will not respect you. I detest such people and would just like to curl up in a ball and hide. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

10 Day Challenge - Day 6

Care too much you get hurt, care too little you lose them.  But even if you are careful you can’t stop yourself from caring for the people in your life. I can’t remember of how it was instilled in me, but I have always heard my mother say even as a toddler I cared and wouldn’t eat anything without asking if everyone else had eaten. That was 25 years ago. Now I gobble up everything and don’t leave anything for anyone. I like to believe I am a caring person, even though most times I act like I don’t give a damn. I care about all the nice people in my world, to pick just five out of the lot is injustice.

    1.       Needless to say,I care about my family. We may not see eye to eye, we may have our share of tiffs, we may take each other for granted but it is all based on a tacit understanding that FAMILY is  for keeps; that any limb you climb out off, will still be there later for you to climb back. I may have given them a lot to endure, when I lived life on my own terms. That was not my intention; I just wanted them to come to terms with it. I may not say it to them often but I do care, and like any daughter I respect what they have done for me.

     2.       When your better half is also your best friend you care too much to let go. It is obvious isn’t it? You don’t decide to spend the rest of your life with a person you don’t care about.   

       3.       My second family, Friends. Like they say "Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what". And that is exactly what friends do. Friends play a paramount role in my life. I reach out to them more often than I do with my family.  I care for each and every one of them and would take that extra mile to be there for them whenever in need.

         4.       In another two months I start my journey with TFI.  Some people say it is a life changing experience, some that it is backbreaking and not a cakewalk. But one thing that keeps echoing in my ears, is what my interviewer told me “In the beginning, you are going to fail with your students EVERY DAY, you are going to fail until you find your way”. I already care about the students who are going to be an integral part of my life for the next two years. Teachers play a significant role in molding a child’s life and I really hope I succeed and can make a difference in a few lives.

           5.    What about people who don’t fall in any of these categories? I still care. For my extended family, for my neighbors, For people in crisis, For somebody’s loss , For any victim who has suffered brutality, For survivors of a natural calamity , For those whose sufferings I hear or read about.  I am compassionate, empathetic and considerate. I may not reach out to comfort them, or send a huge cheque their way but if it is in my hands to be by their side I would. It is during such times that we need to reinforce the belief that we are benevolent, that humanity still exists. A small act of caring can turn lives around. 

If you are wondering what it is I don't care about then, it is what people think about me ;)

Friday, March 14, 2014

10 Day Challenge - Day 5

Whatever happened to ‘don’t cry over spilled milk?'. Common, 6 things I wish I hadn't done? What use of going over that? Fine, I will try.
      1.I just wish I had been more aware and perceptive of the varied options available when it comes to choosing what you want for a career, at sweet 16. If I was clear about what I wanted I probably wouldn't have succumbed to the only one that was offered to me, Engineering!

       2.I used to go to French classes at Pune. I wish I hadn't stopped taking them. Actually I wish I hadn't left Pune at all.

       3.I wish I hadn't lost touch with my childhood friends. We wrote all the time, I still have those letters. But then with years it stopped. Maybe if there was whatsapp, it would have been different? Or that’s just how life is?

       4.Oh, here is another one. I wish I hadn't wasted money on a few clothes. I have a few that I spent a good amount on and I don't use them .Could have found a better use for that money.

Gosh, they are all so lame! I think I really take ”Forget regret, or life is yours to miss” seriously.

       5.Okay this one probably is the saving grace. I wish I hadn't smoked pot. I nearly got scared to death. In fact I was delusional about going to die. And I could have lived without experiencing it. Sure I had a good laugh about it the next day. Still, never again. Now would I be in trouble for talking about it? I could be talking about chocolate pot too right?

 I am thinking really hard!


Okay I don’t have any more. This was difficult; I probably will use this point as buffer in another   topic.

"If only”. Those must be the two saddest words in the world. I have no regrets in my life. Because I think that everything happens for a reason. If you go through hard times becuase of what you did, it only makes you a much stronger person. And that may be why I was at a loss of words today.