A post on Compost!

home-composting bins at my home

home-composting bins at my place

Waste segregation is something I’ve been practicing over a year now. Though I was never sure if that remained segregated after having been collected by BBMP, I feel the chances of the source segregated waste getting mixed with normal waste are lesser and it may even make segregation at destination easier. I’ve read and heard about some initiatives by BBMP for solid waste management, but I still have some doubts about it’s efficiency when I see piles of jumbled up garbage lying on the street sides. Finding more about this schemes and implementation level details is another action item pending in my list. But till that time, I thought of solving at least my in-house waste problem, by getting a home-composting kit from DailyDump. After getting them, the dustbin for ‘wet garbage’ has become almost obsolete in my kitchen. I never knew composting can be so neat and easy. The final compost that comes out of the waste, indeed gives a typical fresh earthen smell. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to understand such complexity of the nature, that grows food out of the soil and has a way to finally get them back to the same form!

I’ve also put together a mini garden outside my kitchen, to utilize this compost. This, in a way, has become my new-found hobby 🙂

Namma Raste, Namma Ooru!

Lemme start with the meaning of the title. These Kannada words were foreign to me till Nov 19! But now I know that ‘Namma Raste’ means ‘Our road’ and ‘Namma Ooru’ means ‘Our city’.

‘Naama Raste, Naama Ooru’ was a protest to assert our right to inhabit a green city. The government seems to have been reading so much into road widening, that it has greatly undermined the value of trees, a fundamental necessity for sustaining the human race. The event was master-minded by the Environment Support Group (ESG) [many of you may relate to this by the name Hasiru Usiru :)]

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Coolest caption :). It reads "Do you want a barren city like my head?".

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The walk was quite well organized. It didn’t disrupt the traffic at all!

Hundreds of concerned citizens turned up for the walk. It was heartening to see many kids also marching for this cause! I was accompanied by Goli and Mayank, two of the more concerned people I know. We walked from Lalbaugh West Gate to Town hall, sporting colourful, innovative posters, roaring slogans against the government’s unlawful steps [Yes, much of the tree felling was illegal. More in the report]. The participants signed an appeal to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, urging him to preserve the green cover.

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At town Hall, the destination. The volume of the crowd is a testament to the fast-growing realization of climate change.

Have a Cracking, Cracker-less Diwali!

A must-watch video on what happens in most of the cracker factories. Yes, those people need employment, but not at the cost of their lives!

Here’s something more on the subject you can read.

Have a Cracking Cracker-less Diwali!

Why are fasts a for-women-only affair?

Yep, I am not yet done criticizing some of the blindly followed Indian traditions, especially the custom of keeping fasts/vratas that is woven into the lives of Indian women! Recently, I came across an interesting theory that throws light on why Indian women fast for the long lives of their husbands (or would-bes). What it says is that the Indian society doen’t allow a happy/peaceful life for a widow or an unmarried woman, so it is critically important for a girl to not to stay un-married for long and for a wife to stay married perpetually.  Well, on the premise that you believe in the power of a prayer (I don’t), the argument does make sense in the current setting although I want the situation to be reversed asap i.e. I want to witness increasingly less dependence of women on men. That, btw, doesn’t imply that I am against dating guys or marriages or anything like that.

On the lighter side of things, as I had remarked earlier, there is a scarcity of decent guys in the country (and everywhere else, for that matter 🙂 ). Hence, unmarried gals have got to pray for a good dude, and those, who are fortunate to have found rare good ones, have to try all their might to hang on to them for their lifetime!

Exploring the Art of Cooking!!

Does this title make you say “Oh, now it seems she is really into married gals’ gang!” 😉

I have hated this traditional art (read cooking) since my teens, when mom would poke me every now and then for learning it, reminding that I will have to do it some day, and I would go all cranky on such ‘Bhashan’ of hers 🙂

Cooking was not-so-horrible initially, but sooner when I begun to handle other stuff at work and life, self-cooked food didn’t seem to be a good idea. The time I took for cooking was so long that we could only dine by 11pm. So finally we got ourselves a cook! But I have continued on my cooking experiments during Sundays.

Honestly, sometimes I do find this art interesting. It’s indeed a magic, when I find how the taste of any vegetable changes altogether when it’s cooked. How with some permutation/combination of different vegetables and spices, one can come up with a whole new sabji! Sometimes there is a pinch of suspense too; when I don’t know what would be the outcome of the dish I started with, until it’s been tasted by Pulzy! 😀

So all in all, I have begun to like cooking a bit. My mom, if by any chance she gets to read this post, would surely be delighted 😛

Story of Stuff

Although this video has already been shared with some of my friends via Gtalk, I am putting it up as a post for those who are not connected with me through Gtalk. (Click on the image below)

Story of Sfuff

This excellent, fast-paced video coverage will give you a bigger picture in terms of environmental effects of blind consumption and wastage of stuff. I simply loved watching the entire series of video chapters. My recommendation is to go through all of it, but in case it looks time-taking, don’t miss at least last two chapters (consumption and disposal).

Green is the way to go!

(In case the above link doesn’t work, please visit http://www.storyofstuff.com/)

Go-cycle Bangalore meet

Around 8 am Sunday, April 27th, the place near the Bethani High School (Kormanagala) was moCyclists gathered near Bethani Schoolbbed with cyclists, sporting white colored T-shirts and lavish smiles – smiles stemming from the satisfaction of having taken a right step towards preserving the environment. This was all part of a Bangalore-wide campaign to celebrate the car-free day wherein people are appealed to keep their fuel-hungry four-wheelers at bay. Cyclists from all over the city drove in to a common point on the MG road, inspiring many on-lookers along the way. The press took a generous notice of the event, which had been very well planned. Many of the participants bike to work on a regular basis and almost all of them have significantly cut down their fuel usage

All set to cycle!!This was my longest but eye-opening cycling ride that broke my misconception about my limited cycling capacity. If I recall the first time I rode Pulkit’s bike to work, I had found the drive so exhaustive that the moment I got hold of Pulkit, I told him that I was dropping the plan of getting a bike for myself. But, soon after a few more rides, I found myself quite comfortable with this new mode transportation, and now I have come to a stage of where I am truly enjoying my rides to office.

It was very heart-warming to interact with many like-minded people, conscious on matters of environment and pollution. May more and more citizens become aware of these issues, and more importantly, start acting on them!

PS 1: For those who are in support of using the bicycle as a preferred mode of transportation: you are not alone, find more like-minded chaps on bikeszone forum.

PS 2: For those of you who had asked, here is the link to that newspaper article.

My life’s most interesting twist!

It’s true; my marital status has indeed changed! The chosen one is a gentleman named Pulkit. His blog should tell you a great deal of what all he does & thinks. It also hosts an elaborate, photo-filled post on our wedding. Since this is an era of theme weddings, we too couldn’t help but find ourselves one. Our wedding theme was diverting the marriage money to charity – Keep the wedding low-key and support NGOs/social work from the money saved. In keeping with that, ours was a simple wedding wherein only immediate relatives were invited; every one else was intimated. So, I request you not to map my closeness with you to your not getting invited to the wedding! For those interested, the other half of our theme (donations to selected groups striving to empower the poor) is captured here.

Northy Valentine’s Day – Karva Chauth !

Recently I witnessed the latest trends of ‘Karva Chauth’. I would like to name it as ‘North Indian Valentine’s day’! This traditional day, though centers on married couples, the unmarried gals also join the club to rock the festival with dreams of getting their ‘prince charming’. The challenging part of the festival is the fast (without water), kept by the ladies. But all work and no fun don’t go quite well together! The ladies of the family would Indianize themselves with gracious traditional wears and jewelry plus Mehndi on their hands. Of course, one must appreciate this effort of your life partner, so wives enjoy the highest priority given by their hubbies on this day 🙂

After a bit of survey of girls who were going for ‘Karva Chauth’, I could figure out, most of them do not carry faith in the charismatic effectiveness of the fast. They primarily go for the girlie fun part of the festival. Some of them also go for it simply as a part of herd following the tradition. Although, the day, as a usual festival, is successful in bringing some fun moments apart from routine life; the issue I see with ‘Karva Chauth’ (and those that fall in this category), is, they are too male centric. Such tradition shows how the life of a female in Indian society, always has to revolve around the male counter-part. The girl from her childhood would start praying to God to lead her to her dream-boy. (Oh btw, this magic wand works only for Hindu-religion followers!) The guys, on the other hand, don’t need to do any such ‘Vratas’ to get good girls! This only hints me to thinking that, either all the Indian girls are perfect for marriage, or there’s a scarcity of decent guys for marriage in India 😉 Again, getting good guy is not enough, now it’s time for some maintenance! A woman being relatively weaker substance (in terms of physique), has been endowed by God with a secret power of fast (Tapo Shakti – is the word, if I am not mistaken!) She can now prolong the life of her husband by this magical power!

One feedback said that such events add some charm in married life. Well, you, as a husband would be impressed, if your wife stays without water and food till night for your long life! It may be a way to show the dedication for your life partner, addition of a few years in his life doesn’t really take precedence. But then, why only wife? Why not husband too? Although there are some hubbies joining their wives for the fast, but that goes only as an add-on to what is called a regular duty of the wife. Another thought says, how can your keeping fast show your ‘true’ love to your life partner?

With this question still open, I’m off to my own wedding 🙂

Outsourcing India

The topic might be common, but it’s a kind of irritation coming out of me after working for 3 different companies in india (each one year). 3 years might be a small time to comment on such a topic, may be I do not even carry enough knowledge for this, but my intension is to gain knowledge from the experts who come across this blog.

My journey to professional career started with Reliance Communication Ltd. While working for this company I used to feel proud of myself thinking that I was working with one of the biggest Indian company that has made quite a significant contribution in Indian cellular telephony market. When I changed to Flextronics, that feeling went off, as I was not working for an Indian company itself. After coming to Wipro, here it’s a kind of mixed feeling. Though I am working for one of the biggest IT companies, MNC in fact, which is based on India, I am not contributing anything to India. I am in fact working for a foreign company. Those companies get benefits out of my work, not the Indian society.

India today has become one of the top countries involved in outsourcing business. Be it a software industry or a BPO industry. The companies like Wipro, Infosys, TCS etc. have played a major role here. Any top foreign product company you can think of, has outsourced something to one of the IT companies in India. These companies have got the best experts in all the domain, whether it is finance, banking, telecom, electronics and semiconductors, health and insurance and what not. But in this race of outsourcing, people have not realized that nobody is now considering India’s capabilities of producing. Agreed, that IT companies today have played the major role to provide employment to most of Indian people, but apart from that, there is no contribution towards Indian productivity. For example, think of any electronics items, be it laptop, music players, cameras, mobile phones, etc, people can’t think of any Indian company producing these items. India still is dependent on foreign electronics market for these equipments. Why not any Indian company can become one of the top vendors for mobile phones, routers, switches, cameras, or one of the top contributor to even IP telephony or telecom hardware solutions, or any other domain solutions ?? (I do not have enough expertise to comment on other domains). After all it is not the case that we haven’t got any expertise. Indian engineers have been developing and testing the firmwares for all these things, why not build the whole product then? Till what time will we keep on working for the benefit of foreign companies (while working ‘in an Indian company’!!)?? When will we start working in Indian company who produce for India?

Things above are easy to think, but hard to implement. Still someday I would love to work for such company who works for India 🙂

(As already said, I might not have complete information here, please provide your inputs where you think I have gone wrong!)

Lost in Dark Tunnel

Yes I knew it was tough
But I desired to contend
to make it through to the end

It was all dark
I saw nothing, I saw nobody
A dark endless tunnel
my sides were invisible
was I becoming blind?
Yet I marched ahead
It shaped into a black cloud,
slowly encircling me
I wondered what to do
Panic surged through my veins
I was loosing faith
I wanted to run away
And I turned back,
To find where I forked in from

But, suddenly I saw a faint beam
it was a ray of light
for me, it was a ray of hope
Hope to get through the darkness!
I accelerated towards the light,
Regaining confidence at each step

And then I saw him,
smiling, welcoming with open arms,
As if he knew I would come through!
Soon I was in his embrace
Feeling his warmth
it was a rejoicing victory!

Now, I’ll never run away
Coz I know, if I am lost
He will be there to illuminate my path,
showing me the way out of the tunnel!

Fasting or Starving?

This thought was born on a busy afternoon, while working with one of my team mates. We had gone far beyond a normal lunch time and seeing her lunchbox which she got from home, I really found it a good alternative rather than torturing myself with cafeteria food. And her being a good colleague of mine I obviously expected her to share food. But my dreams of getting delicious ‘mom-made’ food were killed when she declared that she can’t share lunch as she was on fast 😦

Later that evening, me and my roommates were having fun at shopping and ended up eating sandwich at a roadside sandwich counter. One street kid came to us asking for food or money, and Tanu asked if he’ll have sandwich. He agreed and we ordered one sandwich for him. I was really touched by this gesture. Now the other street kids saw this kid eating sandwich and we were under impression that they all will come to us asking for more. Instead they went to that kid and he happily shared each part of the sandwich! And  then this thought struck me – these kids do fasting almost daily, and yet they do share their food without any hesitation!!

Why people fast? These days it can be due to two reasons – one, they want to have an indirect way for dieting or second they do this for some religious purpose.

Now if it is just for dieting, then one should follow a well prescribed healthy diet. I don’t think food people take while they are on fast is healthy at all.

Say in case it is for religious purpose, then I have a serious question here – why any religion would demand fasts? Most of the time fasting is done to fulfill one’s wishes, but indirectly isn’t it a kind of emotional blackmail to God that please do ‘this-this’ for me coz I m not taking food for ‘these’ many days!! Now to my opinion for any religion God is believed to be a divine soul or a divine entity. And any divine entity will not want someone to get hurt for achieving his/her wishes. And if at all one gets something he/she wants by fasting then why do those street kids still starve? Why are they still on the streets although they do fasts daily!!

My intension is not to hurt anybody’s sentiments here or not to force somebody to stop fasting, but just to convey that – God does not want you to hurt yourself to do something good for you. Hurting oneself makes nothing good for anybody either. Instead if someone at all wants to do fasting, then it should be done in a beneficial way. A suggestion here is: Why don’t you give your one day’s meals (which are not taken by you) to any starving kid who really needs some food?

Movie? – Well, no thanks :)

My life has been full of resolutions that I struggle to keep up to 🙂

Not claiming to be successful in all of them, yet, I’ve notably succeeded in sustaining my latest resolution. On my 24th birthday, I determined to lower all my expenditures on movies. The thought had been molding for a long time, undergoing self debates. It had been slimly uphill, at times when I had to refuse the movie proposals of friends/acquaintances, and then tackle the laughing faces on revelations of my reasons for denial. But in all, I’m glad to live up to my decisions.

Here’s an effort to synopsize some of the points. Citing the current scenario, the major part of the cinema audience is dominated by students and software professionals longing for some fun out of their routines. (Here, by no means I am denying the possibility of me being one of them!) And it is because of those chaps, who are obsessed with their state of having enough money to spend for sake of their so-believed well-deserved pleasures, and who are ready to pay whatever is needlessly demanded for these momentary pleasures; the cinema ticket prices are flying immensely high. Now the question is, do we gain the much-anticipated fun during those 3 hours spent inside cinema hall? In my view, watching movie in cinema should only be desired when the movie under consideration is worth watching on the big screen with the cinema sound systems. After all, these are the only primary facilities that a movie-theater is required to provide. Otherwise the comfortable homely coziness may win higher preference over cinema set-up.

The sole motive of this post is to ignite cognizance amongst the readers for the ever-raising cinema ticket prizes.  Having money shouldn’t lead to the necessity of spending it on unessential needs. Same way, lack of alternatives for effective utilization of free time shouldn’t result into option of watching movies in cinema-halls.

A thought-provoking encounter with a street kid

While walking alongside the market of Aundh, I heard a small voice asking for money. Unlike the usual roadside kids, who stick around you until they get some money out of your pockets, this boy decently asked me, “didi, muje padhai karne ke liye paise chahiye”. It must be some new strategy for getting money, I reckoned. But on careful observation, I saw he was dressed in school uniform. The kid interested me. I had all time in the world as I was done with my browsing (can’t call that shopping!) and was waiting for a friend to come. So, I set myself on a roadside parked bike, and started some interrogatory talk.

He was in 6th class, studying in a government school. I pointed out that government schools don’t charge fees and textbooks too are normally given for free. I was given the clarification that the money was required to buy stationeries for him and his younger sister(who’s studying in 1st class) and also to feed the family. Probing further, I demanded info about his family and their whereabouts. He resided in one of the nearby slums, with his mother who’s working as a maid. His father had gone missing 3 years back and the family hadn’t heard anything about him since then. His mother makes 5000/- per month. Now 5000 per a month is, though not too much, but nearly sufficient to buy some nominal stationeries and feed the family. So the kid shouldn’t go begging on the road. He reflected saying his mother hasn’t been working for more than a month due to bad health. When I advised him to work instead of begging, he said he doesn’t usually go for begging, instead earns some money by washing cars. But that day he was too tired due to starvation, so chose the easy way out.

As if it wasn’t enough, I asked him what subjects he is studying in school and to counter check, I also made him write a few things in hindi and English! Having been satisfied about the genuineness of all his explanations, I hired an auto and took him to Aundh sabzi mandi, got some veggies. Also we went to a grossary store to get him some groceries (aata, daal, rice, salt, etc). I somehow couldn’t find the stationary shop around, so unwillingly I had to handover some money to him, trusting that he will buy required stuff with that.

The reason given by this boy for his begging, has evoked this tiny thought. Often you will find people with motto ‘give nothing for free’. We would pass notes saying beggars should stop begging and start working. But who’ll have enough energy and motivation to work with empty stomach? They may just go for easy ways like this boy! The immediate suitable solution I see as of now is, to give enough food to such beggars rather than money and then give them some motivation to work. (Although some of you will say child labor shouldn’t be encouraged, but then is it right to encourage the kids to start begging on the road? I still wonder as to what should be the right option for such cases.)

Mirage

I felt thirsty, wanted water
And there, I saw it…
I ran to grab it,
But, it seemed to go away
away from my existence!

Where am I?
Do I know this place?
It was all the same yesterday
But it sounds unfamiliar today…

Is that really water I am running after?
Mirage – Is that the reality of my life?

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