When the Rain gods eventually sent the pregnant clouds home which lashed the west coast breathing life back into every thing conceivable, it was just another day’s work for the Sun god in the east. It rained cats and dogs at Chengannur in Kerala whereas Chennai in Tamil Nadu turned into a fire breathing dragon at the same time. Astonishingly, the elements involved in this annual affair are all at peace with each other and all this happens like clockwork when the time for staging things arrives.
It was during the crack of one of those “would’ve been sticky days” in Chennai that the truant rain clouds had a change of mind. Out of the blue the heavens opened!! And we had a rare – precious – ephemeral but well deserved wet and cool morning!! Nevertheless even before we could utter “Carpe Diem” fully, things were back at square one. Since such sporadic rains can open the floodgates on pests, insects and what not, I was promptly posted from my bed to the backyard to inspect the plants in the garden.
Bleary eyed, my eyes searched for pale leaves, emaciated stems and other deceptive intruders. With the sky above still dark and hatching plots to pour again all I wanted to do was get out of there and to bury myself on the bed plunging headlong into another chasm of dream. Certain that all was quiet on the western front, I headed for the exit. But a very very very late change of mind saw me stop and turn my attention to the yam which was thriving in the kitchen garden. Convinced that there could be more than what meets my eyes, I got under the canopy of the plant after scrutinizing its light green stem.
What could’ve otherwise been a customary plant inspection in the backyard, turned out to be a novel play of light the other day.
No sooner had I placed myself under the plant and looked up at the leaves than the sun shined on me! Through my bleary eyes,I saw sunshine filtering through the tiny gaps between the leaves. When I looked around I felt as if a phantom was walking stealthily, lifting the veil of darkness which had surrounded us for a while!! This time I had all the time in the world to utter “Carpe Diem” even though the moment was ephemeral!! I could feel it and I felt alive and redeemed!!
By the time I picked up the camera, the darkness melted away. I could capture the sunshine nevertheless!!
Ever since we decided to revive our kitchen garden, my eyes have been hooked to the earth for eternity. From waking up early in the morning to sprinkling the soil with water, I’ve been doing everything to witness the seeds finally sprout from under the soil bringing forth the first sign of Green. The wait, I reckon, is frustrating. Everyday after unsuccessfully scrutinizing the soil for the first signs of life, I even soliloquized about the need to accelerate the whole cycle of growth!
But Nature has the habit of revealing herself in the most unexpected ways possible! When my work prompted me to stay away from the city for a couple of days, the whole “blossoming event” was out of my mind. Meanwhile, the rest of my family tended to the needs of the “reluctant seeds” like clockwork. When my jaded body was back home finally and I was roaming around like a lost soul, I heard a voice asking me: “Did you check out the Garden? The seeds finally have blossomed”.
Even though I couldn’t be on time to witness the green shoot, I was on time to see the first few leaves! It was Indeed enriching!!
I couldn’t believe what I had just heard and rushed to the backyard. On the way trains of thoughts started flowing across my mind. I could realize that my body was shrugging off the migraine and my soul was brimming with optimism. To put your heart and soul into nurturing a plant and witness the logical culmination of it all should be one of the most self-fulfilling acts of humanity. Albert Einstein brought this point home when he said: “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better”.
Yes, the whole exercise is monotonous, the wait is frustrating and the atmosphere is always pregnant with anxiety! Even though, I couldn’t be home when the first shoot of green reluctantly made its maiden appearance, I indeed realized at the end of it all that April Flowers indeed bring May Flowers. Learned a lesson or two in Patience, Selflessness and most importantly in Hope!
Coming as it does at a time when the farmers of my country are moving from the frying pan into the fire, I could almost feel their pain. Untimely rains, Devastating Hailstorms, Deficient Monsoons,Cost escalations and Land Acquisition without consent are increasingly driving the farmers to take desperate measures. The ones who perform the noblest of acts are finding solutions to their problems in a piece of rope or a bottle of poison. I can imagine the devastation when farmers who put their body and soul into the soil to reap a good harvest ends up reaping a calamity. For them, the season of discontent continues.The things get quite puzzling here because it feels as if Nature hides much more than it reveals!
Let me begin by provoking your grey matter a bit! What is the common but weird element that connects a Hollywood celebrity born in Glendale, California and a Politician born in Parali, Maharashtra? Try naming the persons in question and the eerie connect they have with each other. Make a guess! Meanwhile let me jump, without further ado, into the larger issue at hand. Whether it’s Los Angeles, California or Mumbai, Maharashtra at the end of the day you need to step out of the Studio or the Vidhan Sabha and hit the road to get back home safe! And this is where the rubber meets the road!
Home to the Grand Trunk Road and party to the Silk Route of the yore, the India of today faces a larger problem which is growing by leaps and bounds: Congestion on Roads!
The 21st century India is extremely polarised and it is most visible in the domain of Infrastructure. Since many villages of “the bucolic Bharath” are denied mobility owing to the lack of last mile connectivity, many villagers migrate to “the aspiring India” which is trying to grow more sophisticated in terms of infrastructure but their growth, unfortunately, remains confined to papers largely. As a consequence there is an unwieldy burden on cities’ infrastructure. As the race to succeed becomes fiercer it spills over to every sphere of life prompting thinkers to question whether we really are the human race or just humans racing!
The magnitude of this competition reaches stratospheric proportions on Indian Roads. Indian Roads are real eye openers. Known for its magnanimity, it stretches its large and accommodating arms far and wide encompassing things as diverse as anachronic bullock carts to futuristic concept cars. It has room for all and sundry. The protagonists who ply along the length and breadth of roads all over India switch their roles often but stay within a gamut. They comprise the crossing pedestrians, speeding bikers, retro cyclists, grating autos, overcrowded buses, honking cars, jaywalking sacred cows, struggling tricycles, wannabe scooties: You name it, our roads have it! The cup of woes overflows with the advent of unfailing Monsoon. All hell breaks loose during peak hours on Indian roads!
Since Govt. Departments Work In Silos There is No Co ordination whatsoever.
Vehicles considerably differ in terms of their competence since they are end results of diverse engineering efforts. Pushing them to the brink heavily compromises their inherent safety standards and makes the person behind the wheel as well as the ones on the road sitting ducks! Over the past few decades Indian roads have witnessed the Traffic phenomenon going through the roof owing to many factors working simultaneously. A country where land is a scarce commodity, authorities find it extremely frustrating to widen the existing roads to accommodate the vehicles being added every year! The Writing on the Wall, therefore, is clear.
No matter who you are and whatever you do the road is unsafe for you since there are clear and present dangers. Kicking the bucket on Indian Roads owing to accidents is a routine affair and the range is tremendous since they are growing gruesome by the day due to limitless violations and ruthless aggression. You would probably arch your brows upon learning who the most vulnerable group on Indian Roads is: Pedestrians. This is due to the fact that they have the least response time among all the groups on road. Walking has become a nightmare for many other reasons.
Myopic Traffic Management Plans Often Sideline The Most Important Group: Pedestrians.
The so called footpaths are invaded by garbage, stray animals, and the homeless or street vendors denying Pedestrians’ the “Right of Way”. Dearth in Zebra crossings and lack of foot bridges at proper points add to their cup of woes. A Culture of Waiting is prevalent in India whereby pedestrians have to wait for the vehicles to pass through rather than vehicles stopping for them to cross the road. The rest of the world follows the same culture but the other way around!
Two wheelers especially Motor Bikes too fall in the heavy risk category. The low cost, high speed and easy maneuverability is what attracts the population to Bikes like moths to a flame. There are no separate lanes for cycles and Motor Bikes forcing them to share the same road space with larger vehicles. This adds fuel to the fire since Motor Bikes and Scooties stand a real chance of getting knocked off balance by other bigger counterparts. If this is not scary enough then the sight of them carrying a family of five or ferrying heavy objects on busy roads could scare the devil out of you but the riders remain lionhearted! Add to it the popular culture glorifying masculinity and aggression in Dhooms’ and Roadies, many resort to over speeding and wheeling only to lose balance and control sooner or later.
The great Indian Middle Class’ dream is finally unfolding in front of their eyes. This is the same group which inspired Ratan Tata to build the world’s cheapest car when he witnessed a family of four negotiating a busy road on a bike! Owning a home and a car has never been this easy. As more cars compete to dominate roads there is bound to be absolute pandemonium. Partnering them on roads is the service provided by the ever proliferating Cabs. But the car owners cut a sorry figure since their driving experience is far from pleasant. Due to the poor shape of roads, cars soon end up with damaged shock abs, punctured tires and rebellious brakes seeking asylum in service centers most often.
Buses, Trucks and other heavy vehicles complete the equation. The Transport Corporations Do not Have Adequate Fleet Of Buses To Serve The Public. As A Result Many Are Packed To the Brim During Peak Hours! Absence of Bus Corridor Adds to The Pandemonium! This applies even to school buses carrying tiny tots packed like sardines. Trucks and other heavy vehicles have the nick name “Messengers of Death” since they sound death knell for safe driving. Safety of these vehicles gets severely compromised due to overloading and over speeding thus jeopardising theirs own lives as well as that of others.
And then there is the ubiquitous Auto Rickshaws. They fly non-stop through roads of all size in India. Autos bring an array of violations in tow. They fill the glaring void left by the erratic public transport system but at a considerable cost. The annoying sound, the impromptu stops, redundant meters, endless bargains and always exceeding the carrying capacity helps add to the pandemonium on roads. What makes Autos and Cabs more scary is the drivers’s attitude towards women. The furtive glances and lecherous talks aimed at women intensifies as darkness descends upon Indian cities. Installing GPS on Autos, Taxis and Public Transport vehicles are still a work in progress! The scars left by the shocking Nirbhaya Incident Is yet to be healed but the Govt. seems to have learnt no lessons!
Road Transport Laws Are Honored More In The Breach Than In The Observance! Grease The Palm To Get Things Done is the Axiom! This Is True Right From Obtaining A License To Running Scott Free For Over Speeding And Carrying In Excess!
Being a Rider/Driver of a vehicle under the above circumstances would mean an unavoidable increase in travel time. These delays unavoidably leads to frustration culminating eventually in indiscipline on Roads. Instead of comparing the Indian Roads with western countries we should pick up the pieces. To call ourselves a civilized society we need to get rid of the savagery on roads. If we want to create a future generation with better road sense we need to start now and become part of initiatives such as the NSDF by Nissan.
Children are the ones who need more attention! Since they are future citizens we need to mould their minds by getting the message across at the earliest. When they slowly graduate from Tri-cycles to Bi-cycles we need to start feeding doses on road sense, signals and safety! Including chapters in school books about Road etiquette and safety which goes beyond mere introduction can be of great help. Tie ups with Traffic Police Department of respective cities to enlighten them about Road rules would help them retain the message for eternity. NSDF too should reach out to schools and try to catch them Young!
Most of the children take to motor bikes and cars at a young age by laying their hands on the machines of their kin. They take to road without adequate grasp of road safety. Many are non-license holders and their only qualification for mounting a bike or riding a car may be the wrong inspiration they gained from Aamirs and Vin Diesels. A sudden rush of blood could turn such joy rides into nightmares! By encouraging this high risk group to take to roads without adequate precautions, we are sending lambs to the slaughterhouse. It is our responsibility to be their guiding lights.
Be the change you want to see. It’s hard time for us to go on a soul searching journey. Retrospect about how an average day of yours unfolds and the pleasant and not so pleasant things it brings along. Try to add the former and reduce the latter. The trick lies in burying Mr. Hyde and nurturing Dr. Jekyll within us!
When You Graduate To A Four Wheeler There Is A Need To Unlearn Some Habits And Learn New Lessons.
The need of the hour is honest confessions such as the desire for retraining which will help us get back to the basics. This will enable us to learn, unlearn or re learn differences between innumerable signage and categorize them into cautionary, mandatory and informatory. They can bring out flaws buried within ourselves such as the need for discarding the habits acquired from riding two wheelers when you graduate to four wheelers or to heavy vehicles. The prospective car owners should realize the need for maintaining optimum distance between vehicles and ill effects of excess flashing of lights which can drop vision from 100% to 10% within fraction of a second. If these measures are adhered to, then you would’ve already spared many lives even before stepping on the road.
The next step towards redemption would inevitably involve Planning Your Day. Don’t cram too many things into your schedule. Always try to be an early bird so that you can reach your destination on time. This can help you avoid facing serpentine traffic snarls or will permit you to face it calmly since you have time to spare. “A calm you” will go a long way in keeping annoyance, anxiety and over speeding at arm’s length.
Try To Be A Part Of Campaigns For Promoting Safe Driving Such As Nissan’s NSDF! This poster drives home the message!
Once you get behind the wheel or mount your bike never compromise on two things: Seat Belts for cars and Helmets for Motor Bikes. A combination of seat belts and airbags in a car can prevent death for the driver and others inside the car in case of accidents. When accidents strike the victims may still survive but will become crippled if he ignores seat belts. This may leave him disabled for the rest of his life. There is a double blow to the victims’ family since they undergo severe trauma post the accident and could probably end up losing the bread winner. The Hospital bills add fuel to the fire.
Ignoring Seat Belts and Discarding Air Bags Can Escalate Injuries from Accidents To Chest, Pelvic and Lower Limbs. Awareness About The Mechanism behind Car Safety and Types of Accidents can Change Peoples Outlook About Driving!
For the ones riding Motor Bikes, doing away with your helmets is a strict no no. Wearing Helmet is the rule of thumb and by flouting it you are committing blasphemy. The arguments against helmets are many and fly thick and fast. Yes! Helmets don’t prevent head injuries. But Helmets alone can otherwise make an irreversible brain damage into a reversible one. If you still think helmets are outcasts try to remember Michael Schumacher. Even though he is confined to his bed, the helmet saved his life. The Pillion Rider too should wear helmets and defaulters should not be allowed to run scott free.
Try hard to avoid talking over cell phones while driving. Using hands free to talk while you drive or texting incessantly at traffic signals when the light is red are injudicious. Try calling back after reaching your destination or pullover and talk if the phone rings incessantly. Make sure your car’s music system plays a soothing tune which has a calming influence on you as well as others inside the car. Blaring heavy metal and other rock music are not recommended since they pump up the adrenaline to such an extent that it could prompt you to drive on top speed. Aggression will also surface if there are heated arguments between you and the ones with you in the car. Try hard to maintain a tranquil atmosphere inside the car!
Don’t Have One For The Road! Have None For The Road!
There is one last hurdle for you to cross: Alcohol. Driving and Alcohol make strange bedfellows and thus the combination is lethal. Driving under the Influence has been bracketed as the major cause for accidents across the world by W.H.O. Everything goes downhill for a driver when the level of alcohol in blood goes beyond the prescribed limits. It would tantamount to driving straight into the jaws of death.Death, Destruction and Disability comes in its wake.
Despite observing all the advices recommended here you still can have a bad day. A pedestrian here, a fellow driver there would inevitably bump into your car or bike. Don’t plunge headlong into the “Tere Baap Ka Road Hai Kya” dialogue mode. Hold your horses! The guy at the receiving end too could have had a horrible day and reminiscing about it would have overwhelmed his concentration momentarily. Don’t go for shouting matches! Even if the guy at the other end is breathing fire try not to part ways with your civility. Always try to be courteous on road.
Never Part Ways With Civility On Road! Try To Be More Gracious!
Compassion alongside courtesy completes the equation. Uncertainties on roads are inevitable and would bring along mishaps in its wake. If you come across an accident do not flee the scene. Get out and try to help the victim if you can! Performing First Aid measures on the accident victim is not what is expected from you. Instead some simple measures such as calling the ambulance, trying to stop the bleeding, strapping the victim to the stretcher and shifting him carefully et al. can go a long way in saving one’s life. Abstaining from your responsibility won’t work because the odds of you ending up by the roadside drenched in a pool of blood and ignored by everyone tomorrow are very high! If You Ignore The Calls For Help, You Are Writing Your Own Epitaph By Doing So!!
The day started out like any other for Paul Walker and Gopinath Munde except for one big difference! By the time the sun went down, they reached home as usual but this time within caskets as lifeless bodies wrapped in white garbs. Even though separated by space and time and belonging to different walks of life they both departed for the same reason. If it was Walker’s friend who crashed his car into a concrete lamppost, it was a speeding cab which sealed Munde’s fate. Both perished on road as consequence of mistakes committed by others! Driving is a huge responsibility! You obtain license to drive not to kill!
Rest In Peace!
Bullet Trains, Freight Corridors, Diamond Quadrilaterals, Upgraded Emission Norms, Stringent Road Safety laws, Systematic Enforcement are all in the pipeline. But the question eventually boil down to you. It hinges on the measures and precautions taken by you to be a responsible road user. NSDF ‘s mission to inculcate Safety On Indian Roads by serving one Indian city at a time will eventually transform India into a Safe Driving Zone! When you grab your keys and go for a drive it should always be at the back of your mind that “Safety Begins With You.” So Arrive Home Safe!
This blog post is my entry for the contest “Nissan Safety Driving Forum” conducted by IndiBlogger in association with Nissan. For More details please visit: https://www.nissan.in/innovation/NSDF.html
(Question Mark) (NSDF) (Keep Calm) (One For The Road) (Ferrari Ki Sawwari)
The Skies have always managed to capture Indian Imagination!
From the days of yore to the present, skies have always managed to capture the Indian Imagination. Be it the richly inventive Pushpaka Vimana, the flying chariot seized by the evil incarnate Ravana, or the enduring image of an airborne Hanuman fetching the sanjeevani bearing mountain, it was ingrained in the Indian psyche that things are capable of flying and we have always looked up at the azure skies for miracles. The advent of scientific temper after attaining a hard earned freedom saw the nation transcend the mythical dreams of soaring without wings into reality by crafting a nascent aviation industry. And since then India has not looked back and Indian skies have played host to things as diverse as the lightning fast PSLVs, the deadly Agnis’ and Prithvis’, crashing MiGs and interplanetary Mangalyaans.
The Touch down of #LufthansaA380 in the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi is an acknowledgement of India’s growing significance in the aviation industry!
But what Delhi is about to witness on 08 November 2014 will be unmatched by the event’s sheer scale and magnitude. It is a huge Gamble taken by a pioneer from Germany and they are betting it big on this historic event to blaze a trail in the Indian Aviation Industry. On 08 November 2014, the D-Day, Delhi Airport will witness the touch down of Lufthansa A380: World’s Largest Commercial Aircraft. In an industry where airlines largely keep their fingers crossed and play by rules Lufthansa has drawn the Aviation Industry into uncharted territories believing firmly that The Big Lady, Lufthansa A380, can turn the game on its head!!
There are problems aplenty for Aviation Industry and Airlines have their fingers crossed! Future looks bleak!
Despite the increasing demands for air travel as a result of increasing economic prosperity across the world, many international airports are at their wits end when it comes to congestion. The take-off and landing slides of all international airports are full of activity round the clock culminating in delayed landings. The more the passenger carriers hover over the airports owing to delayed landing the more jet fuel it guzzles leaving a bottomless hole in airlines’ wallet. Add to this the things which are beyond the control of airlines’ such as bad weather,landing emergency et al. and the equation gets all the more complex. The gravity of the problems in the aviation industry is conveyed by this sarcastic quote: “If you want to be a millionaire start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline!”
When Lufthansa officials signed on the dotted lines for ordering a fleet of the most expensive passenger plane ever made, they made a leap of faith. The airline saw the future of aviation industry in the super jumbo fleet of A380. Lufthansa A380 could wave the magic wand which could hold almost all the answers for problems plaguing the international airlines.
#LufthansaA380: A Leap Of Faith which will usher in a new era in Aviation!
The Big Lady is not your run of the mill passenger carrier. Lufthansa A380 can at once be Fast, Fuel efficient and Spacious. The roomy Lufthansa A380 is a revolution in aircraft design since The Big Lady can hold 100 more passengers than its trans-Atlantic rival Boeing 747. Lufthansa A380’s startling holding capacity comes not at the expense of Speed and Performance. The Big Lady despite being colossal is always capable of attaining the top airspeed. Since Lufthansa A380 is built with composite materials, burns 12% less fuel and is light on the wallet. This frugality will help the airline meet its green commitments.
The Big Lady combines more than 15,000 pieces of software and millions of codes thus settling for nothing less than the latest technology. All these milestones have been attained by not making any compromises on Safety. Lufthansa A380 has gone out of its way to ensure safety and has taken unprecedented measures. The Big Lady is adept at handling any crisis such as medical emergency, technical glitch or bad weather since her wheels are custom made for absorbing the landing impact and has the largest emergency landing gear put together to face any unplanned landing. The overflowing cup of woes in aviation industry is all set to be despatched into the oblivion!
Bigger is Better: #LufthansaA380 comes loaded with enhanced carrying capacity without sacrificing speed, safety and performance!
Lufthansa A380’s performance is being scrutinised around the world with keenness since it will be an experience for all the stakeholders. From the airline crew which certainly would not have encountered anything of this scale to the passengers who have paid a premium to experience Lufthansa’s hospitality there would be unparalleled levels of eagerness and enthusiasm. The crew of Lufthansa A380 has to fire on all cylinders to gratify passengers’ expectations because they are the ones who pass the final verdict. The final verdict around the world has been an overwhelming Thumbs Up!! And Lufthansa A380 is just what the doctor ordered for the Indian Aviation Industry!!
Incredible India: All set to become the youngest nation in the world by 2020. India is the place to be since it is the most happening place on earth!#LufthansaA380 holds the early mover advantage!
We are living in changing times. The growth momentum is gradually shifting from the west to the east. And as the eastern economies take charge, India would assume the centre stage since she holds all the aces. A Burgeoning population, increasing prosperity, sky rocketing aspirations, the jovial youth energy and the growing mobility are aspects which any international airline can ignore at their own risk! As the West ages rapidly, India will become the World’s youngest nation in the year 2020. This would eventually culminate in severing ties with tradition and nodding to new conventions owing to modernity. This transformation will reflect conspicuously in changing preference for travel and tour destinations and preparedness to work in any corner of the world as India develops strong ties with other world nations.
If #LufthansaA380 caters to the Evolving Indian Preferences it could fill the seats and its coffers as well!! Its all about striking the right chord!
Lufthansa A380 can be the first choice airline if it caters to the diverse Indian penchant. Realize the fact that there is no one “Indian psyche stereotype” but many and stitch your cloth accordingly. There are Frugal Indians who are the value for money kind, Opulent Indians who wants to live the experience and Entrepreneurial Indians who travel unceasingly. Lufthansa A380 can kill three birds with one stone by offering enhanced services in Economy, First and Business Class of A380. Alongside increased comfort, enhanced ambience, innovative cabin designs and more room, features such unique entertainment programmes and Lufthansa’s personal service will strike all the right chords with all type of Indians. Considering the Indian conditions, Lufthansa A380 is just what the doctor ordered. If they succeed in India they can succeed anywhere.
India Comes home during her Festivals!
With a sizeable population already sprinkled all around the world in the form of an ebullient Indian Diaspora, opening more international air routes to Indian cities and back would only add to Lufthansa’s profits!. And no matter which corner of the world it is an Indian would head home when Festivals comes calling. So they can expect a beeline! Lufthansa A380 will already have the early mover advantage and a couple of years down the line they can laugh all the way to the bank.
Indian Aviation Industry: One Step forward, Two Steps Backwards!
Far from these good prospects, Indian Aviation Industry is still in a time warp. Despite Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi being the largest aviation hub in India as well as South Asia and mouth watering statistics being projected for Delhi Airport in the long run, the major players in the Indian aviation scene has not got their act together! Over the years the Indian Aviation scene has become more unpredictable. As an inevitable consequence passengers suffer, profit goes down the drain and the nauseating corruption makes Indian Aviation a “No Go Zone”. The Forever Comatose Air India, the Kingfisher which doesn’t fly, the competent Jet Airways, the frugal Tiger, the opulent Etihad, Emirates et al. have to pull up their socks if they want to survive since Winds of Change are blowing Indian Aviation Industry’s way finally!! The entry of Lufthansa A380 will surely be the dawn of a new era in Indian Aviation!!
Lufthansa A380’s touch down on November 08 2014, in the Indira Gandhi International Airport will force its competitors, who have been calling incessantly for reform and for mergers, to sit down and take note! Because the changing times demand a combination of Bigger and Better things!! From Delhi Lufthansa A380’s international air routes spreading to other Indian cities in future is a given! The open and peaceful skies of India will add a new feather to its cap and will truly enter a new era when Lufthansa A380 touches down in Delhi! Alongside the Vimanas, the MiGs and the Mangalyaans she can add another miraculous engineering marvel from the skies called Lufthansa A380. The Message conveyed by The Big Lady: Lufthansa A380 to its contenders is loud and clear: Achtung! Go Big or Go Bust!!
Achtung! #LufthansaA380 is here! Go Big or Go Home!
This blog post is my entry for the contest “Lufthansa A380 – The Dawn Of A New Era” conducted by IndiBlogger in association with Lufthansa. For More Details Please visit: http://a380.lufthansa.com/TAKEPART/#/DE/EN/home
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On 15 th August 2014, from the ramparts of Red Fort, a thundering voice resonated across India. The occasion was auspicious and the man was none other than our Prime Minister on whom our electorate had reposed faith. Far from waxing eloquent he held a mirror up to our society! Questions, which all of us would prefer to sweep under the carpet were thrown at us. It was unprecedented.
After all, on a day when our national pride runs non-stop and super-fast across our veins, who would like to be remembered about the fact that we are a nation with more cell phones than toilets, a nation where open defecation persist even after 67 years of independence and a nation which has disinherited the virtue of cleanliness held high by the father of the nation!
His Voice on Independence day prompted us to have a re look into our Voice of conscience.
Expecting nothing more than rhetoric about our nation’s GDP and its intolerance to terrorism, my friends and I were staggered by the confessions from the one who was at the helm of affairs. The speaker was composed, his voice was clear and it revealed a sense of purpose. The Angry-Young-Frustrated Indians that we were, told ourselves that at last here is a man who calls a spade a spade! He has issued the much needed clarion call at last. The million dollar question is: Are we ready for transforming India into a Clean India?
The best way to solve a problem is to identifying it first, i.e. its magnitude and laying out a systematic plan of action based on that understanding. Let’s admit it that India is Dirty-literally and figuratively. The tougher task lies in assessing the enormousness of this dirt. It is a given that filth is omnipresent in India but undeniable that the magnitude of filth generated multiplies in Indian Cities.
Along with Globalisation its inevitable side effects unfolds in Indian Cities.
As the globalisation juggernaut rolls on dissolving the barriers between nations and within them, Cities are witnessing unprecedented growth. Not to be left out, the starry eyed villager aspiring for a better quality of life packs his bags and becomes a migrant overnight. Since many such unlucky souls have no control over their destinies many end jobless and merges either into the slums or end up on the pavements. This Migration phenomenon inevitably ends up increasing the density of Indian cities. This has a Domino Effect affecting everything in its wake.
Water is the elixir of life but many parts of the city have fleeting water supply and worse still there are places within cities devoid of it. The dilapidated water supply throws spanner into the sewerage system rendering public toilets useless. Since slums proliferate spontaneously, they will always be outside the purview of the planned sewerage system. This would discourage the use of community toilets and encourage the practise of open defecation.Other acquired habits such as not washing hands before eating, not using soap after defecation to clean hands etc. follows in its wake. Slums later become reservoirs of epidemics which slowly spread into the larger city space carried by infectious agents.
24X7 Water Supply is still an unfulfilled dream in many cities in India.
Almost all the cities in India have an incomplete drainage system. Incomplete since they are always a work in progress. This piecemeal system comes to the fore when monsoon visits us annually. Like clockwork, the drainage system fails. With nowhere to escape, excess runoff settles on roads bringing traffic to a standstill. This lack of preparedness throws a spanner into the normal lives of common folks.
Adding another dimension to this overflowing cup of woes of the cities is the indifference to the scientific waste management system. Factories flout effluent norms and pollute rivers and lakes. The cultural extravaganzas in the name of devotion leave rivers contaminated. Segregation of daily waste generated at home into organic, hazardous and plastic is rarely followed. Dumping wastes by the wayside has become our national pastime.
Waste Management in India is still largely off the cuff.
Keeping our homes clean has become our priority and cleaning the streets have been relegated to the “not-my–problem-zone”. Littering is done by choice and without a worry in the world. The initial disgust on our face when encountered by filth disappears once we get accustomed to the stink. The litter graduates into dust heaps and dust heaps into a dumping grounds converting a locality into a no go zone where under the cover of darkness anti-social elements thrive. We pass the buck to the authorities and they point their fingers at another direction continuing the blame game. This practice persist because we don’t even have an iota of civic sense. Prime Minister through his rousing speech was trying to put some Civic Sense into our heads on 24th August.
The solution lies not in buying a posh flat and cocooning oneself within gated colonies. That would tantamount to cowardice. “Be the Change you want to see”. Complaints can easily turn into rants, rants becomes tirades overtime reducing the whole affair into mudslinging. The trick lies in gradually overpowering our passions, turning it into reasoning and speaking out loud.
Don’t be a silent spectator! Speak out!! The campaign for transforming our citizenry from being passive onlookers to active participants in building a Clean India is being spearheaded by Strepsils through the #AbMontuBolega Campaign. If you need to put your thoughts across you should ooze confidence and convey them in the right tone without being overbearing like our Prime Minister. Strepsils can be of great help to fight bacterial and viral throat infections if you have any trouble related to voice. Draw confidence from within and Strepsils will help you express fully.
Part ways with your silence. Make some noise guys. After all are we not the largest democracy? Don’t we have more than 20 official languages? So start asking sensible questions! Discuss ways to make India clean through #AbMontuBolega with Montu. Ask why on earth the state can’t stop the proliferation of slums! Ask why the state can’t still provide affordable housing for the downtrodden! Ask about the status of the funds allotted for the sanitation facilities for the poor! Ask why is it that piped water is still a distant dream for many homes even in cities! Ask why Ganga is still polluted despite spending a fortune on cleaning it! Ask why Indian Railways is still the world’s largest open toilet and why have they not installed Bio Toilets yet! And finally, Ask yourselves: what have you done to make India clean. Silence is not an option anymore! So have Strepsils and speak up to make India clean by 2019 to ensure that we give the most fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary!
Let’s try to fulfill Mahatma’s dream of Swatch Bharath! So Speak Up!
This blog post is my entry for the Happy Hours Campaign #AbMontuBolega Campaign conducted by “IndiBlogger” in association with “Strepsils”. For more details please visit: http://www.abmontubolega.com/
www.indiatvnews.com (Narendra Modi. 1st image)
www.hindustantimes.com (Mega Toxicities. 2nd image)
www.tribuneindia.com (Water Shortage. 3rd image)
www.brainbuxa.com (Waste Management. 4th image)
http://www.abmontubolega.com/ (#AbMontuBolega Campaign 5th image)
http://www.govtjobsnaukri.com/(Swatch Bharath Campaign Logo. 6th image)
“How far will you go to win a Game?”
The typical response would range from “I will resort to deceit” and I will grease my opponent’s palm”. They all fall between the customary and the clichéd. Every regular response would pale in comparison with what we Indians did many moons ago. “Pandavas”, the Five Brothers of yore, got so competitive over a board game that they pawned their kingdom, their own selves, their dignity and eventually their wife just to keep a board game going!! One of the many great saints of India later penned this story down which, over the years, became one of the cultural identities of our nation. The Moral of the story: We play hard and are extremely competitive!!
The Pandavas: No one can break their feat!
India has had a chequered history when it comes to games: be it the brainy, black and white chess or the brawny and equally demanding Kabaddi. All these games and many more had their humble origins in India. Therefore the decision by “Fat Cat” to launch “Lucky 6” in India is just what the doctor ordered.
From a labourer who strains every sinew to earn 3 square meals a day, the happy go lucky youth who daydreams about the latest bike and the scheming entrepreneur who seals a business deal without breaking a sweat; India carries along these contrasting elements in her everyday life. One common but invisible thread connecting them all is “Aspiration”. All of them live hoping that one day their aspirations would be within their grasps.
Some work exceptionally hard; some build castles in the air and others take recourse to intrigues. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that all of them are risking it out. There is no guarantee that one’s hard work will be rewarded every time and being part of the second most populous nation in the world makes it all the more difficult. There is this ever present “Frustration of Failure” looming large and it should be poised by the “Hope of Luck”.
In order to boost one’s “Hope of Luck” one can go down the beaten track offering endless petitions in the form of prayers and bribes in the form of offerings to appease Gods. But the smarter way lie somewhere else: Lotteries. This is not the Lotteries of the past which were nothing but a piece of paper carrying a string of numbers and sold by plebeian dealers outside bus stands or the ones like the Super Lottos where you had to scribble on a combination of random numbers and your luck hinged on the roll of the trivial balls. Industry has already rolled out the red carpet for a winning combination for a makeover.
A country which is the crucible of youth energy as well a burgeoning aspirational class holds all the aces. India could well be the perfect destination for “the Evolution of the 21st Century Lotteries”. Add to this equation the ever increasing Internet penetration and the Smart Phone revolution; you have a combination which packs a punch. Smart Phones are increasingly becoming affordable and its marriage with invaluable apps including exceptionally popular games has turned earth of late into a “planet of the apps”. Lucky 6 is in the most happening place on earth and if everything goes well will hold the early mover advantage in future.
Our exploits in winning a stage and proceeding to the next one in a popular game becomes a trending topic when shared through Social Network sites. This induces other to try their hands at the same and surpass our feet and create insurmountable records. At the outset it is like a drop but slowly rubs everyone off in its wake turning the game into a worldwide phenomenon. In order for a game to become a sensation it needs all the right ingredients such as the right technology, interaction and entertainment. Fat Cat’s Lucky 6 has all these concoctions in equal measure to make it an instant Social Media Sensation.
To begin with Fat Cat’s Lucky 6 is absolutely free. For a population which likes to go on discount hunting for eternity this would be hard to resist. Being available for free would will make many turn heads is something given but what makes a game appealing is its ease of playing. Lucky 6 by Fat Cat ticks this box as well since Lucky 6 has an eye catching app icon, striking user interface, easy navigation and flawless data storage which makes the app spotless . The icing on the cake is the availability across all the platforms from Android to Apple.
But what makes a game attain cult status is when users have a reason to play it. This is where the rubber hits the road. Fat Cat’s Lucky 6 combines the already happening social gaming with life changing prices and makes the most of the existing market gap! This out of the box thinking will help Fat Cat’s Lucky 6 from being just another game to attain the standing of more than just a game! Prizes are not just imaginary points or credits but things that anyone aspires for. Harnessing the power of lottery one needs to pick up six favourite brands instead of numbers. All the brands in the fray are appealing and their positions fluctuates over the course of the day but by the end of it if your chosen brands match the Top 6 you’ve hit the jackpot!! It’s that complicated lol!!
The Lucky 6 gives you a reason to share as well. If you invite your friends and they win you stand to win as well. All news is good news for the social media addicts who have a flurry of friends because the more friends you have the more you stand to win. So there is an incentive in spreading the news and shouting aloud about the new kid on the gaming block. The propositions are attractive and it sounds like a money spinner. The Crowd funding model chosen by Fat Cat is out of the ordinary since it helps Lucky 6 harness the boundless powers of financing through the internet. The Fat Cat’s Lucky 6 gaming app is truly a game changer and will take the target audience by storm!!
It’s time for us to bring back the long buried instinct of taking chances inherited from the Band of five brothers in the Mahabharatha because we all play hoping that one good deal can turn the tables around!! So let’s gamble!
Lucky 6 by Fat Cat is here to stay !
This blog post is my entry for the Happy Hours Campaign “Getting Lucky has never been this easy” conducted by IndiBlogger in association with Lucky 6 by Fat Cat about the spirit of Fat Cat’s Lucky 6 game. For more details please visit: http://fatcatgaming.com/
Lucky 6 by Fat Cat : (http://fatcatgaming.com/)
“India was like some ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously.” – Jawahar Lal Nehru
We Indians are extremely fortunate since we can explore the many layers of thoughts and reverie which flowed through our country from times immemorial since they all have been recorded for eternity. Let’s explore two such layers of Indian Pasts: One Layer has already been written and stands tall with all its glory intact and another Layer which is yet to be engraved since we have still not made up our minds as to how to go about it.
The first Layer is as old as the mountains. “The curious case of Man” catapulted him to such an extent that he stopped wandering, settled down along with his ilk, domesticated animals, discovered minerals and ploughed the soil and produced crops for subsistence. The more he endeavored the more he innovated. The superior techniques in metallurgy and handicrafts came in tow transforming his hitherto rudimentary settlements into large urban civilization.
When the remnants of this culture were discovered along the Indus River, it was christened the Indus Valley Civilization. What is more impressive is that our ancestors were nonpareil for the design of an impressive “Drainage System”. The excavations prove that every house, big or small, in every city had its own courtyard and bathroom. The drains were covered with bricks and even with stone slabs some times. Water flowed from the house to the streets which had drains and the latter was equipped with manholes. Archaeologists are of one voice when they conclude that the domestic bathrooms and drains are of remarkable quality and no other Bronze Age contemporaries have been so “Attentive to Cleanliness and Health” like the inhabitants of Indus.
The Second Layer of thought to which you and I belong is in the 21st century and is largely unwritten. A light year separates the Indus Valley Civilization and the 21st century. The date is 15th August 2014 and the cynosure of all eyes is the Red Fort at Delhi from where our newly elected Prime Minister exhorts his fellow citizens to build toilets for the safety of our women and to ensure their dignity so that they don’t need to wait for darkness to defecate in the open!! He goes on and admits with ignominy the need for separate toilet for every school, the need to keep every road, school, office, locality and neighbourhood in India clean. From the highs of being a civilization which had quality toilets for all its houses, we have fallen to the lows of having more mobile phones and fewer toilets.
Somewhere along the journey from the Indus Valley to the more modern 21st century, we have lost the moorings to which we tied the values of Cleanliness, Orderliness and the notion of Hygiene. We have acknowledged the fact with shame that we are the world leader in open defecation. The government despite its efforts to eradicate open defecation and prohibit the practise of carrying night soil by safai karamcharis ends up promoting open defecation: INDIAN RAILWAYS is the world’s biggest open toilet. The promise of introducing Bio toilets in trains still remain a pipe dream! It promotes open defecation and manual scavenging with not even an iota of concern!
PUBLIC TOILETS are few and far between and are nightmares since they remain unclean and neglected by the authorities concerned. The littered streets, unclean footpaths, broken drains, stagnant water and polluted rivers have become part of our Indian identity. Its startling how we have lost our sense of public hygiene because we began as a civilization which had the qualities of cleanliness and hygiene innately! The Prime Minister is exhorting us to change for good since it won’t feel great if Indians defecate adjacent to bullet train tracks and in Smart Cities of the future!!
Life is really hard being a girl child in India and it gets all the more harder if she is born in the countryside. After crossing numerous hurdles such as sex determination, female foeticide, son preference and female infanticide, let’s imagine that a girl child named Babli was born in an imaginary village in rural India.
If Babli survives the threats faced by almost all infants in India: diarrhea, worm infection and as a consequence stunted growth and malnutrition she can enrol in the primary school in her village. Let’s suppose that Babli’s was a lucky girl since her school had a makeshift toilet. If Babli survives the ailments namely Typhoid fever, Japanese encephalitis etc. associated with an unclean milieu such as using a dirty toilet, not washing hands, not using soap after using the toilet then she can proceed to the secondary school. But there is a greater change brewing inside Babli which could confine her permanently within the four walls of her house.
Upon attaining puberty, Babli can continue her schooling only if her new school has a separate toilet for girl children since she has the added burden of menstruation. Even if her school has a separate toilet for girls, while at home she needs to survive the perils of venturing out in the dark for defecating. She would live to see the next day if her bodily integrity is not violated by some sexual predators lurking under the cover of darkness. Even if Babli’s father finally decides to construct a toilet owing to the pressures from authorities, possibilities are high that Babli along with her family would still resort to open defecation owing to her inclination acquired from her family.
If Babli survives all these hurdles and gets married after completing her secondary schooling, possibilities are high that the house of her in laws having no toilet is heavy! Babli again falls back into the vicious circle. This vicious cycle continues when her children walk down her path!! The equation gets all the more complex when you add the caste dimension to it. The lower you are in the caste hierarchy, the higher is the possibility for discrimination. Community discriminates you from using the common toilet or the burden of carrying the night soil falls on you if you are from a lower caste. It would not be a surprise if anyone calls this milieu madness.
But the good news is that some public players like Hindustan Unilever can provide a method to this madness. The Unilever Foundation and Domex have joined forces with UNICEF to help improve access to basic sanitation for hundreds of thousands of people in areas that need it most i.e. in Maharashtra and Odisia.
Since Domex is the most preferred brands when it comes to toilet cleaning, it falls upon Domex to ensure that Indian villages are free of open defecation. The task may sound insurmountable but understanding the problem and shaping a workable solution will go a long way in the fight to eradicate open defecation. The launching of The Domex Toilet Academy by the Hindustan Unilever Limited with an aim to build 24,000 toilets in areas which face the problem of open defecation is praiseworthy. Apart from ensuring that India is free of open defecation, it will also ensure the growth of Domex as the numero uno toilet cleaner in India since even the villages will become familiar with the germ killing qualities of the brand. The Domex Toilet Academy initiative is novel and strikes the nail on its head. It is demand driven programme i.e. building toilets where it is desperately needed (Maharashtra and Orissa in this case) and the aim is not just to build toilets but to improve the health and well-being of the community concerned by raising awareness of good hygiene practices and creating demand for access to toilet.
As the name suggests the Domex Toilet Academy does not just aim at building toilets. It digs deeper and intends at educating people on the importance of hygiene and sanitation. It aims at creating a network of local entrepreneurs to sell and build toilets. This is a demand driven approach which makes the villagers not just the passive recipient of doles in the form of built toilets but makes them active partners in shaping their future by making them capable! It is sustainable and inclusive at the same time. The Domex Toilet Academy doesn’t aim at reinventing the wheel but intends to harness the already existing structures. Partnership with well-established social enterprises with strong execution capabilities aims at identifying and training micro entrepreneurs who would execute the project in their local communities by supplying and installing latrines after getting the seed capital.
Not just content with building toilets, The Domex Toilet Academy aims at spreading awareness to bring about a behavioural change among the villagers. The advantages of being hygienic, safe sanitation and the hazards of open defecation is spread by a strong network of women self-help groups targeting children, women and community groups. The “catch them young “approach would go a long way in enlightening children of the villages about the importance of health and hygiene in their daily lives. If the message is inherited by the women of the villages, it can go a long way in ensuring behavioural changes in the family as a whole. And if the community is enlightened there would not be littered streets, broken pipes and unused toilets. The pressure exerted by them would force the others to change their behaviour for good!
Domex has gone beyond the domains of the clichéd Corporate Social Responsibility and has embraced the mission with passion. They can usher in change slowly but steadily and the change is already visible. Over 80 toilets in the Junapani village in Maharashtra has kept open defecation at bay. This was launched as a pilot programme in 2013 but has shown terrific results which would boost all the stakeholders to embrace the cause further.
“Ushering in Change through the Domex Toilet Academy”
Even the consumers of Domex too are getting a chance to realize the magnitude of the problem of open defecation and show their obligation towards getting the country rid of open defecation. Domex launched an online campaign on www.domexforsanitaton.com for creating awareness among its consumers by creating a button “You Click, We contribute”. For each click/support on this tab Domex contributed Rs. 5 to Domex Toilet Academy to help eradicate open defecation. This is praiseworthy since every citizen of India needs to be sensitized about the issue of open defecation.
In order to write the second layer of history in the 21st century we need all the stakeholders to come together. We, as a nation, need to clearly recover the qualities of cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene which we lost by the way side since we crossed the Indus valley civilization.
It would be really heartening to see a clean India which is sensitive towards the issues of hygiene and sanitation and which is open defecation free by the year 2019 as envisioned by our honourable Prime Minister. If Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a clean India is to be attained by the year 2019, all the Bablis hailing from all Indian villages should be able to grow up and lead a healthy and hygienic life devoid of the threat of open defecaton !! The Message is loud and clear: It is possible to attain an open defecation free India. !! The journey has just begun !!
This post is my entry for the Indiblogger Happy Hours Campaign #Toilet for Babli in association with Domex. For More details please visit the website: http://http://www.domex.in/