Saturday, July 29, 2017

Needing a Fix

Suddenly from moving up step by step in conservation, I seem to have slid back to the base and am very upset with myself.

My children had started cycling to school in the last term of the previous academic year. I was using that time to walk with them, and though they would be way ahead, beyond my sight, still it served two purposes - of conserving petrol and getting my exercise. But this term, their school has shifted and the roads that lead to the school are congested with traffic. Not feeling confident about riding along that path with heavy school bags, we are again picking up and dropping them by car.

I had been composting at home, managing it on my own with some help from the maid when I had one, and then the children. Dumping the kitchen waste in the composting pot is the easier part; sorting them once they are done, more time and labour intensive. Still, for a year I plodded on. Then, there was good news as one of my neighbours initiated a common effort at composting and I was relieved to add my kitchen waste there. I had been using the garden pots for composting, and they were used now to house some more plants. But suddenly last month, that common initiative was stopped and I am without my own devices to compost. Feeling a bit lost, though I know the solution is just one shopping trip away...

What has bogged me down further is the acquisition of an RO water purifier. Having resisted it all these years, I had to give in reluctantly. And now, drinking water has become a joke at home. Whenever my husband and I hear the purifier working, we turn to look at the outlet pipe, crudely put into a collecting vessel that is woefully insufficient to meet the waste water needs! I am scared to drink water now!!!

Yes, there is a solution to every problem and we will find one. But this makes me wonder about all those who throw the kitchen waste away, and let the waste water go down the drain without recycling it. How are we going to sustain? Is it all about our own health and comfort? What about that of mother earth?

Much of these problems can be dealt with at the individual level, though some of it may work better with community participation. Take the first step and walk alone till others join along... 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Ancient Mariner

Waves at night
One of the oldest surviving reptiles seems ready for extinction. Having survived the worst of catastrophes, over the millennia, it meets its match in the human, who has devised ingenious ways to destroy all forms of ecosystems - land, air and water.
Already, only seven species out of 30 survive. The ancient mariner may become a 'Once upon a time' in no time.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Two Steps Towards Green

When driving my children back from school, I would watch the children from government schools walk back, chatting, playing, enjoying themselves. I used the school bus till the eighth, from 9th to 12th, and I traveled by the public transport with my friends and remember the long chats, the jokes, the general fun. I started feeling sorry for my children. Though we do have our laugh sessions and jokes, I felt that that moment of childhood when they are on their own, without adult supervision, and enjoying their surroundings is an integral part of growing up that they seemed to be missing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Conservation Effort

Almost every tree in our complex and in the adjacent land - trees that we had been seeing for the last 10 years of living here, had been bent and broken by the merciless Vardah in December 2016.

Today, on Republic Day, we not only hoisted the flag as we do every year, but men, women and children participated eagerly in a drive to plant trees and recover the green.

When walking around the complex, I noticed a canna and remembered why it was planted two-three years ago.

When we were renovating our complex, on advise from one gray water expert, Mr Indukanth Ragade, we dug a well - a traditional well. It is dug where there is spring underwater and is also connected to our rainwater harvesting system. Being shallow, it is easy to recharge and improves the ground water level. This well is then connected to the underwater borewell so that the harvested water is pumped back into the system.

The canna bed receives water from the bathrooms. It is apparently good at treating the chemicals and also retains water underground... Thus adding to the water table.

While we may have the money to buy water, it disturbs me that we do nothing to conserve water available to us and also starve other regions by carrying away water from there.

We may still not be completely independent, but I think our dependence of water lorries have come down tremendously. The beauty of the shallow well is that you don't need to live in an independent house or a large complex. If there is water under your car park, you can dig a well there and keep it closed with cement slabs. Just make sure that it is connected to the RWH system as well as the borewell and is not going waste.

Imagine if an entire colony undertakes to divert rainwater thus! How much water we can pump back into the ground and start becoming independent...

I am not an expert and have tried my best to convey it the way I have understood. Rain Centre in Chennai maybe a good place for those living here to find out how to do it. I am sure other cities has such experts too.

Where the solution is within our reach, let's try these small methods to contribute and flourish. Water is precious and limited. Let's use it responsibly.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bull F(r)ight

That time of the year and that debate again - should Jallikattu be banned?

Not fond of violence of any kind, I have never been a great fan of this game. I am not a convert either now.

The bull is tortured during jallikattu, given arrack, scared with firecrackers and made to run helter-skelter, goring and killing people in the way...

Now, the counter question - what will happen to the indigenous breed if this game is banned? They will be slaughtered... that is the fear.

All these points and counter points are frustrating. It is again and again about human beings, how they use the animals and what they do when that animal becomes useless... If a bull is bred, then, of course, it has to have an ROI and that is jallikattu. If it cannot be used for that purpose, it has to at least become meat. Or leather.

In this god-given nature, no other creature has any place if it is not useful one way or the other to man.

It occurred to me that unlike stray dogs (which are also neutered and killed because they are useless...) we do not get to see any stray cows/bulls. Do we have free horses or are they bred only in captivity?

What animal rights are we talking about then? Are we the custodians of all creatures on this earth? If a bull is useless, why not just let it roam around freely?

Long back, when I visited the beneficiaries of an NGO, I was struck by the fact that the cows they owned, when in heat, are impregnated with frozen and thawed semen of Jersey bulls. Isn't the animal allowed to even indulge in that one act one season in a year while man needs no season or reason to copulate?

The frustrating emptiness of our way of thinking does not even shame us... We question, support or dispute based purely on the assumption that the decision is for us to take.

Let the animals lead their lives. Let us lead ours... Where our lives intersect, let us respect the animal. We have a need, let us use them with maturity and restrain. But beyond that, let's not presume too much on our intelligence. Time and again, it has failed us. It is doing so on this matter too...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

'Mother' Earth

We call her the bountiful Mother
But desire her like a lustful Lover
Forever fighting
Like dogs in heat
When all we need is six feet

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Reaching Up

The dry limbs
Reach up to the hot skies
Mercy they seek
On deaf ears fall their cries

The hot sun beats down
Seeking rivers to dry
But only the riverbed
Meets its pale eye