Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Controlling Pests Or Being Controlled?

It was a horrible, yet familiar sight. My kitchen counter invaded by baby cockroaches.
Photo Credit: Srikant Ranganathan
Unable to stand the sight, I got the pest control people to 'clean' up my home. I was assured that the pesticide being used was not harmful and that it was safe for humans.

Since then, since so many years ago, I have been 'clean. I get periodic pest control done and have been cockroach free. Then when I got termites, I did termite control too done.

As a consequence, I do not have lizards in my house either. Or the one or two that come go away on their own due to lack of sufficient nourishment.

But am I happy and content? No! The king of pests, the mosquito, seems to have taken over my house. As I read and think more and more about the food cycle and human interference that is disturbing it, I am wondering if the same is not happening with regard to the mosquito menace as well. Who are their natural predators? Whom have we eliminated from the insect food cycle because of which we have such an overload of mosquitoes? We either have to keep all our windows and doors closed, cutting off all natural breeze, or have chemical means to reduce this nuisance.

A hard question to answer. I dread allowing cockroaches to invade my home. But I hate this forced self-caging to protect my skin and that of my near and dear ones from the mosquito bite!

Oh yes, my pest control service provider has something for mosquitoes, but that is effective for two months only! There was a time I was told cockroaches can survive even nuclear bombing. But I think someone overlooked mosquitoes. They can survive much more!

Who is smarter, finally? These tiny pests or man?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lasting Impressions: Better Quality of Life - And the Price

Lasting Impressions: Better Quality of Life - And the Price: The tiger walked at a leisurely pace, unmindful of a jeep right behind it, dogging its steps. The people inside were enthralled to catch ...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

No Clean Slate: A Short Story

Gods pondered, looking at the earth. They were dismayed at the non-destructible debris that could be seen everywhere. Their calculations were right, and yet horribly wrong.

They had created man, expecting him to be the cause of destruction of the world in this cosmic-cycle. And he was behaving just as they expected he would. The sixth sense was a boon and a bane. He created, he innovated, he improved; but in the end, he destroyed everything around him in the process. Trees were gone. Waterbodies were gone. Air was polluted. Earth was polluted. On his own, he had created devices that would lead to the end of the world.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A New Leaf

The music troupe that had met at Anandam Old Age Home in Ambattur was invited to a sumptuous lunch prepared by the inmates - all destitute old people.

I saw this leaf placed on the table and thought it was a place mat. But this is the leaf! Shaped like banana leaf, this is in fact recyclable paper. Very light, it is water proof and does not tear though we had the regular south Indian meal.

Apparently it has been available in Parry's for sometime now.

I like the idea of pakku mattai plates and cups also. But they look solid! Still, this was an interesting concept and thought of sharing. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

When Will We Stop

However many times it takes for us to realise, I shall say this. The Government gives us the garbage bin. But if we do not use it well, it is not the Government's mistake! They get it cleaned everyday, but that does not mean we can dirty it beyond human tolerance. What caused this, I do not know. A load of bricks, maybe dumped carelessly, made it topple. Maybe a dog jumping off the bin tipped it. Maybe a human, while dumping the bricks, couldn't care to do it more carefully enough... But the result is this...! And till someone clears it, it will remain thus.

Monday, December 7, 2015

For a Rainy Day

I am just an element,
I was in my elements.
I know nothing of joy and anger, 
Nor indeed of safety and danger.

I fall from heavens without bias
Equally on the evil and pious
And on the ground when I fall
I seek new paths ignoring all.

Make way for me
Room to flow to the sea
If you place obstructions
I flow around constructions

Don't the poets admire?
My overcoming situations dire?
Oh you thought I had given up?
And abandoned you to a dry rut?

I thought you will enjoy
And not call me killjoy
I poured hard to make up
But you had no deep cup

To unite with my mother I seek
Flowing through concrete streets
To sink in her arms, is all I desire
But she is lost amidst muck and mire

I go away to distant lands
Will you ever want me back?
I am but one of the elements
Sometimes ruthless, sometimes clement. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Back to the Village

Lush green forest, a treat to watch. Circled - 2 elephants
Around the water body came human dwellings. Trees were cleared, dwellings constructed, farms came up and industries were set up to service the people living in the vicinity. The region prospered, started supplying to other regions. Roads were constructed, faster, better transportation infrastructure, storehouses, production methods...

Yes, this is history; the story of development, progress, prosperity.

Yes, this is the story of destruction.

It seems natural, the direction we have taken. From the prehistoric man's struggle with other inhabitants of the jungle to the modern man's struggle for space, it seems inevitable that more and more of that which sustains him should also be destroyed - forests, water, flora and fauna. It is scary, how this Development gobbles everything along the way. Most of it goes into connecting two remote points by land, water or air, destroying everything that stands in its way.

Finally, what will earth be left with? What will man grab to grow?

In destroying nature, is he not destroying himself too? Lifestyle diseases, killing commutes (which kill not only in the literal sense), long working hours in artificial conditions are upsetting the balance in urban lives. In parallel, rural life is also suffering.

In this depressing scenario, sometimes I hear sane voices. Voices that reflect the need to be cautious, march but watch where the next step takes them. Earn, but with responsibility.

More than townships, some builders in Chennai are looking at green constructions beyond just the measurable terms needed for a certification. They are talking of an entire ecosystem being created around the ecosystem - workplaces, educational institutions, commerce - the entire gamut that cuts down the need to commute to reach the place of choice.

More importantly, developing and maintaining a small organic farm within the township to meet the food needs at least partly; composting and solid waste management; rainwater harvesting and water recycling - these efforts maybe drops in ocean, but these are happening.

Do customers understand these benefits? Tragically not. Most are trained only to think of ROI, and only a few want to know how their household can become economically and environmentally viable.

To me, it seems plain common sense that we return to the old village model. Self-sufficient townships maybe the new term for villages, but this is the model we will have to follow if we wish to remain sane. Produce and manage locally primarily and reach out only when needed.

Of course, this model will go through a phase of rigidity and closed mindedness. Then we will try to spread out, build long bridges. But hopefully, by then, nature would have been righted and the destruction can begin afresh.