How often do we realize we are on a planet?

How often do we realize we are on a planet?


I recently watched BBC Earth’s Blue Planet documentary series. It made me realize so strongly that we are on a planet after all! It also made me think what we, human beings, are doing on the planet. Are we contributing to keeping its beauty alive or are we just protecting what is left? Are we as a species really using the intelligence we were born with?

Photo by Johny vino on Unsplash

Think about it. Our planet is so beautiful in so many ways – its waters harbor a totally different world than what we have on the land. And the land, with whatever natural patches are left, is equally beautiful. The world beneath is full of life and depicts colors, growth, innovation, survival instincts, different behaviors, etc. How are we, human beings, trying to retain the beauty of this planet we were gifted with? It may sound harsh but from what I have observed, I think we are too busy either consuming it, littering it, or, thanks to a few, preserving what we have been left with.

We must understand that we cannot regenerate the beauty that we originally have or had, on land and underneath. For example, we can only grow trees but we cannot grow mountains, we cannot create new plant species which are good for the planet, in several ways we cannot do what nature can. We can only protect what is left. None of our actions are ever going to make this planet remain as beautiful as we have it today, as the rate of destruction is far greater than the rate of protection.

We are spread all over the land available to us on this planet and yet we have managed to destroy it, unlike our neighbors under the sea who are not only fighting the change of times (forced upon them by human actions) but are also finding ways to innovate to keep their world intact, and it’s nature’s act of balancing. We, on the other hand, are not only largely unaware of how we need to act to keep our planet green and beautiful (I say this largely because of the apathetic attitude of most of us when it comes to environmental issues), but also do not have a plan as a species how to stop generating waste and e-waste, cutting trees, destroying forests, filling wastelands, killing wildlife, wasting natural resources, and finding comfort in ignorance.

The world around me seems too busy with following innumerable purposes except for caring for the planet we are on!

In India when I visit old monuments and sites I realize that our previous generations were very conscious of nature – they were conscious of maintaining hygiene, they had planned cities that took take care of waste, drainage, and severe weather conditions, and they worshipped natural resources and used them with care. They gave a lot of value to planting trees and maintaining the ecological balance. I am sure earlier civilizations across the world would have had a similar philosophy. And with the evolution of human beings, and of technologies, we now have several means of living a more comfortable, sheltered, life with no real requirement of protecting our planet till there is nothing left to consume, or till the time it really hits us with a devastating realization that it’s too late to salvage the planet.

It reminds me of an advertisement on a radio channel in India some time ago. It was something like this – a fire breaks out in a building and people panic. They get desperate to extinguish it but since the city has run dry and there is no water available in large quantity, they start thinking about alternatives – coconut water? bottled water? What can douse a fire except for water? And that’s the message – Save water for a safe future. And that’s so true in case of most of our natural resources.

The recent water crisis in Chennai in India is a sign of a strugglesome future that’s not very far for all of us. It’s actually late but we can still start working as a community across the world, go beyond the boundaries we have marked ourselves in, and change our acts for the greater good, else we are all in our own small and big ways paving a path for our collective suffering, and probably destruction.

Why always bad news?

Why always bad news?


It’s been quite a while that I have been observing, and have been disappointed as well, about the manner in which news in India is being reported through different channels, such as, television, online apps, Web, print, etc. Why always bad news? Is India only about sad issues? No. Since the purpose of journalism is to report noteworthy information as is, and perhaps at times validate or criticize it with a viewpoint, shouldn’t good and bad news be equally reported? I feel increasingly Indian media/news channels have become a medium to promote and propagate bad news, and bad behavior.

Whatever news medium you access, the channels are either reporting bad news (murders, rape, torture, theft, accidents, deaths, crises, violence, deceit, abusive behavior, corruption, lies) or they are reporting community/interest-specific news (about NGOs, sports, business, science, relationships, debates, indifferent view of incidents, travel, etc.). After consuming news for years, I have begun to question this now because I am observing that reading and listening to news now makes me feel as if more and more people in India are turning into bad people, with sad attitude and zero values.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Why not report good behavior, children’s positive actions, good news, courteous gestures by governments, the brotherhood between communities, actions made by love and affection, positive impacts made by people in small and big ways?

I believe Indian media plays a big role in shaping the country’s culture and the next generation’s thinking, and hence behavior. I am sure subconsciously we feel different when we watch bad and good news. Are we not making people too comfortable with all kinds of bad behavior by feeding them 24×7 with negativity? Also, whenever such things are reported, there is no follow up with positivity where a person can see right/good behavior and how it can make the world a better place or positively impact someone. For example, while a news medium reports a theft, supplementing such news with two positive ones where people have helped someone, or created something good, would neutralize the shock/apathy generated by the former article and rather would infuse a positive sentiment with the latter.

India and Indians aren’t as bad as we read/see about it in the news. There are several people in the country who are contributing in meaningful ways in making their surroundings better, in elevating lives, and in spreading positive actions/thinking. Several such efforts are made even though these people go through their own struggles of life. But the spirit remains positive and that’s something that needs to be acknowledged and promoted. Positive behavior will bear positive results only when people are trained to see that effect. With constant evil feed, people in India are increasingly forgetting how to behave nicely and how a smile needs to be responded to.

It’s time media becomes a medium to shape India’s culture into a highly positive, good, healthy, spirited one. It’s time for a goodnews.in.

I wish for a world of empathy

I wish for a world of empathy


Disability
Photo by Yomex Owo on Unsplash

My recent and the first tour to the US opened my eyes to a whole new world which was so fantastically friendly for the differently-abled. I wonder why we in India cannot make it the same! It is not so much about the economy or the wealth a nation has. I am sure it has more to do with the culture itself  —  with the way we think and look towards the differently-abled.

Nearly everyone I crossed on the streets of America – in the shops, on the ship, in the desert — everywhere — had the same regard for the disabled and gave way for priority access to them at the cost of waiting a little more for their turn. It was one of the most humbling experiences in my life.

I am thankful to all those people for the courtesy they extended and made my wheelchair-bound mother feel equal in every way.

It was the tourist season at the time when we were there and therefore many times we were part of large groups at entry and exit points of tourist spots. People from all over the world were there and yet everyone was polite to the differently-abled and extended a helping hand whenever they felt that someone requires assistance.

I feel sad to see the state of things at home, in my country. We have somehow forgotten our basic culture of being courteous and to respect everyone.

The attitude towards this small group of society (of the differently-abled) is of neglect, ignorance, and indifference. Shameful to say the least! While towns are turning into cities, businesses are willing to spend millions on lavish decor and swanky lifts but not on creating ramps and easy access for the differently-abled in their offices, shops, or malls.

It is nearly impossible for a differently-abled or a wheelchair-bound to navigate in India – we do not have proper pavements, roads are uneven, there is absolutely no way they can cross a road and get onto a pavement safely (we do not have those wheelchair ramps on any traffic light), most malls and shops have stairs at the entrance as the initial access point, and certainly no one wants to wait or give way to the differently-abled. In fact, most people take advantage of the slow speed of such a lot and run ahead of them to save their spot. That’s sheer apathy in action.

I am not sure how we Indians will ever change and imbibe empathy. I am not even sure how to make my countrymen understand the importance of being nice and being considerate towards the differently-abled. A minuscule percentage of people/not-for-profit organizations work towards helping the differently-abled but no one ever demands an equal place for them, an equal infrastructure for them. The efforts are clearly unable to move the needle. All of them, including the state governments, seem to be busy attaining something except cleanliness, hygiene, health, quality of life, ease of access, and empathy.

The difference between us and America is that there it is a law to create ease of access for the differently-abled and that law applies to governments, shop owners, infrastructure agencies who build roads, hospitality industry, everyone. So every service is meant first for the differently-abled and then made available for the able folks. The key is – the law is enforced to the core. Honestly. The intent is to make everyone in society feel equal and safe and nearly everyone works towards it, together.

Will any government in India ever be able to enforce such a law and lead that change? Will my people ever realise what society they are creating by choosing apathy over empathy? I love my country and I wish that someday this world of mine becomes equally safe and accessible for the differently-abled.

Travel. Read. Give.

Travel. Read. Give.


It’s always exciting to travel, always enriching to read a book, and always satisfying to give. These are the three experiences that I feel make our lives rich in terms of quality and knowledge, financially, they all soak $$ : ).

Travel-Read
Photo by Rathish Gandhi on Unsplash

Since I am about to begin a journey, it just occurred to me how much I have learned in the past years just by traveling to different places  —  about different cultures, food, people, values, architecture, art, history…the list is long. It is essential that one travels because it teaches you a lot subconsciously, while you are busy admiring the surroundings. It’s fun, isn’t it?!

Books also allow us to travel  —  to places, times, and imagination. The best part of reading is that it allows you to visit the world, moments in time, meet people (characters), and experience emotions  —  all by just sitting in one place. Like travel, reading too lends the exposure to different cultures, personalities, scenarios, and psychology. Books obviously reach our soul at a much deeper level. And that can be a very enriching experience each time you pick one to read.

And giving, of course, makes one feel satisfied with having made a good contribution to the world, society/people, or to an individual. The thought of giving is noble and the gesture of giving is soul-nourishing. You don’t need to be rich to give. Giving, I feel, can be in many forms — it can be time, financial, emotional, material, physical, education, the contribution of skill, and more. The experience of giving is so fulfilling that it always leaves you richer even when you are actually letting go of something from your end. And you learn a lot in the whole experience because when you give, you think about and witness what’s lacking on the other side, in so many areas, in so many lives. That’s what makes the experience so touching and filled with introspection and self-realization. So give more in life to learn through others’ lives.

If you too believe that traveling, reading and giving are enriching experiences, do leave a comment. It will be interesting for others to read and know more. That’s a way to give too!

To err is human…

To err is human…


Do you feel that the power of tolerance and patience in people is reducing at a great speed? We all play so many roles in our lives on a daily basis – that of being a daughter or a son, wife or a husband, a friend, a colleague, a sibling – that it is undoubtedly tough to give a stellar performance in all or any of these roles that we all play all the time.

As I observe, I feel when people make personal remarks, or judge others too soon, they forget that others too are like them, struggling to get somewhere or achieve more with less.

I agree that at times this is not as easy to be patient with an irritating lot, but even then there is always a little scope for patience before declaring the other as entirely unworthy of positive thought. After all, are we not all the same at some level and yet different? And as Alexander Pope said, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” A bit of patience here, an ounce of understanding there, and an open mind can make a better day, for everyone.