gauravnayal

Come hither and I shall explain what you already feel…


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My role as a citizen of Earth

I, An Earthling

Earth. Our planet. Our home. Let me reiterate. Earth. My planet. My home. There are things when looked from a different perspective become different altogether. The reason why I changed ‘our’ to ‘my’ is because unless we change our perception towards the problems that plague planet earth from looking at them collectively to actually feeling them inside (within ourselves), we shall never be able to truly do anything tangible about them. So once again I say, unless I take the onus of being an earthling true to the sense of its meaning I shall hardly be able to make any difference to my planet at all.
Now what differences am I talking about making here. It’s simple really. Innumerable issues infesting Earth need immediate amendments. From sustainable development and climate change(read global warming) to transnational organised crime, from global convergence of the IT sector to the pervasive rich-poor gap, from status of women to democratization, from clean water to education, from plea for peace and dodging conflict to increasing population and scarcity of resources, from global health issues to science and technology, from energy to pollution, from global foresight and decision making to anti-fur movements and much needed animal cruelty sensationalization, from everything that matters to everything you think does not just because it’s happening a thousand miles away from your cosy home; we need to tackle them all ! And together we can, if and only if each one of us does our own bit.
So here I am, typing away what I think and strongly feel is my role as a citizen of earth. A role each one of us has been assigned as naturally as the impeccable order of the universe.
I shall wake up early and sleep on time. In between, I shall survive on a diet of good food and love. Love, that I’ll receive from helping my fellow earthlings – humans and animals alike. Not to mention the respect I shall garner for my mother (read Earth) while I bask in her unconditional love. (“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” –The Prophet.)
The term, ‘earthling’ has been used intentionally because there is no sexism, no racism or speciesism in this word. It encompasses each and every one of us, warm or cold-blooded, mammal, vertebrae or invertebrate, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish and of course human. Humans along with a million other living creatures evolved in this planet together and thus the ownership of this sphere needs to be communal.
I will try and develop through my thoughts, words and actions, a subconscious correlation between nature, animals and human economic interests. Once established firmly in my own mind as naturally as I breathe in air, shall I tread ahead to transfer the same concern to individuals around me, one at a time or multitudes at once, keeping the resolve alive and at the centre. The resolve to do what is right and stand by the truth all the time, especially when others around me find it unfit and unsettling.
I shall not waste but conserve. I shall not pollute but clean. I shall not destroy but grow. I shall do my best to live a life devoid of extremities and learn to be content in moderation. I shall take upon this task to observe and understand the pain-points of my planet and toil hard to invent or help my fellow brothers and sisters create and implement solutions to myriad teething troubles surrounding Earth. I shall not be a liability but an asset to my mother. I shall redirect my vigour to simplicity so I can practice what I preach. I shall no more just acknowledge the fact that using exhaustible resources is virtually criminal but actually do something about it by trying, testing and implementing solar, wind and hydro energy in my daily life.
Furthermore, I shall not wait for tomorrow to bring about a change to my planet but do what I have to, today itself because the most precious of resources that I have at hand is time and same goes for you, dear Earthling.

Thankyou

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a bit about ingenuity

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As weird and wonderful it may seem, creativity meets no bounds. It may start off as suddenly as the rain in Nainital, or more so, as impulsively as the red light clogs traffic at a stretch on delhi roads; a second early and you could have avoided it! Nevertheless creativity is in one word gratifying, you may disagree but then again, some say it can’t be described in one word. Rewarding, fulfilling, enchanting, pleasing… a few adjectives that endeavor to explain the exquisite phenomenon although curtailed it may be. As far as I’m concerned, ingenuity is the void that we exist in…ceaselessly imparting a fantasy to the human mind in order to stay in synchronization with the universe.

 

Sometimes… it so happens that you’re out, walking on the sidewalk , all alone, thinking about someone when out of nowhere that person shows up or maybe calls you on your cell-phone or maybe you see her name etched discreetly on an old tree. You may feel it is coincidence but what if there is no such thing as coincidence? What if it was meant to be? What if it was inevitable? Who knows…its not for you to decide or then again, what if it is? For what I think, everything happens for a reason and finding that reason is up to you.

Now… if you might have noticed, had you been reading carefully, how easily the theory of coincidence found its way into the theme dedicated to creativity ;this itself speaks about the genius of the latter. Its all a propos the blast of emotions and feelings inside the mind of the writer, being unified into a supernova of sheer beauty that at length ends as expressions on a piece of paper. A sensation of chaste fulfilment takes over, releasing the writer of any edginess that exists within.

 

Oh! Be blessed you mortal, for being blessed with ingenuity!!!

 

Thank you so much


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Truth and technology

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Truth and technology

 

God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please – you can never have both.  Between these, as a pendulum, man oscillates. He in whom the love of repose predominates will accept the first creed, the first philosophy, the first political party he meets- most likely his father’s. He gets rest, commodity and reputation, but he shuts the door of truth. He in whom the love of truth predominates will keep himself aloof from all moorings, and afloat. He will abstain from dogmatism , and recognise all the opposite negation between which, as walls, his being is swung. He submits to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion, but he is a candidate of truth, as the other is not, and respects the highest law of his being.

I come to an understanding with Ralph Waldo Emerson when he set into the world on this mission of truth. The pursuit of truth, as it may be better put, has always been my subsequent nature. Questioning the beliefs that we, as individuals, have been told to follow since childhood is not something that is wrong, rather it stimulates original thinking and leads to ingenuity. It is now some years since I detected how many were the false beliefs that I had from my earliest youth admitted as true, and how doubtful was everything I had since constructed on this basis; and from that time I was convinced that I must once in all seriousness undertake to rid myself of all the opinions which I had formerly accepted, and commence to build anew from the foundation, if I wanted to establish any firm and permanent structure in creating something worthwhile ever – like this article.    

The truth that I’m trying to fight here is one that surrounds us all in this era, so discreet in its encapsulation of almost everything that we do today that no one saw it coming, so daunting in its sheer magnitude that hardly anyone can escape it. I am, of course, talking about technology and the tribulations it has brought along, afflicting the social order while reaching out for more and more hapless victims, the count of which is proliferating exponentially. The advent of cell phones and the internet may have made our lives easier but the alarming rate of our increasing dependency on technology might just lead to our doom.

“When was the last time you looked at the stars?” is a question I often ask people around me and the answer is always a mix of bewilderment and mystification (at asking such a nebulous question) followed by musing sighs of absent-mindedness. It is not that hard to understand the reason to this. Simplicity has lost its meaning in today’s world. When there are more people constantly worried/ impatient about their next ‘Whatsapp’ message or how many ‘likes’ they received on their ‘Facebook’ status, thus never finding the time and motivation to dig their buried heads out of their smartphones and laptops , the periodicity of human interaction with nature – the way it was meant to be, has all of a sudden nosedived into a void of hopeless superficial pleasure which is the opposite of happiness – something we strive to attain even if it be subconsciously.

 One might argue that technology has improved and enhanced our communication skills and is working in our favour. This may be true to a certain extent and no doubt the occurrence and measure of communication has amplified ten-fold but the downside to this facet of science is the depreciating quality of human interaction. Someone wise once said, “Too much of anything is good for nothing!” The same goes true for technology.  Being in perpetual touch with someone afar might seem very fitting and obliging at first but over a period of time you’d realise that a repetitive text on whatsapp or facebook can never be a match to the beauty and prominence of a simple letter etched in ink and delivered once a month. When you are constantly communicating with someone, you lose out on valued information or facts worth sharing. It’s all very pointless and since small talk has never been my forte, I, for one, find it extremely hard not to be bugged by constant lame enquiries by some of my friends and far-off relatives alike. Therefore, I find a letter to be a more meaningful and natural extension of my expressions and feelings than a facebook chat. In short, it simply makes more sense and helps me avoid relentless usage of the internet.

We travel in AC(Air-conditioned) cars, step out and enter an AC office, workout in an AC gym, return in the AC car to our AC flats only after buying the groceries from an AC mall or after watching a movie in a nearby AC cinema hall. Where is the time or possibility of taking a moment to just simply look at the sky, breathe in some natural air  and wonder in awe like our ancestors in the past? We are no more grateful for nature and humility has taken a backseat in our minds. Moreover, our lives are now running at the expense of our health plus the world’s.

We all know we’re headed towards Global warming, that the icebergs are fast melting and sea-levels are rising and how recklessly. It’s just a matter of a few decades before we are submerged in the oceans brought forth by our tryst with technology. The whole kit and caboodle is acting as a precursor towards this saturation point that we’ve arrived at. Nothing is to be taken for granted now. Just because our generation might survive this phenomenon doesn’t ensure that our future generations will too. There is a holocaust in the making- all thanks to us and our dear technology, and its fast approaching. Its better if you shut down this laptop right now, go out and do something beneficial (for a change) for Mother Earth. Practice subsistence farming; why not grow food in your lawn instead of flowers and grass, why not migrate to rural areas and develop or enhance their farming techniques. If its somewhere I appreciate technology, its where its useful in feeding billions of hungry souls through viable solutions in agriculture. There are no confines to what a human mind can do. We’ve had examples in the past but are in dire need of miracles for the future.

But in order to think straight, you need to at least break the malicious circle of technology. So, step out of your AC offices and AC cars and take a ramble up a nearby mountain or go fishing in the sea. Breathe in some pure oxygen and perceive the sweet melody of nature. It’ll help clear your mind, body and soul.

 Just take some time off today- from all the texts, emails and messages …. “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”  –The Prophet.

 

 Thank you so much


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HOLI : Good over Evil

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A joyous festival full of colours, fun n frolic celebrated in India, Nepal and other regions of the world with significant populace of people of Indian origin, Holi or its significance may be summed up as under the triumph of good over evil. The reason to this lies in the vast mythologies of ancient India and acknowledges the essence of this festival now even celebrated in far off regions such as Europe and North America as a festivity to mark the onset of spring through love, colours and spirit.

On the eve of Holi, celebrations start with a bonfire around which people sing and dance. The next morning is a free for all carnival of colours where everyone comes out to play and no one is off this game. Be it rich or poor, old or young, girl or boy, everyone is a part of this happy colourful gala of life free from any inhibitions or anguish.

Legend says that Holika, the evil sister of the demon King Hiranyakashyap who was granted virtual immortality by the Gods that made him arrogant enough to proclaim himself the almighty and force others to worship him, grew angry over her nephew Prahlad as he worshipped only Vishnu and not his father even after being subjected to numerous torture and cruel punishments which made her trick him in to sitting on a pyre with herself. She thought she would get away with her evil deed as she was wearing a magical cloak to protect herself from the flames but as soon as they both sat amidst the fire, a strong wind blew the cloak away from Holika and covered Prahlad.

 The blazing inferno engulfed Holika reducing her, along with the evil she symbolised, to ashes. As for the demon king, he was torn to pieces by Narsimha, an avatar (Body of a man and head of a lion) of Vishnu who capitalised on the loophole in the boon of immortality granted to Hiranyakashyap.

 Prahlad, the true devotee of Lord Vishnu, who signified good was saved thus making this a story of good triumphing over evil even in the most extreme of scenarios. Holi, as a consequence, marks the hope that each one of us carries in their hearts. A hope to survive against the greatest of odds such as Prahlad did, only if we’re on the right side – the side of truth and good.

Another interesting and symbolic story as to why colours are a part of this merriment comes from the life of Krishna, another avatar of Vishnu, as described in the ancient scrolls. It is said that as a kid, Krishna, after being poisoned by the breast milk of a she demon Putana, had a blue skin tone. His strange blue complexion made him too wary and self-conscious of people around him including his fair-skinned childhood crush, Radha. Upon learning Krishna’s despair, his mother tells him to go and colour Radha’s face in any colour he wanted. This he does and they soon become a couple. The playful colouring of the face of Radha thus became the leitmotif of this fiesta. As a result, till date, this exuberant match making of the Gods is revered by followers all over when they apply colours to one another, friends and foes alike.

People also consume bhang, a preparation of cannabis with milk or sweets, and indulge in the harmonious revelry fuelled by the release of endorphins in their brains due to the ingested intoxicant on this auspicious day. This merely points out how challenging it is for some of us to yield love on our own. Never the less, all is forgiven this day and only love surfaces pervasively.    

So what do we get to learn from this celebration of good over evil? If in our own lives, we let ourselves get rid of past errors and take command of the situation that we are in by always being honest, truthful, caring and kind to one another without holding any prejudices or hate by forgiving and forgetting, letting go of past wounds and vying to make the present better for others and in return ourselves, we just might see colours flash before our eyes each day.

Now, wouldn’t that be a sight to behold!

Colours exploding at every help offered to someone in need, at every act of unconditional love and kindness, at every repaired relationship, at every forgiven sin, at every resolved conflict, at every apology, at every thank you; colours just waiting to burst and dye this world in myriad hues of love and peace only if we don’t wait for the end of winter to be good and instead play Holi, with life, every single day.

 

Thank you so much


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Anguish of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ !  ~ Aimed at an Awakening

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Prologue : Riddled with ‘buts’

Now, where should I start? How about India – our motherland. It’s no news to us that we gained independence in 1947 after 200 years of British dominion. Since then, almost 7 decades later, here we are, in a nation that are fore fathers , if alive today, would fail to recognise. So much of growth and advancement that has rained upon our land brought with it  a paradigm shift in the ways, culture and essence of our nation but at a collateral cost i.e. both positive and negative. We may have westernized and advanced in terms of technology and lifestyle but we still remain retrograde in terms of developing an actual civic consciousness and sense of pervasive social justice. The latter being the true parameter for judging a nation’s definite growth. Our forefathers did not sacrifice themselves for the likes of such a country that has, today, forgotten the real meaning of freedom. True, we are progressing – But are we, really? True ,we have faster cars, high rise skyscrapers, multi-national giants at our doorstep –convenience at its epitome, the best in technology- be it outsourced, and even our very own mars mission due 2014 But what about the millions in agony – famished, illiterate and worse of all, hopeless!? Who’s going to be their saviour? The Government you say but we already know how that works, don’t we? The underprivileged have only been a vote bank to our leaders and nothing else! How can we truly progress until and unless this strata of our nation is taken care of ? How do we expect ourselves to be a truly developed nation when so many (and believe you me, the numbers would baffle your mind) of our fellow brothers and sisters are out there on the streets, despairingly surviving on crumbs and some, begging for a bite of that sandwich in your hand? Do you really think that it’s the natural course of life that only a few get to be happy while others search for happiness in heaps of garbage!? NO! It’s not natural. Although it might be a consequence of over-population but it doesn’t change the fact that ill-governance has been the prime factor causative to such state of affairs.

Since birth, most of us have been lucky enough to be a part of the top 3% of this 140 million strong country. We never did anything to deserve this lifestyle or economic status but its high time we took the onus of actually deserving what we have. Now’s the time to act. Our nation today needs entrepreneurs more than ever. India needs a whole lot of individuals who’ll come forward and devise workable plans and implement those solutions to the real pain points, for the greater good. She needs real people who can take it upon themselves to execute the task of ensuring balanced regional development- something we were all taught as a part of Indian economics. I’m talking about reinventing management education and bringing to the foray, the real task at hand.

The status quo

Let me put forth the current scenario of our realm and I shall leave the rest to your judgement. India, as a nation, is too obsessive on being a superpower. She should, rather, focus on solving its biggest problems (corruption, poverty, illiteracy…) in order to become a truly great nation. As of now, regardless of the hype – be it the successful launch of the GSAT into space infinite or the creation of the world’s tallest statue in Gujarat, India is failing as a nation. Our ‘respected’(quotes denote satire) politicians may thump their chests in pride on the mounting prominence of India in the G20 and initiation of lobby for a new G10 but the truth of the matter is that corruption and poverty have plagued our nation to immeasurable depths of despair. Almost one third of our districts are infested with Maoist revolutionaries who shall never succumb to the demands of a moving India, even if it means their death. Such is the extent to which we need to counter the sicknesses.

I’m not one to make comparisons but if we look at our neighbours, we find that China has undoubtedly made its great leap forward while we’re limping two steps ahead and then stumbling back one! Two decades back, cattle in both India and China delivered similar productivity (1000-2000 litres of milk per annum). Today India yields more or less the same results whereas China has improved almost 5 times. What do you think is holding the Indian dairy farmers back?

India, an agricultural land is rain-dependent but on an average only 38% of arable land is irrigated even though solutions for the same such as drip irrigation are available which are, at present, being utilized by only a meagre 5% of the land. Why don’t our farmers demand such methods to their relief? Almost 450 million people in India make up for our workforce of which a whopping 90% haven’t completed their basic school education, and since labour productivity is directly linked to education, the question arises that why does the Indian labour not demand education? And once again, you know the answer very well. It’s so obvious and well known that it may scare you. Well, the reason is ‘you’. Believe it or not , If we don’t drive a tsunami of civil cognizance and fresh illuminations into the heart of our nation, we may soon become orphans! As disheartening as it may sound, it is the verity and it never fails to taste bitter.

Here’s the silver lining – There’s still optimism. Where you ask? It dwells deep within the human spirit each one of us fosters and my job here is to stimulate, if possible, even one soul. Only if we, the youth, the power, the reflection of modern India, the 50% of India’s population (below 25 years of age)  – her so called future take it in our stride to cure our motherland of these myriad diseases, can there be hope for India.

Firstly, we need to eliminate any sort of inequality that is prevalent here. Almost 2/3rds of Indians work as farmers yet they account for only a fifth our GDP. Moreover, the degree of dismal conditions that they survive in is no news to us; if not then you are most welcome to visit any nearby village and judge for yourself. With virtually negligible scope for upward mobility, our poor farmers strive to arrange for 2 square meals a day whilst their angst and unending distress trespasses the rims of suicide and responsibility. Their forlorn lives oscillate as a rusty pendulum between the scorching heat of the sun and a phantom thunder – a promise of rain and better days which if even given a chance, are again, numbered. Such is the life of an average farmer (93 million plus in totality) while we sit in air conditioned restaurants and crib about the choice of meal served and even have the audacity to waste food – day in and day out. Yes, I am trying to hit a nerve, so please pause here and ponder for a moment.

Now, given the state of affairs in the agricultural scenario, take a look at the solutions. We need to find a way to beat the trade barriers established by the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) . You might say that solutions for the same exist in the form of co-operatives but tis also true that such solutions often end up as monopolies in the hands of politicians who do anything and everything they can to prevent functioning of competing co-operatives. Tch tch! Its as if every time you break a wall standing in between the vision i.e. ‘India Shining’, there’s another one standing, shamelessly so, right behind it.

Think about it, this vicious circle is eating away our nation – gradually but steadily so. The system needs our help now more than ever. Increase your contribution to the GDP by creating unique solutions for the nation and in turn generating employment for others as well. Unemployment is a major issue at hand. According to the Economist, India will soon have a fifth of the world’s working-age population which urgently needs to be provided with better jobs. Consider the scale of the challenge: In the next decade India will have to come up with 100 million new jobs. This is where innovation and creation shall come in to play and you can be the much needed player.

The possibilities are endless provided you act now and stay true to the course of your aim which is a significantly better future for us, for our kids, for India.

 

Epilogue: Answered through ‘ifs’

This one is yours to write. If one innovation of yours could change this world, what would it be?

.. I shall leave you to ponder over the infinite ‘what ifs’ and you can reply back to Mother India.

 

Thank you so much

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