Two Parts Hydrogen, One Part Oxygen

Water- the quintessential liquid required for survival of anything and everything. It’s one molecule is chemically composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. It’s no wonder a miracle, how these basic elements, when combined, are powerful enough to start and sustain the whole chapter, which we humans call as “Life”.

In the prehistoric era, water was formed due the reaction of these two aforementioned gases, which combined when they were released from below the Earth’s crust. Can you believe it, that once approximately 250 million years ago, it started raining and it rained for not one but 2 MILLION years, shocking Right?

Earth has been very lucky to get all the correct permutation and combination. Perfect distance from parent star, presence of water, balanced atmosphere, just the required amount of rare earth and heavy earth elements, etc.. the list is long. But it has also received a bane, and sadly that bane is us- Humans.

Let’s do a reality check before we move further. Who are we? Just another species of animals with a higher level of intelligence than the rest. Who do we think we are? Yes, undisputed rulers of the entire universe (mind you, not just the Earth). It’s so funny that if you think about it without bias, you realise- how man, in his greed to acquire money, has robbed his own self of basic amenities such as clean water and basic standards of living.

In this post, I want to address the former- Water. Again, time for a reality check. What do you think is common between Sao Paulo, Beijing, Bengaluru, Cairo, Jakarta, Istanbul?

Yes smarty, you’re right. Each one of them is facing severe water shortage. The reasons are various, but they all point to the same cause and consequence, which we shall see later on.

Imagine a hot, sunny day in Karachi. People going about their business as usual. But there is something amiss. Most of them look dirty and smell as if they haven’t bathed that morning. Shockingly, they haven’t bathed the morning before or the one before too. And why so? Yes, you’re correct again. There is not enough water to drink, let alone save some for bathing. Bathing for these people has become a luxury. And Karachi isn’t alone. There are so many cities across the globe facing similar crisis.

In many countries, you can find colourful cars moving on sombre highways dotted with brown tress all along. Barren fields on either side. Everywhere you can hear locals complaining that as less as five years ago, the whole area was one with nature, greenery all around. Rains were cyclic and consistent. Not anymore. And this is worrisome.

In many South American countries, citizens wait for hours on end for fifteen minutes worth of water supply, barely enough for a couple of days. What’s more alarming is that this has been a way of life for many years now.

Johannesburg, the famous South African city, is having almost no access to fresh potable water or ground water. As per reports, the water quantity in their main reservoirs have dropped below 4% which in itself is a big reason to worry, considering that it’s population is almost 4.4 million.

This makes me wonder what is the reason of all this. On a planet which comprises of 75% water, how is it even possible that this otherwise abundant resource is so scarce. The main reason is unequal distribution. But ofcourse, that has been the case since time immemorial. So what happened now?

The simple answer is climate change. Everyone knows the causes, namely pollution, industrialisation and the ilk. Everyone also knows the solutions, I.e reuse, reduce, refuse, etc .

But what I want to ask is that how many of us truly adhere to those norms and solutions. Honestly, till recently, I didn’t. I always felt that how could one person’s contribution matter in this huge, vast world. And yet, when I saw first hand how different classes of people in the same city having same issues tackle it, it would be an absolute understatement to say that I was shocked, appalled rather.

On one side of the city, the poorest of the poor scavenge for water as the taps run dry and the hoi polloi wait for days to fill their drums and cans. But on the other side, the pools of the rich are overflowing but the house is devoid of its populace, run only by servants.

They say true face of human cruelty is visible at times of war, but I’m certain that even that must be better than these scenes.

Again, I’m sure that in this hoo-ha of water not being enough for citizens, we all must have definitely forgotten the animals. They have the same right over the endowments of nature as we do. Yet, somehow we don’t care a dime about those right. Some days I wonder that the dream of a just and equal land, is just that..a dream, a utopia which exists only in theory.

Today, I won’t urge you all to save water. No. That has been done before so many times, by so many people and the results are out for everyone to see. Today, I want you to just imagine that there are people somewhere on this planet who are facing severe ill effects of actions done by us- me as well as you. Today, I want you to visualize that mother, who is dying of thirst because the last cup of water was gulped by her children. Imagine that farmer, who is contemplating suicide because rains have failed yet again.

At this point, I don’t know about you, I can’t even imagine anything more. The despair and hopelessness on the faces of so many people, while those who can actually matter- sit in their comfortable houses and relax. It is too disheartening to imagine.

Every year, more and more fresh water is getting destroyed as glaciers melt and the sea levels keep on rising. I reckon it’s high time that we wake up collectively, if our leaders can’t and take some firm steps in the right direction before it’s too late to turn the tide in our favour again. I’m sure that if the correct steps are taken now, we can surely save our future generations from an otherwise imminent extinction.

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The Getaway

Trying a new style of writing. Let’s see how it goes.

***

It is just a normal day in the fine season of spring. The gardens are in full bloom and in them, the butterflies happily spread their wings. What a sight it is indeed, to see these dainty, ephemeral beauties, which scatter colours of the universe around. At one end of the garden, the Boy can see his family, lazing around the pool, taking their afternoon siesta.

Playful that he is, the Boy doesn’t believe in naps at all. Though it’s an altogether different matter that he will soon grow up and then prize this period of rest and recreation like all other grown ups, but okay, that’s for some other time. Right now, he has an appointment to keep and he must hurry or he’ll miss his date.

He silently opens the door, careful so as to not make much noise and quickly gets out. Now, it’s not like he’s running away or something, but first, he doesn’t want to wake anyone up and second, he’s in a great hurry. So off he goes on the road, which lies ahead of him.

It is the perfect time to venture out, as the sun’s glare is neither too hot now and nor will it set anytime soon. As he walks, he passes countless fields on his way. A thousand flowers he touches, yet he picks none. Even at this tender age, he understand the futility of that act and hence, the refrain.

After walking for what seems like an eternity, the boy reaches a cutting, where the sign-board shows “Left” for Gilbert Hill, his destination for today. After walking for another thirty minutes, the Boy finally reached the summit, just in time to see the descending sun kiss the horizon and spreading thousand shades in all directions.

Awed by the clouds and the birds, the boys watches as the grass bows down in the gusty winds and rises again with equal fervour. Philosopher that he is, this catches his imagination. An important lesson he’s learnt. Bow before the force but always remember to stand up again, no matter what.

As his thoughts waver away from this philosophy to the appreciating the general beauty around, he realizes that this is his secret getaway. So visible to everyone, yet ignored by all. But not him, no- how can he? This is his treasure. From here, he always feels as if the whole world is his to conquer. The cool breeze playfully tickling his body and just adequate warmth from the disappearing sun, a perfect combination to dream and create his empire.

Soon the horizon turns blue and then transforms to a lively black. There is ebullience in this black sky, brought about by the million of shimmering stars that seem to protect him from above.

Below the city lights are visible too. He tries to mark out the one which is his. After spending some more time with the stars, the wind and the lights, the Boy collects his thoughts and his rejuvenated spirit. He waves goodbye to his unguarded treasure, confident that people are too busy to pay attention to it and begins his journey back home.

He reaches in time for supper and goes straight in his room. Today’s experience must be jotted down before it’s lost in time because, some day when the going gets tough and he won’t have the time to calm his mind and soul, the writing will surely help in feeding the void. Let’s attribute this to his far sight!

***

Just some random musings, I hope you’ll liked it.

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The Knowledge

There have been quite a lot of things going on in my mind lately. But today, I am determined to take some time out and write about the little changes happening in and around me, just to acknowledge, at the very least- how these changes are setting me free and how these changes have let me to hope, a thing that I had scarcely allowed myself to do in the past.

Anyone who has ever talked to me for a proper ten minutes, shall agree that I am naive at heart. I may be street smart because my parents, particularly my mom, paid great attention to it. But when it comes to introspection, well, I suck. I mean, who needs introspection when a caring elder brother is always present with his bag full of experiences and solutions. Yet, I knew that at some point in life, I had to learn the ways of life myself, because my brother won’t necessarily be there for me forever and to be honest, it would be very unfair to ask him to actually be.

Luckily, for me, the time to learn worldly wisdom came recently. Better late than never, right?! It came in the form of articles, books, movies, songs even WhatsApp conversations, and what not. But, the greatest teacher among them all was Life, the daily experiences, the random flow of events. Yes, a talk or two in the train with a friend. An incident on the way to work. A news of current happenings. It’s as if each and every thing happening to me or around me has had some deep knowledge rooted in it and my task was pretty simple- to identify and comprehend this knowledge.

As I was assimilating all this knowledge that was coming my way, I couldn’t help but wonder, as to the purpose it served. Initially, I believed that this knowledge would provide some future assistance but very soon I realised that this knowledge was not for some obscure event of the future. Rather, it was for empowering my current lifestyle. It was to make me realise how foolishly I had been doing things which had no meaning and were outright noxious. It was indeed to change my perspective on a wide variety of subjects.

Insecurities, Fear

I perfectly remember that ever since my early schooling days, I was very insecure and afraid. Insecure about my standing in the class and fearful about almost everything else. Infact, I had hit such a low once, that I outright rejected the proposal of teaching a topic to a dearly loved friend, due to the fear that she might score better than me in that subject.

And as time passed, these insecurities and fears manifested themselves to higher levels and began including Luck and Chance with them. Infact, the severity of this problem can be gauged by the fact that I wore my “lucky” watch for all the papers of my Inter CA examinations except Audit and guess what, yes, I ended up failing only in Auditing.

But, these insecurities and fears were not all that bad. They helped me stay away from “Relationships”. Let me tell you, though I have been away from Relationships, the people closest to me have not- They have all been struck by Cupid periodically. That, in a way, gave me a perfect opportunity to study how Love actually sublimates over time and transforms into deep rooted insecurity and fear, if not properly dealt with. Well, that’s for another day. For now, it should suffice you to know that I am victoriously fighting my war against fears.

Humility, Courage

I know a lot of people consider me to be full of ego and stuff (even my mom complains about it sometimes) but I never had the slightest traces of it, at best I can be called finicky. Instead, I had cupboards and cupboards full of shyness and introversion. And even though knowledge helped me empty most of them, a few vestiges still remain. I still won’t be the first person to initiate the conversation but surely I’ll listen till the last second. Talking is not my forte, listening is. And that is what I realised when I bathed in that knowledge pool.

Speaking of courage, every human being who ever lived and who will ever live shall be termed as courageous. Seldom comes a life, which has no challenges, no hurdles, no obstacles. Everyday, each one of us strives to make the most out of our present situations. You might not acknowledge it, but what you are essentially doing, when facing those challenges, is being courageous. Courage is not limited to Don Quixote (yes, he was a fool but he was a courageous fool) and it has nothing, whatsoever, to do with fighting ghosts and demons.

Loneliness, Solitude

To the unaware, both might seem the same. Yet there is a subtle difference. To be honest, I knew the difference even before the knowledge dawned upon me. But, knowledge surely helped me to understand it more deeply and profoundly. While loneliness is more about being alone and grimacing about that fact, solitude is about being alone and enjoying your own company.

Loneliness is more of a vice and solitude is a virtue. I am lucky enough to be embraced by solitude because loneliness is hazardous, even life taking. I can’t even comprehend how a person might feel when s/he realises that there is no one to be by her/his side in this world, which is awfully full of people. Surely, thinking about it alone gives me jitters. I am fortunate enough to enjoy my company with nature and the cosmos. I am fortunate enough to not get affected by loneliness and I am fortunate enough to help people struggling with loneliness, you all only expanded my knowledge.

Pain, Forgiveness

Whenever humans and human emotions are involved, pain is definitely involved. Infact, it wouldn’t be wrong to call emotions as precursors of pain. The flow is simple- Emotions make us obsequious and being obsequious, being servile is the easiest passageway to pain. Though it may sound crude, I’ll try my best, to get the point across.

Almost everyone can universally connect to the emotion called Love and so, I will take the same and attempt to make my point clear. What is love? Poets across millennia have described it in the most animated words. Love can be the affection and attraction for many things- other people, nature, a doll, a car and what not. But as Kabir put it- “The lane of love is narrow, it has place only for one.” And though we may root for the accepted myth that Love is selfless, it is not and that pains. And if it is indeed selfless, it causes all the more pain- because with selfless love comes an even greater burden of expectations. You are only fooling yourself, if you believe that expectations don’t form a part of selfless love.

But, mysterious are the ways of the world- as pain and suffering are so omnipresent, we also have the options of acceptance and forgiveness. In fact, Forgiveness is akin to Godliness. This is where the knowledge comes into play. Suffering is difficult and forgiving is even more difficult. But knowledge helps us in accepting the situation as is and letting it go. Once we taste liberation by letting go the pain, by forgiving- we actually begin to live a more meaningful and purposeful life and that is the true purpose of living, right?!

Conclusion

Frankly speaking, there are so many things that I have learnt. So many things about which I can write volumes on. But in these busy times, I am lost for the want of time. Also, my writing skills won’t do justice to those forby subjects- atleast not right now. And I am guessing that the handful of you, who reached this far, must surely be waiting for it to end too. Thus, I would take one final moment to let you know that I am grateful to you for taking your time out and reading patiently.

P.s. Gratitude is a virtue too. The latest one that I learned.

Until later.

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Cure for Unrequited Love

After yesterday’s conversation, you must know that this was written for you and you alone. But it turned out well, so now I’ve had to replace your name at every place. The solemn purpose of this blog is to help others like you too.

***

Humans are taught about love right from their childhood (I missed it somehow, hence I am here, writing this now). You were no different. But our teachers of this subject were not professionals. Quite a lot of times, the small small nuances of the topic were ignored or outright deleted and that has lead to the birth of an agony called as Unrequited Love.

Unrequited Love is where only one sided love prevails. It has existed since the dawn of humanity. It brings sorrow accompanied by despair (which was quite evident when I saw you). It takes away the wind out of your sails. You begin to feel that happiness can return in your life but only with that elusive being. You attach all your joys and happy emotions to that person and in that being’ s absense, you feel bereft. In short you become imprisoned within yourself.

Now with the problem staring right in our faces, let’s ponder over the possible solutions. Yes, there are atleast two solutions for sure (you are free to enlighten me with more). The solutions are also tricky- so easy to understand, yet so difficult to implement.

1. Gather courage and speak your heart out

Actually, dear friend, from what you spoke, I realised that you never mentioned your feelings to the other person. Try telling them and maybe, just maybe, the probable significant half might agree because they might be undergoing the same feelings.

At times, for instance, I, myself don’t speak my heart out even in front of my own parents. So I can safely presume that this might so often than not be all the more prevalent between two less familiar people. Logical isn’t it?!

2. Cure for unrequited love

The usual route taken by most counsellors will be to make you forget your infatuations and the easiest way according to them is to forget your beloved and employ the resultant excess thinking capacity for some greater good (What good, trust me- even they don’t know). But I beg to differ here. The cure for love doesn’t lie in thinking less about the other. It also doesn’t lie in indulging in happy thoughts at the periphery while actually being a barren land internally.

The ultimate and long term cure doesn’t lie in ceasing to think of the fugitive lover. It lies in learning and ultimately realising what the other person might really be.

From afar, each individual seems to be alike. Happy, cheerful, generous, kind and what not. But if we do a close up study, every human being is so much more different. We realise that every person has traces in varying quantities of temper, coldness, deceit, aloofness, vanity, over-emotions, sentimentality, chaos and a thousand other words (you get the feel right?!) And the only thing that stops us from bearing this in mind, when we think about the elusive being is our lack of knowledge about the other being’s shortcomings. Just from a few peripheral details, we assume that the other person is charming and vivacious and so badly want to believe that they might have somehow miraculously managed to escape the fundamental axiom of human condition.

Sadly, they haven’t. You are the one, who wants to act ignorant. You are the one, who actually doesn’t know them properly. Infact, this is the only difference between Love and Unrequited Love. In love, you get to know the subtleties of the other person whereas in unrequited love, you dream about the qualities of the other person, and I have never met a person, who wishes to dream nightmares- the point being, you will only dream good things about them, reality notwithstanding.

It is not their exuberant personality which keeps you attached, but it is the lack of understanding of their problems and issues which helps in not driving you away. It is the lack of knowledge of thier follies and flaws. So the cure is pretty simple, know them better. The more you do, the more you realise that they are not all rainbows and butterflies. They are just like the other mortal beings, who come into this world and play their part before vanishing away forever. The day you truly understand them, you realise that they are not the answers to all your questions. (Conversely, if they do, make every effort to hold on to them. I don’t want you coming after me later on :P)

See it’s pretty simple, passion and unrequited love can never withstand bare exposure to the ultimate understanding and actuality of the other person. That can only be withstood by a bond created by a shared life, i.e. Love. Take your parents for example, there is no unbound admiration there. Both of them know each other’s vices and virtues. Hence, there is pure love and nothing else.

Infact, I would like to conclude that unknowingly, I have penned down a solution which can either cure you of you passion or may being you closer to love, because once you know the other person in and out, you can sensibly make the choice of either staying away from or getting head over heels in love with them.

Niceness and its Truth

We humans are depressed. We are worried. We are continuously anxious. We think too much but feel too little. But do you know what connects us all? Yes, it is kindness, it is niceness, the love for mankind. Most of us can’t rejoice in another person’s sorrow. We weren’t meant to be like that.

Yet, to come into this world and to try to become a nicer person sounds like a totally vague, deeply colourless and dispiriting goal. Yes, theoretically, we love niceness of course. Yet, in practice, there seems to be something embarrassingly anodyne and timid about the concept. A nice person definitely sounds like something- we would love to be, but only when every other strenous and more rewarding alternative has failed.

Though we may internally feel that being nice is important and fundamental to a happy living, but our society has been witness to a few ground breaking truths, which has led it to preach all its new offspring the exact antithesis of what we actually feel about niceness.

1. The Legacy of Romanticism: Nice but Boring…

For most parts of the last millennium, our thoughts have been systematically influenced by a cultural movement known as Romanticism. The followers of this movement are called Romantics and for them, the truly esteemed person is one who is energetic and creative as well as intense. Lively yet at the same time volatile, assertive and quick- someone who might choose the road less travelled and is daring to the point of being unreasonable and forceful, even rude, in the name of following the call of one’s own hearts.

The exact opposite image of this God-like figure was, for the Romantics, someone mild and respectable, regimented and monotonous, defensive and conservative, reserved and quiet, in other words- the boring person. Here, there has seemed a radical choice to be made: either fiery, unpredictable and brilliant, or meek, conventional and always in bed by nine.

2. The Legacy of Capitalism: Nice but Bankrupt…

Amongst the accusations against niceness, Capitalism added another variable into the already fragile equation- by giving a new perspective to the already botched up interpretation of the world. It presents the world as a deeply adversarial and competitive arena in which everyone was committed to wage a continuous battle in an atmosphere marked by ruthlessness, determination and impatience- to get a slice of the ever so coveted Market Share. And it is a universal truth that those who succeeded knew how to destroy the competition at hand and handle the workforce without a trace of emotion. A nice person, unwilling to squeeze wages or outwit an opponent, would end up either bankrupt or in the mailroom.

3. The Legacy of Faith: Nice but Weak…

Since time immemorial, Religion has been the single most powerful force shaping our intellectual as well as moral horizons. Take up any religion and you will see that it has peace and kindness as it’s basic tenets. Each and every religion has been profoundly committed to promoting niceness to the world. With the finest aesthetic and in the most animated ways, it has compelled us to sing praises of forgiveness, charity, tenderness and empathy.

But – unfortunately for niceness – take any major religion of the world. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam- all of these great religions have seen their fair share of bloodshed in the name of God. These three names are mentioned by the virtue of their success in the battles, which were fought under their banner. Successful people in these battles, or so the believers were told, on the whole, were very nice people – and the real nice people- those who were defeated due to their non violent stand- were not, on the whole, very successful . It seemed- applicants to the Kingdom of Heaven had a choice to make: niceness or success.

Despite all this, the naked truth is that we all like niceness very much and depend upon it even more. Infact, the more a person stays away from it, the more is its requirement for him. It is just that his true memories of niceness have been suppressed by a culture that unfairly makes him feel weak and shy for lending niceness his approval. All of the qualities we have been taught to think of as opposed to niceness are in fact highly compatible with, and at points, highly dependent upon it:

– However much we are committed to success, for long portions of our lives, we are intensely vulnerable creatures wholly at the mercy of the gentleness of others. We’re only ever able to be successful because other people, usually our parents, have given up a good share of their lives to being nice to us.

So much of what we value is, in fact, preserved by niceness and is compatible with it. We can be nice and successful, nice and exciting, and nice and wealthy. Niceness is a virtue awaiting our rediscovery and our renewed, un-conflicted appreciation.

FRIENDS

In a few days,
College days will end;
And it made me ask,
Did it actually help me in my ascend?

And instantly my heart responded-
It gave me a gigantic list of people that I met,
Those with whom I sat, and
Who do not have a match.

Many remained just acquaintances,
A few became Friends;
The former I fare thee well,
The latter- will stay- even after college days will end.

A lot I learned from you,
A lot I gained through you company;
I now stand confidently on the world stage,
Because at the right time- you always accompanied.

Whenever I felt low,
You made me realise how hard my peers strive;
And that if I were to slow down,
The world was waiting to strike out my very life.

You also showed me,
How people can become indifferent;
How people can become cold,
Wasn’t that a part of your elaborate plan, magnificent.

Yet you were not so bad
I assume it was a part you played, and played it amazingly well;
Only to teach me the virtue of forgiveness
Because spewing hatred, now definitely ain’t me- I can tell.

You helped me climb the slope,
You taught me to excel in life’s tests;
You gifted me the power of hope,
Thankyou Dear Friends, You always brought out my best!

Bow Before Thee

This tale is of a time long gone by
That will leave something in you awry.

When civilisation was at its prime
And ancient church bells used to chime.

When High King ruled the land
And structures were erected, grand.

This Gabriel was summoned by his Lord
And asked if everything was in accord.

Thus spoke I with an ache
“O My Good Lord, forgive me a mistake

I haven’t been entirely true
For the world is not how you wanted it to brew.”

And thus concerned and wanting to see
My Lord came down for the holy inquiry.

My Lord adorned a tramp’s guise
Very subtle and surely wise.

First we arrived at the King’ s castle
From whence we were drew away without a hassle.

Then we reached the Noble’s gates
Where we were dispensed empty plates.

Further we waited at the Merchant’s door
The only sound we heard- was of his snore.

Finally we tumbled by a pauper’s abode
And saw first-hand how munificence flowed.

For the first time I saw My Lord smile
Content that not everyone in his World was hostile.

And then what I heard astonished me
My Lord told the mendicant, “No one else, but I bow before thee!”

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