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.

Advertisements

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.

Instagram

Facebook

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.

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!”

Instagram

Facebook

The Tree called Life

Four score and five years ago
At one opportune moment, nary another,
Birth of a seedling-
The Gods hath witnessed with wonder.

Thus spake the King of Kings
“Lo and behold,
This here is a child
Who is to become humanity’s Gold.”

Seven years hath passeth
Since that glorious day,
The seedling is now firmly planted
With the clear intention to stay.

In company of Banyan trees
Or on old school benches,
Everyday the seedling learnt
And grew itself new branches.

Twenty years hath passeth
Since that rejoiced day,
And now the Shrub has become fascinated
By a Nightingale- and its grey.

Yet an impossible choice
It has to face,
Does it wish for the Nightingale
Or is it the moment of greatness which it is destined to embrace.

Thirty years hath passeth
Since that illustrious day,
The Tree now firmly entrenched
Braves the Storms like a child’s play.

Neither the Thunder
Nor can the Winds now wake
The countless nightingales
Who sing everyday of its great tale.

They rhyme and chirp about a Tree
That sacrificed its branches and a bird,
To stave away a ferocious Serpent
And saved an entire herd.

Many years hath passeth
Since that extra ordinary day,
The Tree well past it’s prime now
Has nothing more to wish or pray.

It just waits patiently
Knowing that time has come for its decay,
Very soon he shall be rejoined with the Nightingale
And this time for Eternity.

Take a Pause

When misery befalls and trust is shattered, when a loved one leaves you or hopes get battered- before doing anything else, hit the pause button of your life and rest for a moment.

Gather your closest friends and your family. Over food and drink and mirth, let out the ever so suppressed stories of betrayal and despair, disappointment and hurt.

Find a song that speaks to your heart and keep playing it again and again. And play it some more. Sing along, as if you were singing for all the poor crestfallen souls like yourself. Sing along, as if it would actually heal their wounded spirits.

Catch a movie with your best friend or even alone, better if the movie is illogical and flimsy. Cry when a scene demands and laugh likewise. Relive the days as you did in your teens- carefree and joyous.

And still if your spirit is not uplifted, travel. Turn those weekends into holiday trips. No destination, no watches, no mobile phones- just you and the road. The cool air kissing your face and the sun shining brightly all over you.

Find your sacred place and make your cocoon there. Clear all your emotions and empty your mind there. Let the peace get imbibed in you from there. And then emerge and fly, yet, never forget for a moment that you can always come back there.

Learn to love all your imperfections. Treat yourself as you would treat your friend. You are so eager to help your friends, help your own self with the same eagerness. Stroke your heart once in while and learn to tell yourself- ” I Love You.”

Marriage, Misconception and Misapprehension 

Today’s topic is one which I wouldn’t usually delve into. However, it is the need of the hour. Do read and let me know your thoughts on the matter. 

Since time immemorial, humans have felt the need to be together. The need to be a part of a society. Even today, children are taught from a pretty young age that they ought to be a part of the society and contribute responsibly towards its well being. This is the general part.

Let’s dig deeper- personal part. A man has to find a woman (or otherwise) with whom, he can have a family. A person that he can love and care for. A person at whose feet, he is willing to bring down stars from the farthest corners of the universe. In short, a person for whom he is ready to kill and die for. Similar is the case with women too (equality🤣). 

Each human being is required to (by virtue of some obscure tradition) marry a suitable person- mostly of their own liking. This has been passed on to us as a normal way of life. Any deviation from this is treated as contempt of societal norms. Infact, from where I come, a bachelor or a spinster is looked down on. They are denied housing even if they are ready to pay a premium over the going rates on those grounds.

Keeping all the biases and grudges aside, I would like to touch down on a fundamental point- why is it that people are required to marry and have a family? Why is it that man is so driven by societal obligations that he often overlooks logic and reasoning? (If you have any convincing answers, I am all ears here)

The way I see it, there is only one explanation. Man is undoubtedly a social animal. But more often than not, only a handful of people make it large. Only a few people enjoy importance and standing in a societal set-up. The majority of the people are like the unassuming herd of cattle, in which it is very difficult to distinguish one from the others. And yet, everyone likes, rather wants, to be distinguished, don’t we?! 

What to do in such circumstances? Easy, form a micro society (what is now called as ‘Family’) of your own and lead a happy and fulfilling life-loving and caring for its members and getting the same reciprocated for yourself. A perfect solution for the most basic human need of belonginess. 

But this doesn’t end here. This simple solution, over the ages, has become a tradition. And it should be noted that society is not kind towards people, who don’t follow the customs and traditions. And so that brings me to a conclusion that, either make a mini society of your own or make yourself so powerful that you command a position in society which can’t be challenged by trifle traditions.  

For instance, Narendra Modi is a bachelor (not technically). Can the society have any prejudices against a man of his stature that it would otherwise have had, were he not the man that he is today. Would Ratan Tata, the ex chairman of Tata Sons, be disallowed a house in any housing society because he is a bachelor? Will Salman Khan demand any greater audience, if he gets married? Has Brad Pitt become any less of a human being, now that he is a divorcee. And the list is far from over.

Coming back to the point, I would like to ask you that whether you would still support the notion that people should be joined in a wedlock just because that’s the way it has been or are you willing to broaden your perspective and allow transformation. 

(P.S. the point of this post is to know the temperament of the society because I myself have been ridiculed time and again for the views that I believe in and that’s what I have tried to pen down here.
It would be really great to hear what you have to say about it. Regards)

Instagram

Facebook