Different walks of life

People come from different walks of life
People go for different walks in life
Some walks, like catching a beautiful sight, are inspirational
Some walks, like walking across a parking lot, are functional
Some walks, like charity walks or a sportsperson walking across a ballpark, are purposeful
Some walks, like seeing a homeless person holding a sign, are learning experience

Few sights are as awe-inspiring as that of a view from top of a hill
Few sights are as colorful as catching glimpse of a perfect rainbow
Few sights are as calming as seeing a body of water
Few sights are as rewarding as seeing perfect sunrise, sunset or clear, azure sky
When I am not visiting a place with family I prefer to walk alone
Gives me opportunity to quietly contemplate and reflect

These days my walks are mostly between my office room at home to kitchen or other rooms
Couple of times in my inter-room trips I may make a detour to the backyard
To catch glimpse of the plants and greet them “Wassup buddy”
Those flowering plants cheerfully bloom
In solitude I bloom!

https://youtu.be/857mPxY5UDI

P.S. Was meant to be more of a photo-essay with just a short intro to display nature unfurling its magnificence for all to behold and enjoy as a picture is said to be worth a thousand words. However, me being me, couldn’t resist 🙂 While words may try to capture the spirit the pictures capture and convey the full essence! Meant to be first watched as a collage and then as montage as each individual picture plays in the attached youtube URL!

WhatsApp and Water: What’s the connection?

I checked WhatsApp on my phone this morning after a few days. In couple of bigger groups I am in there were 100+ unread messages/posts since the last time I had checked. As usual many were forwards and forward of forwards and so forth. Quite a few were video clips and of course no morning is complete without some folks posting Good Morning messages with pictures 🙂 Some interesting, informative, important posts lost in the overall clutter 😦 A thought struck me. WhatsApp is like water!

On the surface there is not much in common between the two. Water is nature’s creation that’s a wonder and WhatsApp is man-made that makes you wonder what was it created for. But then I discerned the similarities!

1) Both are free
2) Both can be shortened to WA
3) Both consumed mainly through pipes, fatter the pipe faster the receipt
4) If not monitored both can easily overflow their containers
5) Just as water gets polluted with release of effluents WhatsApp posts also get polluted by people forwarding posts and adding their own tweaks to make it more “interesting”, the original losing whatever charm it had in the process
6) Both are subject to wanton misusage. Those who have access to either in plenty prone to use it like there is no tomorrow
7) Those with scarce availability dig deeper, quite possibly depriving others of their fair share
8) Unfortunately both end up in a sea of bilge quite often
9) Anything that is free and not properly used eventually comes with a big price for all

What is true for WhatsApp is also true for other social media tools like FB, Twitter etc. What say?

I had a dream

Water is a precious natural resource most of us take for granted. But not everyone is blessed enough to get water by turning on a faucet. One of the indelible images in my mind is of women carrying pots of water on their head for long distances. Ideally no one should have to go through such hardship for the sake of drinking water. Few years ago as I was thinking about this problem I had a dream. It started with water as the main area of concern and expanded to include trees and connectivity, as in connecting remote places by road. I called it the WTC (Water, Trees, Connectivity) plan.

WTC Main objectives: Provide easy access to drinking water for majority of the population, combat deforestation by planting seeds and saplings, connect towns and villages by building proper roads.

Main benefits: Clean, drinking water reduces the risk of water borne illnesses and infections and it’s a basic human need. Trees help in keeping air cleaner, reduce climate change effect in addition to providing edible parts like fruits, leaves and shoots. Also act as first line of barrier for floods. With well connected roads smaller towns and villages become more accessible cutting down on travel time.

How to implement the plan: The basic premise of the solution is nations are built by citizens and solutions are more effective when the citizens are active participants with Government just setting up the rules and providing the necessary support and oversight. Three types of projects
1) Canal building to channel water from places where it is abundant to places where it is in dearth (within a State to start with)
2) Planting seeds and sapling for trees that are tough and do not suck up too much water from the soil (would probably rule out eucalyptus and almond trees)
3) Construction of roads

How to get human and financial resources for the project? Every fit male (and female if they wish to volunteer) in the age group 21-50 could help in one of the following ways:
1) Work fulltime in any of the 3 types of project
2) If holding a fulltime job, employer provides one week / year for this volunteering effort
3) If not able to volunteer, donate one week’s pay/year up to a maximum of Rs. 10,000/person that would be tax deductible and go directly to this effort
4) Donations from non-residents and non-citizens for WTC which would be tax deductible.

The more I thought the more appealing the idea became. Some of the additional benefits I visualized were farming becoming more viable due to water availability, decongestion of cities due to employment opportunities provided by the projects, increase in sale of equipment, plants and seeds needed for the projects, increased opportunities to service those working in the projects by providing food, tea/coffee and shelter and more than anything else chance for citizens of different castes, religion, social and economic groups to interact and work together in building something with their own hands. The idea seems simple and doable. Would be worthwhile to start on a small scale in specific places to see how it works and what potential problems one could run into. Challenge would be when scaling it into a nationwide project. That would involve city planners, architects, civil contractors in addition to subject matter experts relating to areas like water conservation, channeling, forestry, accounting etc.

Not knowing how and who to present it the idea remained in the back of mind. Lethargy also meant I kept postponing putting the idea on paper. The dream lives on, hopefully gets implemented in whatever form it is that helps people. While technology has brought a positive change in many people’s lives its impact has been felt only by a small % of the population. IMHO any solution that involves and helps a big % of population and prevents people moving just for the sake of employment is a better solution.

Thirsting?

Among interesting things I look out for on long drives are town water tanks. Although most of them are big they come in different shapes and sizes.
Some are tall and imposing
Some are stout and strong
some are purely functional in design
Some have more character/color to their design
Some are bald at the top
Some sport telecommunication equipment at the top!
I wonder if they always store water at least for a particular number of days for all homes they provide water in a town like a specific # of gallons of water. The most important purpose they serve is provide the most precious liquid of all that is colorless, odorless and flavorless at its purest but nothing else comes close to providing satisfaction when thirsty: drinking water! That in itself is great but for The Raj they serve few other purposes that are equally important 🙂
1) They provide welcome change to the scenery and keep the drives interesting
2) When they have the town name printed in huge on them they provide relief for these old brown eyes in figuring out which village/town/city I am in and
3) Help in guessing how close to the destination I am at a particular point in time (without depending on GPS). The fun is as much in the journey as in reaching the destination!