Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Composting: My in-house success story

Hello friends,
By now you all might be aware and part of govt’s “progressive initiative” on Solid Waste Management(SWM)…assuming most(if not all) of you might be practicing it in your respective apt more out of compulsion than interest :)

I've been diligently following this practice for more than a decade now.

(OK enough blowing my own trumpet :)
Coming back to the point of this mail, earlier (prior to govt notice), as was my usual practice I used to segregate my waste into separate “bio-degradable” bags and hand it over to my apt house-keeping staff for disposal; which was ending up in one big rubbish bin…thus nullifying my efforts!
Then this govt notice came across and the one thing I changed was to get myself a Daily Dump(DD) “starter-kit” for a very nominal amount(Ref figs below:- (a)Small Kambha & (b)Pots).
The idea was to try composting my kitchen waste(ref figs (d1, d2, d3) in-house (rather than “burden” govt appointed garbage collecting contractors who had no regards to cleanliness and was often seen being more trouble than any help to our community).

Post kick-starting my composting drive, the only waste being sent out is dry waste(collected once-a-week in my apt).
This has drastically cut-down(almost 85%) my waste load being sent out… at least from my flat.

After almost 5 months of composting, I can proudly declare it to be a grand success! (Ref fig (c)-Finished Compost)
In case you too are deliberating on similar lines, I strongly recommend you to try it first hand to see for yourself the ease & simplicity of this process.

Imagine if the same is replicated at apt level(or for that matter of dreaming…at our community level).
We are talking about 85% less garbage being shipped out!!! Phenomenal don’t you think?

With these dreamy eyes, I humbly request & encourage you to try this at your respective flat/apt level and reap the benefits of it.

More details on DailyDump @  http://dailydump.org/

Kitchen Waste
(d1)Kitchen Waste
Kitchen Waste in Pot
(d2)Kitchen Waste in Pot
Composting in progress
(d3)Composting in progress
(a) Small Kambha
(a) Small Kambha
(b) Pots
(b) Pots
(c) Finished Compost
(c) Finished compost

Sunday, August 26, 2012

26/11 - Don't Forget. Don't Forgive!

It is almost 4 years to this day, when the in-famous attack on Mumbai took place, when on the fateful evening of 28-Nov2008, 10 Pakistan-trained LeT terrorist held the city to ransom. This audacious attack claimed 164 innocent lives and left more than 308 injured. (Source: Wiki). It reiterated some glaring issues faced by us...intelligence failure , total mockery of our preparedness for such an eventuality, the absence of trained force and equally absent tools @ weaponisation & modernisation to deal with such an event, lack of political will to tackle and/or root out this evil. Mumbai - India's financial capital has borne these kinds of systemic attacks time-and-again in a timely & repetitive manner to such an extent that, as per me, people of Mumbai have come to accept of it as their way of living!!

Where we are today:
Post spending a fortunate worth of money conducting(or "orcehstrating" as I would like to call it) numerous trials, scores of evidences amassed and several procedures later what we are left with is an impotent system unable to deliver justice and uphold the laws of the land! With the total lack of intent to deliver any meaningful judgement on the lines of well-being of fellow countrymen which has now come to be a norm & characteristic of this spineless ruling govt. Despite having tons of "evidence" to prove the involvement of Pakistan and the lone surviving Ajmal Kasab, this govt is dilly-dallying and tip-toeing on this matter, thereby delaying much needed justice & closure to this case. In fact India is on its knee begging Pakistan to accept responsibility for this attack, as if that would do in any way bring closure to the countless sorrows that are forever etched in the minds and lives of the victims & survivors! What a Sham are they running!!!

Don't Forget. Don't Forgive!
I would implore my fellow countrymen to not forget this act of terror and war which is being enforced on us. The main conspirators are definitely those siting across the border - Pakistani masterminds. But let us also not discount the ones on our side of the border. Let us not forgive the law enablers - bureaucrats, law enforcers and most important of all GoI (Govt of India). Coz these are the very people who have been entrusted for safeguarding us - the people & resources of our nation. But their actions or more appropriately inactions act as "catalyst" for these cross border enemy of state who are always ready to wage war by inciting religious intolerance & violence, exporting radical Islam, destroying Indian economy by injecting fake currency notes among others.

Let us all resolve to the following:
Don't Forget (the umpteen terrorist attacks), Don't Forgive (Corrupt politicians)!
Hope by this resolve we are able to channelise our energies to act as "enablers" for a better India and most importantly for a better future for all of us.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Madness at Azad Maidan

On Saturday 11th Aug 2012 a "protest rally" was called in Mumbai by 5 Sunni Muslim groups to protest against the attacks on their community in Assam & Myanmar. What ensued was (as I call it) "Madness at Azad Maidan". This mob went on rampage, leaving 2 persons dead and 63 injured, 58 of those being policemen. This was not before damaging & torching scores of police, media & general public vehicles thereby mounting losses to the tune of millions of rupees.

Under the garb of protest, anti-nationals had a field day. Amar Jawan memorial was vandalized by "terrorist" (as I refer them) - 2 of those in particular who are yet to be traced. Independent Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar also announced a reward of 5Lakh to anyone leading to the arrest of these terrorists.

Raza Academy - a pro-radical Muslim group, one of the organizer of this protest rally, has been in the news for all the wrong news and has a dubious record to boast of, if any.
report had allegedly warned Mumbai police of possible “law-and-order problems”, indicating that the govt was clearly caught sleeping on it; which they are now trying to cover-up by pointing fingers in all directions expect owning responsibility of their in-actions on the intel received beforehand.

There are reports of few Muslim "hooligans", who were involved in this mindless violence, of being advised by their advocates to surrender after following their EID celebrations. These are the very hooligans who indulge in violence and then hide under the veil of their religion! How can they be termed religious when they indulge in violence right after their 'prayers'. Is this what their religion preach them? I'm baffled at the blatant disregard for the laws of the land,  destruction to public property and most importantly the physical assault of law-enforcers.
Drawing my conclusion from one of the reports published the other day, the perpetrator of this crime wanted to, by design, polarize the opinions of Mumbaikars & Indians in general.
The other notable side-effect being, political leaders wanting to milk this situation for their political advantage. Take the instance of MNS leader Raj Thackeray, who in a recent rally at Azad Maidan alleged the involvement of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in this violence. He also demanded Home minister R R Patil and Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik to step down from their respective govt positions owning responsibility for their failure in ensuring law-and-order in the city. This demand was of course swiftly dealt with an counter-offence from the govt.

STOP! Are we brain dead?
Are we ready to be side-winked & brain-washed by the usually empty, useless & opinionated speeches of these so-called "local" leaders or are we mature enough to see through their personal/politically colored designs? It is time for us to rise up to this challenge and start asking simple-yet-straight questions like these to our local "leaders".

For once, let us make our own decisions rather than the local "leader" dumping their so-called well-thought decisions onto us. Let us not be swayed away by the deafening echos & blurry hues of this mindless political madness.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The 'M' wor(l)d!

secular state:
India has always proclaimed itself as a secular state from the very beginning of its existence. Plethora of religions call this country home...Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist, Jews to name a few of the more 'visible' ones.

Despite of all religions having a level playing field to participate in the building process, we are still a long way off from being a truly global country. One of biggest stumbling blocks, as I see, is the uniqueness of our country's religious mix. Different faiths preaching the same lessons of co-existence, tolerance, God being one-for-all and all-for-one, etc etc. But truth be told, not many religion really believes in those teaching of the Almighty. India has & is been plagued with numerous problems to deal as is the case with any populous & multicultural country.

Unholy neighbors!
One of the biggest and most talked about of them is their equation with their neighbors Pakistan & Bangladesh. These Muslim dominated nations have been a constant source of terrorism related source & trouble to India (and drawing from near past experience, to the rest of the world). But on the biggest "export"(if I may) being the radicalization of Islam.  This doctrine is fed to innocent Muslim youths who are made to believe that Islam is at war with the rest of the world, low tolerance & ultimately eradication of non-Islamic faiths!

Muslims - Then & Now:
The reason the above mentioned issue is of paramount importance being, India has sizable number of Muslims population, who post-Independence were the biggest minority. Those figures, going by the growing numbers might be a thing of the past, and in few years from today India would have more Muslims living here than Hindus. But there is resentment among most Muslim dominated areas, that they have not been benefited by India's growth story, which I personally, don't buy into.
    Looking back at our country's history, we've  had many Muslim rulers before the British came along and ruled us. India's cultural tolerance if any is unique, vibrant & so rich that the West is awed and still wanting to learn a lot from us. This is testimony to the fact that we not only embraced & inculcated the goodness of what each religion preaches but alongside blended & nurtured a uniqueness to it.
    But the British legacy of Divide-and-Rule still holds good thanks to the corrupt ways of politicians who want to divide people on the basis of their religious beliefs. The end result is lot of unnecessary & mindless finger pointing exercises on all sides of the fence, irrespective of the religion.
    In today's context we've the likes of Hon. Mr. Kalam - ex-President, Mr. Ansari - Vice-President, Sania Mirza - Tennis star, Azeem Premji heading one the biggest Indian IT company...to name a few Indian Muslims who, in their respective fields, have carved a named for themselves & ultimately made India proud!

Forward thinking:
The need of the hour is to have more Muslim pubic faces - scholars, achievers & leaders to come forward to preach the essence of togetherness, well-being thereby connecting the zillion aspirations of millions of Muslim youths to the central chord of a growing nation! See how Belgaum's madrasas set the ball rolling.

We need to believe in the Big 5 and etch the following in our hearts and in the heart-of-our-hearts:
1) I'm a Indian first.
2) I'm proud of India's uniquely intricate religious designs which weaves the Indian-ness.
3) I'm very much part of this delicate national secular fabric.
4) My religion is merely a way of connecting with Almighty & not a tool to wedge distance among fellow countrymen.
5) I'm an Indian!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Are we ready for change?

India has been a silent victim of corruption for so long that we Indians have developed a mindset of accepting it as second nature to our way of living & survival in general, if I may call that.

Where we were?
With Anna's hunger taking center-stage last year, there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Expectations soared, people wanted to believe there is a storm coming...which would ultimately usher in a sea change in the way we saw and related to the realities of our life. Emotions ran high, tempting people to get on the road...literally speaking, shouting at the top of their voices, hope fueling this surge of emotions - hope of change for a better future. All of this culminated in the Lokpal bill being tabled & "discussed" in Indian Parliament...the Dance of Democracy was played out.

Where we are?
One year on and the govt. hasn't delivered on its promise (as was predicted) of implementing this bill, citing ridiculous reasons if any that is. But one of the good things of Indian Against Corruption(IAC)'s last year's "showdown" was that an baseline of expectation was set for & by the people of how their country should provide for them. This expectation fueled another round of fasting by Anna Hazare & Arvind Kejriwal along with others in Delhi which was called off couple of days ago.

IAC channelized, if not mobilized, thousands of people who wanted to participate & contribute in this agitation against corruption. Evidently govt dictated a media black-out on the coverage of this event to curtail the movement and with no dialog/engagement of any sort coming from the govt's end, the fast was called off. Not without an announcement of finding an political alternative to resolve the current state-of-affairs. Govt's learning from our neighboring country China on how-to stifle discontent worked well I must conclude!
Reason I say that was, as part of IAC's call, I was part of the Human Chain formation, in the early morning of 3rd August 2012 @ a busy road junction in Bangalore. To my utter surprise, apart from a handful of 20 odd people, none of the other general public ever bothered to wait and understand the importance of what was going on around them...no curious looks either!! They went around their business-as-usual!

So my point being, to start with this is & has been an Citizen movement, which is both good & bad. Good because we've a billion+ of them. Bad because only a fraction of those seem to be concerned with the current state-of-affairs & came out in support. Though I'm sure all of them without exception want a change for the better.

Are we ready for change?
So that is the big question that I want to ask and ultimately understand. I'm sure all of us would be eager to answer that in affirmative. But the plain bitter truth being if we aren't ready to participate in these kind of movements let alone be a flag-bearer for one, we better bid our goodbyes to our dream of a better country. In spite of all the hungama around how corrupt politicians and their corrupt ways are ruining our lives we hardly seem to want to bring an end to that by demanding change. Because that would mean we've to bring about a change in our ways of living and that is something we are not ready to do! We don't need to undertake any drastic & herculean task like letting go of families and dedicate all our energies to fighting corruption. No! No heroics required. All we need to do is make a systematic but progressive change in the way we perceive & go about life around us. Systematic as in ensuring we exercise our votes regularly as and when called upon. Participate in local community based issues & explore possible solutions. Remember if everyone took one small at-a-time, this movement gains enough momentum to sustain on...Now that is progressive thinking!

So now let me ask this again, are we game to shifting that attitudes of ours? Are we really ready for change?
Think India Think!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Running for Charity

Hello friends,
I write today to you to take a small step to make a big difference. Interested? Read on…

What is this?
I’ve registered to participate in TCS Bangalore Marathon scheduled for 27th May 2012.
I’ve planned to compete in the Open 10K Category - my maiden attempt at this.

Why am I sharing all this information and how does it concern you?
If I read your mind correctly, that question just popped up in your head?
If yes, then let me answer it for you.
By embarking on this “self-test”, if I may say so, I also plan to raise awareness and more importantly funds for the below mentioned causes(2 of the many) which I’ve been supporting for some time now.

You can visit their website or alternatively, if you want to verify my claims, can directly reach out to the respective contact person (mentioned in the CC list).
PAWS à Animal welfare à http://pawsasia.wordpress.com/ à Mr. Nilesh Bhanage
Askhaya Trust à Care for helpless & destitute à http://www.akshayatrust.org/ à Mr. Narayanan Krishnan

How can I make a difference?
You can make a big difference, by opening your heart and most importantly loosening up your purse strings to donate for these good cause(s) J
P.S: Donation amount greater than 100 INR will be eligible for donation receipt.

Complete Transparency
I’ve shared a Google spreadsheet online (click here) to capture donor details like donor name to be printed on donation receipt, donation amount, apartment name so that you are aware of what is happening.
You’ll find few legit entries to indicate how it should be done.
P.S: I’ll be turning off the shared access soon, so please don’t delay and make your commitment for these wonderful causes.

Apologize for the verbose mail, but since this is one thing I wanted to explain in an elaborate manner hoping not to miss anything.
Hope I’ve answered most of your (basic) queries. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Thanks in advance.Feel free to forward this mail to your contacts so that I can garner the fullest possible support.

--------------UPDATED on 22nd May 2012 ------------------
Hello friends,
With less than 5 days to go, I’m sending out this humble reminder for you to help me raise much required funds for these charities.

I've managed to ‘motivate’ my friend & colleague Sathya(who is also training alongside me) to participate in this run. Thanks Sathya!

I've collected my BIB and running goodies bag on 18th May 2012 and all set for the D-day J

I’m sharing my Prep Log in case you want to see my training log.
Though it might not seem as impressive as some of you would’ve wanted it to be, but I’m gaining confidence as I prepare.

Funds raised:
A disappointingly meager 3,000/= L (Click here for details )

How can you make a difference?
You can make a big difference, by opening your heart and most importantly loosening up your purse strings to donate for these good cause(s) J
P.S: Donation amount greater than 100 INR will be eligible for donation receipt.

Counting on YOU to help me make this event a Success!
--------------UPDATED on 28th May 2012 ------------------

Good day Friends!
Finally having successfully competed & completed this event, I can want to Thank all my donors for being part of this event in their own ‘valuable’ way.
I managed to raise a total of 5000/= for the charities.
Thanks to YOU. With people like you being part of my network I can with certain pride say, life is never short of good people like YOU. You make me proud.

With this event & the fund raising activity, I wanted to get to your attention these wonderful people doing such a great job through their respective charities. I urge you(one more time) to visit their website regularly whenever you wish to donate in kind/cash or volunteer.

Special Thanks to Sathya (my friend & ‘partner-in-crime’ – for keeping my hopes afloat) for these wonderful words. You truly rock and were a solid inspiration yourself. Proud to be with you and before I forget Congrats mate!

Here are my race details, in case you wondering how I fared ;)
Total time taken: 58:25
Category: Open 10K
Category Rank: 649 (bagged a Nike Finisher T-Shirt - prize for the 1st 1500 finishing runners in my category)
Gender Rank: 939
Overall Rank: 961

Thanks all for spending you valuable time.

On a parting note, consider this is as a beginning to a wonderful journey ahead.
Take Care & God Bless!

Jai Hind!
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