Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saving the earth, Part II - Observe

Now that you’ve accepted yourself, your life, the problem, and the needs and possibilities, the next step is to observe. In our fast-paced and often repetitive routines, we tend to take things for granted and forget them as if they did not exist. We might notice a problem, we might even try to do something about it, but mostly these things fade away from our immediate consciousness in the rush of life. For example, I’m sure many of us are used to piles of garbage, electricity wastage or something else (Don’t worry, I count myself too)
All we need to do is live our life as before, but with a difference: notice the surroundings. Just, just take note of what’s there. Use your sensory information – the sights, sounds, smells etc. and educate yourself first-hand about where your environs. Give attention to the various things, that noticed or ignored, make up your day. Get a feel for your immediate surroundings. You might find it difficult, irritating or depressing. But at the end of the day, this is the environment in which YOU live. There is no better way to find out how the environment and its problems affect you. You don’t have to do anything particularly active. You only have to look around you, and observe your surroundings. You don’t need to do anything straight away, nor do you have to force yourself when your schedule is unforgiving.
Noticing your environment in a physical sense is the best way to find solutions for problems. Whether you inadvertently (you’re not the only one) create problems or watch others creating or ignoring them, observing the world around you will help you know where to start. Besides, observation involves both noticing and understanding. Your life situation, perspective, talents etc. are unique and it is obvious that these can give rise to unique solutions. If you ever chance to do something on a larger scale, it is this knowledge and perspective which will help you in finding practical solutions. You can start out small too: Even by noticing the mouse, the keyboard, how many stairs are in your house or how many people surround you when you commute. The difference between seeing and observing is the difference between rote learning and learning with understanding. Believe me, effectively solving problems requires us to observe, not just see.

There's something new to be found every time...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saving the earth, Part 1 - Learn to accept

One of the first steps towards helping the environment is learning to accept. Environmental pollution and degradation is becoming part of our lives, so there are certain things we should accept and acknowledge before we can seriously start helping the environment. I believe they are:

1. The problem - You can't do much to help if you don't accept the existence and extent of the problem. Sometimes the magnitude of the problem can be scary and we start thinking that there's nothing we can do. On the other hand, we might start thinking that its all a big hype, and the problem will go away on its own. You don't have to juggle those big numbers; just accept that a problem exists that needs fixing. This is not a problem that'll go away if we ignore it or forget it.

2. Yourself - Whether you're an eco-veteran or a novice, you need to accept it. Whether you're ten (or younger) or eighty (or older) you need to know your position in this global effort. If you feel guilty you haven't done anything yet, forgive yourself and move on. We need you. You should accept exactly where you are and be ready to climb the ladder

3. Your life - Before you start to think that your life is structured in such a way, that you can't do anything to be more eco-friendly than you already are, know this: It doesn't matter. No, I'm not saying that the problems in your life have no comparison to the ones faced by earth. What I mean to say is that each of us has a unique potential. This implies that each of us can find our own unique way to help the environment. In fact, even when you do something loads of other people do, like cycling, carpooling, switching off lights etc., your contribution is important and your way might be unique too!

4. The needs and possibilities - I don't need to go over all the data available on environmental degradation, its causes, statistics etc. The important thing is that you accept (to yourself) the need to do something. The environment impacts so many aspects of our live, that it's bound to affect all of us somehow if things keep going the way they are.You need to know what's happening out there, how it affects you, and what you can do about it. If you  would really like to help our world, you can find your way to help. You and your situation is unique, which means there are many unique opportunities and possibilities you can exploit to do your bit. As long as you're sincere, even your smallest contributions matter a lot in the large scheme of things.

The world's out there, waiting to be discovered...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Explorer

He looked ahead through the trees
Then he checked his right and left.
He nervously looked behind him. Nothing.
Slowly, uncertainly, he shuffled forward through the twigs and leaves. There had to be something somewhere...He had been hungry for two days, surely he would find something today? He'd done his best till now to be the tiger he was at heart, but if today again he was disappointed, well...who knew how much longer he could hold out ? But then again, who cared except him ?
He travelled slowly through the tree, stopping every now and then to ensure he was not being watched and followed. His life was precious, but full of dangers. Sheer primal instinct gave him hope and where there was hope, there would be life. And his life would give others hope too.
Life in the jungle was difficult. It was new to him, but he thought of it as his home. He knew it as his lifeblood, the only reason he survived and thrived. He was brought here by his mother and she would teach him how to live. The dangers of the forest, the pleasure of the hunt, the rewards of success...these were the lessons he shared with his older brother. But these memories...what were they now? Merely instruments to remind him of his present wretchedness. No, he must focus on the present, which was vast and threatening. Noise, breeze, footfalls. What was happening ?
He retreated into the shade of the trees and waited. Every sense on the alert, he considered his options. Bolting for safety would give away his position. Attacking was dangerous as there seemed to be more than one. It was best to creep softly into some sheltered nook and wait.
As he treaded softly on the leaves, he listened. There were many different sounds, but none of them were intelligible. Clicks, bangs, rustling...They seemed alien, but strangely familiar. He was sure he had heard them before and not too long ago.
As he crept along, he suddenly jumped. There were new noises, talking, and they sounded close. His hair stood on end as he realised that the strange two-footed creatures were not far away. As he moved a little faster, he kept listening. They seemed to have stopped and were making their clicking sounds again. Suddenly, there was a bang and he felt extreme pain in his left leg and chest. Blood was seeping out fast and he didn't know what to do. He felt weak, unable to stand and collapsed. The world seemed to be going black and the pain seemed unendurable. Somehow he knew he was dying.
"Well that was easy come, easy go. He'll fetch a handsome price I'm sure. The claws are good, but the pelt will make a wonderful bag. Those strips are one in a million"

Steve Irwin holding a pure-bred Sumatran tiger cub at Mogo Zoo, south of sydney 2004. Photo: REUTERS

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Glad to be proved wrong :)

Isn't it amazing that sometimes years of hearing the same thing over and over just makes us used to it, but suddenly just one thing can make us really feel it?
As you've probably guessed, I've found myself in this situation. Only this time,. the thing I've felt is contradictory my earlier beliefs. It has shown me how wrong I was and has given me fresh hope that there is something I can still do.
You see, just today morning I was reading the Hindustan Times. It recently started a series on young people who were doing something for the environment. Yesterday, it featured a Class VIII student who was trying to save Olive Ridley turtles after seeing them on a vacation. Today, it was a young man in Gurgaon who's started a website ( which offers easy carpooling services.
I've long felt a need to do something for our environment. Oh, I do the usual: save electricity, save water, avoid wastage, use CFL, don't use polybags etc. But I've long wanted to do something bigger. Yes, I agree it is the small steps which make up the long journeys, and no doubt there are a large number of people out there who are with me and working even harder to protect our environment. But I still feel the need to do something better, something through which I can truly feel I have contributed something in this endeavour.
These feelings particularly came about when I visited a certain website ( and realised that there's not much I can do besides spread the word and donate. What can a Delhite, not yet 18, do to help the tigers?
Well, reading this news story,  I was reminded of a long time ago when I cried that I could not do anything for global warming on a larger scale. I felt strongly that whatever small efforts I made, would be overcome by the mass of world problems and the harm caused by the ignorant or the uncaring and all of us were just looking forward to a bleak future of our own making. But now, once again I want to try. I want to do something, and feel I'm doing my part. I want to stop feeling helpless or apathetic and feel worthy.
So now, I'm going to start a 10-part series of posts alongside my normal ones. I'll try to find out what I can do to help and share my discoveries with you all. Perhaps, if we all work together, there is still something we can do, and at the very least, it can give us something to feel proud of.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Wall

There's this wall at my house
And I've known it for so long
I've glanced, looked and stared at it
I've contemplated, meditated and philosophisized
I've laughed, cried and soliloquised
I've sprayed it with water and shown my artistic flair
But through thick and thin, it has always been there
Ever since I was a kid, I've known that wall
During the day it hangs out with the washing
And stands in the sunshine with the flowerpots
But at night it's bathed in moonlight
Over the years, I've seen it less and less
But I still remember that smiley face I drew on it
The face is hidden now, but it lingers in that air
It reminds me of who I used to be a long time ago
The kid I once was, was perfect
She was happy, free and true
She was simple, loving and had faith
She was as much for others as they were for her
No grades or gifts could light up her face the way the stars did
But as the years passed, she put on spectacles
Light now refracted before it reached her
and things no longer seemed the same
So today when she stands in front of that wall
Every day was a new lesson learnt, and each started a new journey
She's not the best and never will be
But I still want to keep moving on
Because no matter what I paint on that wall
The smiley face drawn by me
will remind me of who I used to be.

- Charu

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My first ever blog post

Hello! Welcome to my first ever blog post. Months ago, I was introduced to the world of blogging, by my friend, N. I've been actively following her blog since last year, and I'd toyed with the idea of launching my own. But then, I always wondered, what could I possibly write about? How can I compare myself with the best whom I know and admire?
It took a while before I remembered a favourite quote,
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead seek what they sought " - Matsuo Basho
What am I seeking? A vent? an experience of something new? confidence? I don't know.

Well, whatever it is, welcome to my blog. And as per a request by N, here is something I wrote recently:

One of the worst things to do in love is to impose. When we love a person too much, we start thinking them to be like us, to think like us, or to love us so deeply that they would have no problem accommodating themselves to our wishes. We forget that, ultimately, a person is single unique and different. Love must soar like a free bird, not be locked in a cage and admired for its beauty. True, it hurts when someone we love does something which displeases us, but what we must remember is that love is about acceptance - of people, facts and life. Blackmailing or wounding a person to get your will is worse than a band aid solution, because t rankles in one's heart forever and is difficult to forget. Love is about true respect for another's character, identity and qualities. Besides, love is not something to be measured. Love, in all its forms is unique and special. Asking people to stifle themselves or their love is asking them to lock away a part of themselves, leaving an un-fillable void behind. A void which affects everything - their conceptions, their sense of self, their love for everything else, their trust and faith, and much else. One should also remember that in true love, hurt is never on only one side, for many things are torn apart when love causes hurt. One must never forget that no matter how many similarities, no matter how many differences, no matter how much passion, two people are ultimately two people. And it is when this knowledge, acceptance and trust in the other is reached that two people become one.

Hope to see you again soon !