Saturday, 29 June 2019

The Things We Have Lost


Some experiences can never be forgotten, they may fade over time but never truly wiped away. Even a tiny spark, a simple deja-vu, a passing mention can bring these memories back, just as good as new!!

A month back, thousands of miles away from my home, sitting in a national park in a foreign land, I heard some sparrows in the distance. And that one chance encounter reminded me of my childhood afternoons. I vividly remember, as a child, I used to sit in the balcony reading a story book. Never alone...I always had company from these tiny sparrows.... they were so many of them, chirping, flying, sitting, eating, making so many conversations in their own sparrowy way. Sometimes I used to fall asleep on the chair listening to their songs.

And then I grew up, as did the city and its population. With that grew, city's pollution as well. And suddenly, it didn't have enough space to accomodate the tiny birds...and they disappeared... May be due to lack of space and food, they all died or may be they went in search for a new home where they will still be allowed to sing.

Is it just sparrows? Who knows what else we are missing and don't even realize yet. Birds, clear sky, constellation of stars, clean air to breathe, a beautiful sunset!!

It is never too late, at least not yet!! We can't get our childhood back. But may be, if we try a little harder, we can still bring back that small part of our childhood. 

Friday, 28 June 2019

First Rains


As the monsoon starts, my first thought is getting wet in the first rains. My grandmother and mother always told us kids to get drenched in the first rains. They said the first rain has therapeutic benefits, not sure about the science behind it. But it is still my most vivid memory of monsoon, getting wet, playing in the rain with other children, the race of paper boats (which I still don't know how to make, so bullying my mother or brother to make them for me), all these memories are what defined my childhood.

As I witness the first rain, sitting in my 14 story office building, worrying about carrying my laptop through the downpour, the carefree, playful me in that rain is what I miss the most.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Superpower


In the wild, each animal has their own superpower. Be it the color changing ability of chamaleon or the eyesight of eagles. The colours of butterflies and the light of fireflies enthralls us. The speed of cheetah and the incisors of crocodile will put a shiver down our spines. 

Come to think of it, what is the superpower of humans? It is our brains, isn't it? Then if we put our superpower to use to save this planet, I am sure that we will do miracles, the concern is how to make that a priority? How to convince human beings the urgency of their own survival operation.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Water- My Life


Water and life are synonymous. 60% of my body is water. Two third of my planet is water. Water nourishes, cleanses, replenishes and soothes me. Water grows food in the agricultural field and nourishes chicken in the farm. Water sustains my rich environment and supports industries. It powers my home, my fields and my economy.

Water gives me life. But what do I give back? I give back pollution. I kill water's residents, its communities. I dump chemicals, sewage, fertilizers in this water. I fight wars over water, yet do I preserve it? I build dams to stop its free flow, cut the trees that hold it together.

And the day when water decides to fight back, the life giver and preserver turns into a killer? After cloud burst, my whole village gets washed away like a piece of paper. Flood destroys my home, my community.  Drought lives me and my family begging for water. It kills all my crops leaving me hungry for the rest of the year. The bacteria that I released into water, comes back to haunt me with a disease. The chemical that I dumped comes back to stay with me for generations.

When will I learn if I keep abusing mother nature, one day she will fight back. Once that happens, how long can I stand in the face of nature's wrath?

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

New Ways of Learning


When we start looking around the world, we sometimes see some interesting things... things we have never seen in our own country...a fresh perspective. I have always been interested in such perspectives for the fact that these are great ways of unconventional learning.

There are countries where visiting a forest is part of a child's education. Kids are regularly taken to the forest to spend some time close to the nature, in some places kids are even taught to pick up garbage when they see any. The benefits of such interactions are endless. It's a proven fact that spending time closer to nature improves a child's mental and physical health, their cognitive abilities. These interactions can also teach them how valuable nature is to us and what role nature plays in our survival.

Today's kids are tomorrow's decision makers. When they learn to care for nature and take care of it from an early age, they will continue to care when they grow up as well. 

Monday, 24 June 2019

Biodiversity


We have spoken a lot about biodiversity on this page. But how does it really affect us? If we are the dominant creatures in nature, then why can't we survive alone? Why should we share earth's resources with anyone else? To understand the importance of biodiversity, let's break it down a bit.

The building blocks of life for every living organism are some matters like Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, Sulphur, Phosphorus, Water, Calcium etc. In order to survive, we have to consume each one of these matters in prescribed (by nature) quantities. These are the nutrients that keep us alive. We breathe oxygen, drink water, eat carbohydrates, etc. Also matter is indestructible (Law of Conservation of Matter), it only changes form (or builds compounds). Every bit of matter that we consume throughout our lives, we give it back to nature at some point of time, through bodily functions like defecation, urination etc. and finally through decomposition by bacteria after death.

Few concepts critical in this context are
1. Matter is consumed in prescribed amount,
2. Matter changes its form and
3. Matter recycles through the ecosystem

Every living being has capacity to process these matters in only specific forms. In other forms, the same matter can be unusable at the least and toxic or even lethal at the most. When matter is passed on from one source to another, many times it changes its form (to create some compounds, for example nitrates, phosphates etc). So the matter is then broken down by some other organism that is capable of doing so in its current form before another organism can absorb it. This recycling can take any time between few hours to thousands of years and can change its form many times before the cycle completes.

The ability of any organism to process any matter in certain form depends on many factors like temperature, water, presence of another organism, etc. These conditions can have millions of different combinations. This is where the importance of millions of species comes in. Only in the perfectly balanced natural conditions, some combinations of species are able to create the matter required for living beings. Any imbalance will lead to toxic environment.

When we change natural conditions, like global climate, rainfall, number of species, forest cover, artificially changing the composition of these matters in the ecosystem, then we destroy this delicate balance and leave some of the stages of this recycle at risk. 

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Maya - the Queen


Maya, one of the most famous tigress, holds a special place in the hearts of all tiger lovers. She was part of litter of 4 cubs, growing up with 2 sisters and a brother, she was the most vivacious of them all.
She dominated over her siblings and became the Queen of Tadoba, a famous tiger reserve in Maharashtra.

Maya was the desired mate for many tigers and as she shared her territory with 4 tigers, there was bound to be fight for her. The most famous of them were Gabbar and Matkasur. Maya was raising her second litter, after tragically losing all cubs in her first litter. Her cubs were around a year old and still had about 6-12 months before they became independent and left in search of their territory. Tiger mothers are very protective and loving towards their cubs as there are many threat for the cubs, and their survival chances are very low. 

Both Matkasur and Gabbar were vying for Maya's attention and were serious danger to her cubs. Once Matkasur had charged one of the cubs and the cub was seen running away scared. Maya was desperate to protect her cubs. Rather than fighting the tigers which risked her wellbeing as well as of the cubs, she moved the cubs away. It is believed that she sensed that survival chances of cubs were higher if they were away from the male tigers. Maya was also seen spreading her scent everywhere as if to attract these adult tigers to herself so that they are not aggressive towards her cubs. She was soon seen mating with the tigers and it seems they had forgotten about the cubs. The cubs were seen killing small animals and the strategy seems to have worked.

Now Maya is raising her third litter with Matkasur and the threat to her territory is none other than Chhota Matka, the son of Matkasur and Chhoti Tara. But this time, Maya decided to fight and claim what's hers, as if she knew when to fight and to surrender. She won the fight and was able to protect her territory and cubs.

As Maya continues to create more stories, one thing is for sure, she will become legendary, a folklore for decades to come.