Thursday, April 19, 2012

To Save or Not to Save

Last month saw emergence of another celebrity in the form of Earth Hour.

What is it? Some new Hollywood movie?” One of my friends asked me.  He thought Earth Hour was just another movie like Rush Hour, 127 Hour, The Darkest Hour etc and with this question I thought he clearly was not on any form of networking websites or even using internet leave alone reading newspapers.

I explained to him about the 1 hour no-electricity campaign across the globe and how it would help us save our Earth from global warming. Apart from the still existing ignorance about this campaign amongst people, what startled me further was their reluctance to participate in it. I wondered how difficult was it for people to sacrifice electricity for just one hour and that too just for a day? Could they not just sleep during that time and get done with it?

Nevertheless determined to participate in it I switched off entire lights of my house on 31st March at sharp 8.30 pm and lit plenty of candles. For a moment I felt like a YashRaj heroine but in the very next moment this feeling died down in the lack of any background music. Anyway, after doing my bit of lighting up my house I came and sat on the couch. I picked up the remote to watch TV, but then remembered about my pledge so I quietly kept it down. Then I looked around and picked up a magazine to read, but after about 5 minutes of wrinkled eyelids and straining eyes I gave up. I mean although I am used to reading books under my tiny reading light, candle light reading was a bit of pain. So I slid my magazine under the cushion and picked up my laptop for browsing on internet. Alas! I had switched off my modem’s power too. Damn you Earth Hour! I was wondering what I could do next and realised that I really had no work. Dinner was over, dishwasher was loaded (thankfully I remembered not to turn it on), TV and magazines were out of question and internet was elusive. I mean I had good one hour with me with absolutely no agenda and still I couldn’t remember a single activity which I could do in this hour. Maybe this is what people call “Kulhadi par pair marna”. Switching off electricity was actually pushing me towards boredom. I was beginning to feel restless so I got up and thought of taking a stroll in the house, but the tick-tock of the clock was weighing too heavy on me. I couldn’t even talk to anyone on phone as it was low on battery and I didn’t want it to get switched off in this dark hour.

I loitered around for a while and then came back to my good old couch. After making myself comfortable on it I actually began to wonder how electricity had crept into our lives and transformed from a human discovery to a human necessity. Our days start with switching on of lights and end with switching it off with all the hours in between filled with myriad moments of indulgence and dependence on electricity. For instance can you imagine your day without your cell phones, laptops, iPods, TVs, microwave, washing machine, refrigerators, dishwashers and several other gadgets? Leave aside smaller tools like an iron, hair dryer, electric shaver, blenders, globes and in my case a fan too! Yes believe it or not I just cannot sleep without running a fan even in the thickest of Melbourne winter. I know, I know – I also pity my husband. From thinking how easy it would be to sleep during earth hour and not feel a pinch of it, my mind was just staring at the motionless fan. Sigh! Moving on, imagine the horror of starting your mornings without your daily dose of caffeine. Ouch! I know it hurts.

Till an hour ago I was very sure about what I valued most in my life - my family and my passion for writing. However now I feel my necessities have changed. Reality has struck me hard and now I know what I need most is electricity even to value the other two aspects of my life and cherish them. For most of us our worlds would come crashing down with serious lack of fuel, but when have we learnt to be proactive. This has been the first time in my life when I have actually realised how much we abuse electricity. In India too I used to participate in Earth Hour but then it had not impacted my life in a manner as it has this time in Australia. Despite enjoying all the luxuries Indians still have alternatives for carrying out their daily chores sans electricity. Be it washing clothes, cleaning utensils, sweeping, mopping, cooking or even plain communication and entertainment – everything can be performed to perfection without thunder and bolts. Nevertheless one hour of no-electricity had certainly sabotaged an hour of my life and so I have decided to become more aware of my daily electricity quotient and help save our earth. What are you waiting for now? Act fast, before all our machines and gadgets gulp down Earth for their electricity appetite. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kya har ek NEWS zaroori hota hai?

In our country everything makes news, and I mean literally everything. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the time we roll under our blankets in the night, each moment of our day is blasted with overdose of news. Right from the infamous, dramatic events of bollywood to the twisted tales of politics and countless cases of corruption - news pieces keep fluctuating on our mental graphs. At times their volatility strikes our day with thoughts and contemplation and other times they crash our minds with the sheer absence of their irrelevance in anyone’s life.

Multimedia has further heightened the extent to which news can penetrate into our lives. Even if you wish to leave your newspapers aside for a day how will you escape the TV channels, social networking websites and smart phones which won’t let your mind rest in peace. Our lives were already traumatized with dedicated news channels, which present every miniscule thing like a “never before seen” event. Not to forget the theatrical impact which is accorded to all the news items for creating the thrills and frills of daily soaps. I mean who cares if SRK slapped some hippy looking father of triplets (does he have any other claim to fame?) on a drunken night and then patched up like characters from Suraj Barjatya’s family sagas. Don’t we see enough of such acts on televisions and in movies that now we have to read about these as well?  And why should we poke our nose into the health and wealth of Yuvraj Singh? We all sympathize with his condition and hope and pray that he recovers soon from the clutches of Cancer. However we do not want to know what injections, chemicals and rays are being administered to him every day and what state of mind he is in, while undergoing all this. Aren’t we already sniffing too much into his life by prying on his health and might-sink career that the media is further attempting to bring alive his daily woes to public.

With social networking websites a new genre of users has burgeoned – that of wannabe journalists. Every person tries to propagate (read: report) news in most uncouth manner killing the very spirit of journalism. Forget the gravitas of the language chosen, most of these people don’t even verify the veracity of the information, they come across, before posting it for others to read. Things get worse when such rumours come accompanied with individual’s stinking thoughts laced with hinted expletives. We all like to be aware of things happening inside and outside our country, but when any random information occupies the slot in breaking news ticker to an extent of becoming a trend, our minds automatically get switched off.

Whether or not Sunny Leone is doing Hindi films or why Mayawati allows only bare footed people to meet her or if the Vastu of 27 floors Antilla is preventing Mukesh Ambani to shift to his dream home, are merely pieces of information, which do not require to be tweeted, re-tweeted, posted, scrapped about or flashed in the top headlines and breaking news section of any form or media or multimedia. We can of course choose to laugh about such news or turn deaf ears to them, but wouldn’t it be better if media stopped perceiving every incident as sensational or scandalous and focused on issues which are relevant to us. And if you believed that relevant news can’t be funny, entertaining or amusing then check out the latest headline in today’s newspapers which reads “Two Karnataka ministers caught surfing porn on cellphones”.