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The Minimalistic Lifestyle

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word ‘Minimalist’? Some popular ideas include – an empty house, the colors- black and white, fashion, slow and pale living and most importantly a hell of a commitment. The only one I’d partially agree to is the last. So to break it down to you, being a minimalist, simply means investing your money and time on the things that serve a functional purpose and nothing else.

While we run towards our dreams and aspirations trying miserably to keep it together and find happiness, perhaps we need to sit down with a cup of coffee and think if these dreams we keep running after, this idea of absolute satisfaction and joy is worth this whole struggle. Let’s look into why we are almost all the time in need or something or the other.

Given all that the current market has to offer, like cute Japanese stationery, millions of gadgets convincing you that you need help with just about everything, an option to choose from for every other item, a substitute for everything you probably already own and so on. Just when you decide to not go outside, you realize they’re all ready to deliver it to your doorstep. it may seem like a struggle but try to look at the bigger picture. Why are we constantly in search of something? Can we ever actually be content?

A popular blogger and minimalist, Leo Babauta wrote, ‘An ongoing quest for me, and one that I am renewing this year is to eliminate all that is unnecessary from my life.’ he continues by explaining what is truly necessary for life and that the rest can be avoided.

We are constantly engaged in making a list of things we believe we need. Seldom do we pause to question, ‘why’ and ‘Is it important?. ‘This isn’t limited to the market, even with relationships and any general investment of time or effort, we need to question if it’s truly worth it. Because if you do figure out the key to living a life that is simple and control this constant rush towards everything that your eyes fall on, that is when you’ll be a little more content and as far as happiness is concerned, well decluttering the unnecessary has never brought anybody sorrow. Unburdening yourself will ensure you control waste and save time.

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Why are environment issues mainstream?

As species who place themselves above the eco-chain, it is inevitable for humans to not participate in everything that goes about in the world, both green and grey. Through the recent years, there have been loud attempts to increase awareness amongst people about the nature of impact we have on everything we touch. From our deepest oceans to the mountain tops, we’ve left an imprint, one that we mustn’t be proud of. Disturbing all that co-exists and still expecting minimal disturbance for our comfort is probably just one of our many hypocritical acts.

We stand at a time and place where we know the consequences to our actions and yet somehow convince ourselves to remain passive. We may not seem to care about the pile we add to this nurturing planet but we sure complain every time it behaves undesirably.

This is where write-ups come in hand. We know that we’ve been conditioned to not care about nature although that’s all we’ve read growing up. Adults, with their adult problems, often forget what the purpose of awareness truly is. People who share an interest in matters related to the environment and take the time to write on it usually have one of the two aims. Firstly, to make readers understand what their actions result in and secondly, what actions to take, both aspiring to build a crowd that shows gratitude to this ever giving planet, and respecting its limitations.

So why must one read up on environment write-ups? Problems like the use of plastic, petrol, or any other material that we believe have no substitute and are the foundation of a comfortable life can be broken down with the help of such write-ups. Furthermore, there is an ease of transitioning from a careless lifestyle to one where one makes conscious efforts to make minimal damage to nature and live sustainably.

Lighter write-ups that present complex information by breaking it down in a way that it facilitates broader and better understanding amongst all who seek information regarding the same. For all the clusters that exists, there’s almost always a simple solution, one that needs to be brought to light for the masses to use as the guiding force.

Tutorials on how to live green, promotion of organic farming, books and other write-ups on a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, advertisement of eco-friendly products and services are all functional steps that help achieve a better standard.

Do we need kids or are we just obsessed?

I had a day out yesterday. Decided to go into the city to fight seasonal depression, as one does, and bask in the glories that are a result of senseless consumerism. I was seeking a change of pace. I took the public commute at the risk of being puked on, having folks elbow you, and fighting the chances of having to stand for an hour. 

As I went through 7am to 9am, the sun went from delightful to outright vengeful. From a bus and then into a metro, there was a blindingly obvious problem staring at me – there’s too many of us.

There’s too many of people getting out of their homes because we know the traffic will slow us down. We avoid weekend trips to not be swamped by the crowd. We don’t eat out at food courts and choose fine dinning, usually to avoid people. The race for the “premium” experience is on. Our primary sense of luxury has become “access to good things without having to stand in a queue.” 

The reason this is problematic is because I haven’t seen enough people call out overpopulation. At a global level, perhaps this can be brushed away, but it is at the root of all our socio-economic struggles. Have you ever wondered why the quality of life is better in smaller countries with a limited population? If so, you probably understand where I’m going with this. 

Birth control 

As controversial as it is, I’m going to talk about it. Firstly, why do gynaecologists promote baby making as if they were storks dressed in lab coats? Since when did we start assuming everyone wants a baby? Why does infertility have the same reaction as finding a tumour? 

For the longest time, we’ve stuck to condoms and nothing else for men. For women, you can get pills, copper-Ts and more. Have you compared the price difference between contraception for men and women? Shouldn’t we cater birth control options for women, seeing as they are the one’s who make the baby? Why is there absolutely no room for a discussion of being child-free.

Abortion is another widely under discussed topic. Why are they not encouraged? Since when did we start telling people that they owe it to the world to diminish the resources that could otherwise help improve the individual quality of life significantly. Since when did we start telling women that they must do what we think is best with their bodies? and when will we stop? To put it simply, if you don’t think you can have an opinion on tumour removal of another human, do not extend your expertise on what they should do about the tiny human growing inside them. Because in both cases, the results will forever change their life and it’s accountability will never be shouldered by you. 

As a race, we’ve trapped, killed, massacred and domesticated every animal we could find. We’ve overpopulated every continent except one. There are growing landfills, dingy apartments, skyscrapers, to make endless money to support a family you’re not even sure you ever wanted and yet the narrative with birth control has always been a matter of “child now or later?” 

Child-free 

If you’re anywhere between 20-40, you must be aware of the popular wedding fiasco we’ve now normalised. Spending all of your savings and your parent’s savings on a single day or a few days to celebrate the fact that you have found someone to share a life with by throwing a party for a bunch of people who will probably never contribute to your marriage in any which way or form. Once you’re married, the next thing staring at you is – child. Because we think that love must create something. Together, two people must build something. For whatever reason this something is never a forest or a piece of furniture. It’s almost always a child. And we’re so used to the norm that we’ve stopped asking the question “Do I really want to have children?”

There are people who choose to live child free. For those of us who are infertile, the term “childless” is tossed around to a point of concern because without one you are no longer relevant. If you’re not a dissatisfied, angry adult, what’s the point of your existence? 

Being child free, be it by choice or otherwise needs to be more popular than it is today. Primarily because it’s very similar to another issue we have in front of us. Now, I’m not calling children plastic, so bare with me. 

I’m guessing you’re not delusional about climate change if you’ve managed to find this blog. So, you see how we know that plastic is indeed a problem and that we need to change our ways to ensure that plastic doesn’t choke us all to death? Now take a minute to wonder if we’ve stopped making plastic? 

Attaboy, we absolutely haven’t. We keep encouraging biodegradable options but nobody has asked to stop plastic because that seems too radical an option. Even if it posses a threat to our very existence, how can we have plastic completely out of the picture? 

Now, slowly, look back into the cycle of child making. You know real estate prices are high, that you can barely afford to support yourself, that schools will always overcharge you without ever actually paying the teachers right, that a child has needs – regardless of what your pay check looks like. And yet, do you stop making kids? No. 

Our obsession with look-a-likes 

I’m convinced that a lot of us could adopt kids and avoid all that struggle (both physical and financial) of child birth if we could be less narcissistic. Would a 5 year old screaming make it better for you if it resembled you mildly? And the idea of raising a child and not a person – that’s for another blog. Other than wanting to have your child look like you, do you have any rational for making one? Because those 9 months could be a personal experience for a mother and if you want your body to celebrate it’s reproductive pixie dust, by all means. But what about the second time? the third? the fourth? Are you telling me you loved wrecking your body and then recovering so much that you just absolutely could not look into adoptions? And gentlemen, do share if you’ve ever actually thought about wanting a child if it isn’t a junior you, or at all. Because the whole “omg you can’t have kids?” question is thrown around way too much. And we’re all low key terrified that we’re infertile at some point in time. So many of us don’t even stop to understand that we do indeed have a choice in having or not having kids. That there are more ways than one to have a kid and that all are ideal case scenarios. Not having kids is also an ideal case scenario. None of us want to stare at the same art piece for forever, so it’s okay if your life looks different from the next person, it doesn’t make it less of a masterpiece. Also, has a child ever helped you admire an art piece more? That’s what I thought. 

Common arguments : 

  1. The fertility rates are going down, we must ensure we have enough children for our future. – Have you wondered why the fertility rates have gone down? Do you think making hundreds of kids will solve the issue? What else are you doing to ensure that we have a future? 
  2. God. God will take care of overpopulation. That’s why there are calamities. – I thought we were over the Old Testament ways but if that’s your chosen coping mechanism, are you trying to get yourself killed? Or are we assuming that god wouldn’t kill people you care about in these aforementioned calamities?
  3. Children are gifts. – No, Children are tiny humans. That’s it. Some folks don’t keep their kids and give them away to shelters, some children don’t make it past delivery and some kids hate every minute of their existence. Children are smaller humans – nothing else. 
  4. Your purpose in life is to make a family and that is incomplete without a child. – Mating calls exist for a reason, I get it. But you don’t need smaller people to make a familial bond. You can have a family between two adults or more. 
  5. In a marriage, the child is the glue. – If you think a small human is the glue between your relationship, it isn’t. The marriage papers could be the glue. And if you find yourself in search of an adhesive, maybe look into why you’re both floating in different winds. 
  6. Who will take care of you in your old age – Children are an easy way to ensure that someone wipes your butt when you are no longer able to. Guilt is a strong emotion. But you know what else is strong? Savings. Get yourself a luxury old age home because that comes with a receipt, a child doesn’t. 
  7. One child is not enough, it needs company – Yes, this is why other people exist. Also, if you’re getting two so they distract each other long enough for you to take a nap, I totally get it. But can you support everything multiplied by two? Have you worked out their expenses with the age gap? Also, as the one who was made for company – we’re terrible influence. 
  8. Parents are like gods – Parents are glamourised and for good reason. If you’re raising anything – a plant, a cat, a dog, a human – allow me to extend my respects. However, if you’re in it to feel like a god, you’re at the right place. Just know that you’ll have to be a god, because everything you do will not be observed, it’ll be absorbed and it will indefinitely come and bite you on your ass when you’re 60 and looking at old age homes you can no longer afford. 

How to travel with a pet in India

If you have a pet in India, you already know that almost nothing is pet friendly. This includes transport. However, I just traveled with my pupper from Bangalore to Kerala. And while the entirety of that experience was unnecessarily tiresome and confusing, I did figure out the process. For starters, here are your options – Flights (only air India allows pets aboard), trains and cabs.

For flights – I recommend you speak to the group crew about it. While only Air India is the only pet-friendly flight in the country, it also comes with it’s terms and conditions. If your pet is 5kgs and below – you can travel with your pet (in a crate), you will be allocated the very last seat if the pilot driving the aircraft is cool with it. (Yes, you are to pray that the pilot is a pet lover). If you’re unable to get the pilot’s validation or if your pet is heavier, you can opt for cargo.
Things you need –

  1. The right kind of crate
  2. Fit to travel certificate
  3. Weigh your pet
  4. Pay as per the weight of the pet
  5. And your pet will get to nap in the baggage storage area

I’d recommend you reach the airport early for the same. Cargo takes time.

Travel by Train

This is the option I opted for as the Air India from Bangalore to Kerala does not (I’m not sure why) have the pet travel facilities. While traveling via train with our pet was stressful at first (due to lack of information) I would definitely recommend it. Here’s what you do.

  1. Download ISRCTC app from playstore/appstore.

2. Book either two or four first A/C tickets. This is because you get a cabin exclusively for yourself. Inability to do so may lead to your co-passengers having an issue with your pet which is honestly, not a headache I would recommend. Choose the option ‘couple’ when you are booking ticket.

3. Make sure you give the correct email address and phone number 

4. Wait for the ticket to get confirmed (we got confirmation immediately).

5. Once you get confirmation, 24 hours before departure date, take your dog to a vet and get a ‘fit to travel certificate’ (if your dog is not vaccinated with all necessary vaccines, you might not get the certificate).

6. Then take 1 photocopy of all the passengers’ aadhar cards, dog’s fit to travel certificate, a hand written letter requesting for coupe mentioning that you will be travelling with a pet (ensure that you mention your PNR number, train name and number , date of travel, names of passengers in the letter).

7. You need to submit all these forms pinned together at the district railway manager’s office (usually there will be a box where the security sits, you can submit all these documents there).

As of August 2021

8. Time to get religious. Hope that you get coupe (which is a cabin for two that can be closed so your pet gets to actually stretch.

On the day of journey, make sure you reach at least 4 hours in advance with your dog. You can board ONLY from the railway station that’s mentioned in your ticket.

You need to reach the railway station to check if your got coupe- confirm it at the enquiry or by meeting station master (we got a text message about 3 hours before departure via the app). Confirmation of coupe can be checked only 3-4 hours before departure. There is no way we can know beforehand. 

Carry a file with photocopy of passengers’ aadhar card, fit to travel certificate of the dog and the original. 

Once you reach the railway station, take your dog to the parcel office. They asked us to show our Aadhar card copies, fit to travel certificate of the dog and photocopy of train ticket. They looked at our dog and inquired if we have a crate (ours was a puppy, I don’t think you need to have a crate if it’s a full grown dog but do get a muzzle and leash to be safe).

They looked at our dog (they no longer weigh the dogs) and asked us to pay Rs 300/- in cash. They gave us a ticket for the dog – this one is important, keep it safe.

We made the payment and we were allowed to sit in the first A/C waiting lounge. 

We kept our luggage there (pro tip- carry a chain to tie your luggage to the chair) and took our dog to the other end of the railway station to feed her and make her poop and pee. We kept making her walk and play so that she gets tired (your pet can get nauseous so we’d recommend to not feed them in the train).

10-15 minutes before the train arrived we went back to the waiting room. Our ‘kuli’ (a life saver) helped us to find the right seat (pro tip- inquire where exactly the coach falls – its usually right infront of the a/c waiting room but get it confirmed from the waiting list watchman/ any other employees of railway). We do not recommend you do this alone, between the two of us and our dog, we were super stressed throughout this whole thing.

Then we boarded the train, the TT came and checked the tickets and the dog’s ticket that we received from parcel office. He actually thanked us for taking the effort total a ticket for the dog; apparently a lot of people board the train with their dogs without proper documents and when they get fined, they create a ruckus (don’t be that person). 

Once our tickets and our dog’s tickets got approved, we closed the coupe door, sanitized the entire space and kept pee pads and cleaning supplies ready (disinfectant, room freshener, clothes to mop etc).

Also, the coupe was reaaaally cold so carry enough stuff to keep the dog warm.

Now our dog peed twice and we cleaned it up immediately. We could not get much sleep. You are not allowed to let the dog roam around the corridors unattended (tip: carry some bones for the dog to chew on and stay busy)

Do not feed a lot of food /water while the dog in on train, it can cause motion sickness and the dog could end up puking (we just made sure that she drank and ate before she got on train so that we could ensure that she finishes peeing and pooping).

Our train reached the destination and we got out of the train. The journey was smooth, we just had to walk around the railway station a lot to figure out the procedure. Now that we know, it really isn’t all that complicated (if you find someone who actually knows what to do).

Here are a few shoutouts because some things did definitely work out. If you’re in Bangalore – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THESE –

  1. Pawspace – We were able to drop our pup with pawspace’s pet sitter for two days as we walked around and figured out this whole thing. They are so good, the quality is great, it’s very transparent and they have great professionals. If you’re a pet parent and live in Bangalore, paw-space is the way to go. Here’s their site – https://www.pawspace.in https://www.pawspace.in
  2. Rego cabs – So after a series of autowalas and Ubers dropping us mid way or straight up denied us because we had our pupper with us (Why is India so disrespectful to animals? A conversation for another blog maybe) we found Rego cabs. They have a dedicated Innova for your pet drives. There is enough room for large dogs and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Easy to book, very sweet folks – definitely recommend. Here’s their site – http://www.rego.co.in/

Happy traveling pet parents! We hope India becomes pet-friendly soon.

Pandemic Realizations

This isn’t a “Use all this time pandemic has got you to get productive and become a better version of yourself” kind of blog. More of a “I’ve spent way too much time with myself” sorta thing.

credit @shato_illust

It’s been quite a challenge to ensure that I set out of my spirals in these times. Considering how this particular day has been nice to me, I’ve decided to note down some of the smaller details that I’ve noticed.

I’m sure all of us are in different surroundings during this pandemic. However, one thing we all share could be the extra time we’ve got in hand to deal with ourselves. Being someone who prefers being left alone, this wasn’t a drastic change for me. In fact, I realised that even when my entire family is simply near my line of vision, I need to step out. So my first, very basic realisation – I like my own company.

I’ve been noticing my purchasing habits as well. When you’re stuck in a rural setting with urban needs, cranky becomes a personality and not a mood. The initial months, I must agree, I’ve been super cranky when denied the right to step out (with a mask and sanitiser of course). With time I’ve understood what my primary needs are – Good quality coffee, bananas, rice, a healthy change of vegetables and the ultimate -the pears soap. While that sounds basic, it’s difficult to get given the situation.

Moving on to personal image, or the image of self. I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’m way too harsh on myself. Every time I look into the mirror, something just always disappoints me. However, unlike my teenage self, I’m completely okay with it (except when I’m on my period). I’ve realised that my skincare range includes – innisfree face masks and red wine. I’ve successfully deviated my body dysmorphia with extreme stress around my hair, would it be a stretch to say its working? Here’s something that has helped – working out and eating well. I’ve realised that most things feel sane and okay to me when I know I’m in control.

Trees – a no brainer I know but seriously underrated. If you’re surrounded by plants that maybe have flowers, its easy to realise that they uplift your mood. Trees though, its taken me a while to appreciate each and every one of them. There are plenty surrounding my house and everything about them, be it the change of colour when the light hits them or the random seeds falling on my dog and I, I dig them.

Being a clean freak, its natural that I feel elite during these times. Suddenly people understand why shaking hands with random people is stupid. While I wouldn’t vouch for sanitisers, I sure am glad that it helps me clean things around the house. I’ve had the time to arrange my space and its been left untouched by people, I cannot begin to explain how much I appreciate it.

credit @shato_illust

A very important observation – I do not associate with people who are incapable of controlling their tone of voice. This isn’t massive but I’ve come to terms with just how much it can piss me off to be around people who do no have a control over their actions of something as basic as their tone of voice. Its the biggest red flag in my kingdom.

Much to my annoyance, I’ve realised I miss human interaction. Allow me to rephrase, I miss quality human interaction. I miss the times when I had to order a coffee, I miss the time when I had to listen to peculiarly soothing voices of people who were important to me. Most importantly, I miss hugs.

Having a dog is a rather awkward essential on this list. I’ve had “dog” on my life plan for two years now. However I’ve never been this sure of it until now. The things keeping me from making this choice include the fact that I can’t afford it at the moment and I can’t give it the quality of life I have planned out for it.

With isolation, things have gotten overwhelmingly absurd but the memory of who you are sure is helpful. Knowing that I mattered in my space before some bat eating moron decided to screw that up for me (no hate), helps me stay sane in a space where I don’t.

Nobody has to be supremely productive during a pandemic, these are the chapters in history where we talk about how bread came into being, really, it isn’t a big deal. I only hope we find the strength to accept our own personalities and grow in ways that are possible.

“These mainstream journalists…”

To everyone who is sick and tired of journalists yelling at you with fake reports, hear me out. I’m sorry we have media that fails in doing its fundamental duty – safeguarding democracy. I’m also sorry that you are made to feel anxious after listening to the 9am news bulletin. I apologise that you have to see disturbing images and videos on your TV just because some journalist forgot to take ethics seriously.

Now that we’ve set our apologies right, allow me to state what I’m not sorry for.

We live in 2020. We’ve experienced our bit of the tragedy with pandemic but during this crisis, we cannot help but criticise the media. Its loud, biased, untrue and most importantly, annoying.

Then why do we still switch on our TVs? Why do we endure something we know isn’t factual in the first place? Because living without news, if you aren’t ignorant, is impossible. We feed off of news on a daily basis. Our conversations are based off of prime time news. Our petrol prices, taxes, government mood swings are all told to us by the news. So how does something so fundamental to public get off hand?

It’s as simple as this – The news you receive isn’t functioning for you because it isn’t run by you. You believe you are entitled to good quality and fair news because you pay your cable bills and subscribe to the cheapest available daily, allow me to snap you out of your bubble.

You get a newspaper for as cheap as 5 rupee to a maximum of 15 rupee. There is no way that any organisation can hire journalists, buy equipments, carry out the printing, rent out an office and carry out investigation or even simple daily reports with that tiny sum of money. This is where advertisers come in. Why do you have sheets and sheets of advertisements of digital sales every morning staring at you? Because they help the organisation survive.

When you, as public, are not ready to pay a higher subscription rate to the press, how can you expect them to work in your interest?

Now a possible solution that you may have found is – government subsidies. Good argument. While governments fund the military and take interest in this investment, one can only see a handful of governments doing the same for their press. Now I don’t mean that the governments don’t pay the press to have their preferred narrative. What I mean is, government subsidies work as a functional model only if the model is mandatory to all news organisations with the exception of any government involvement in the news stories. Otherwise, the press turns into what it is now -a mouth piece of the government.

We have our right to speech, or rather, we had. The real problem with the mainstream media today is that it makes the ones who aren’t aware of its financial spine, believe its radical ideas. So when a left wing funded daily presents news to you, you have no access to the other side of the story. This is where caste issues, religious ideas and community conflicts stem. So the next time you expect to see a good journalist, prepare to fund their process. Because writing what is fair, what the government wants to hide from you, keeping the sense of democracy alive, is not possible without money.

Also remember, it is mainstream because you make it. There are smaller independent media organisations who try to bring way less radical reports but it is because you are unwilling to try out and support such organisations that we are stuck in this loop together.

Incase you’re willing to pay for the quality news, here are some sights that can help you understand how impactful a functional media can be –

https://ruralindiaonline.org

https://www.bloombergquint.com/bq-blue-exclusive

Side Note : Take some time to understand how they’re funded. If they have a particular ideology. Take time to understand the media and then accept the information. This helps you become aware and not manipulated.

An Atheist Preaching

Now before you decide to get offended by the potentially rude title, allow me to assure you that I intend no hatred to those who believe, I honestly, and try to take this well, don’t care. 

For ages now I’ve been avoiding church and praying. Now this isn’t because I fancy being hopeless. I will confess that it has taken sometime to find the beauty in faith. This struggle did start with confusion. I had questions, ones I didn’t get answers for except the repetitive and my personal favourite reaction “You just believe in god noe”. I soon realised that I couldn’t ask questions to people who weren’t ready to hear, so I learned on my own. I learned that I was not looking for faith, I didn’t relate to it, I didn’t find it as my purpose in life and without it too, I could go through my life. 

Before you jump in to analyse that and question me, understand that I don’t expect someone to lead me into the way of faith. If I do someday decide to try it out, I do know my options, thanks for the concern. As I’ve been going through this, I’ve come to face some patterns.

  1. Religion matters. 
  2. It slips into most initial conversions we share.
  3. It is a part of one’s image.    
  4. It takes up some space in your weekly plans.
  5. Some people even marry around it. 

I’ve been in plenty of conversations where my absence of faith turns into this round table discussion wherein people try to answer my question and find immense pleasure if they happen to shout out their thoughts at me. Now this happens to be a larger crowd behaviour around me (I seem to look like a good christian fella). There are a handful of people who aren’t as uncomfortable as the rest, by it. 

Now to those who can listen, this is my piece of the preaching bit. 

  1. No, I don’t think being an atheist is cool. For those who think this is some leather jacket, alpha-male/female, riding bikes and smoking weed sorta lifestyle, please don’t drag the clan, be you, don’t take shelter in this thing. 

2. I assure you, the phrase “Just believe in god noe” holds no value and I wish you’d stop.

3. Please don’t ask me or anybody about their religion if you’re not ready to accept them all.  

4. Stop saying “Omg, you don’t look atheist.” I can assure you, nobody, ever, looks “atheist” or “gay”. I don’t know where this notion stems from, kindly find time to unlearn it. 

5. Do not assume that I’m here to attack you faith. Some individuals, both devoid of faith and those who are about it, can find the beauty in humanity. You don’t need to explain why you believe or any of that. Let’s think of it this way, while the scriptures are a Holy book to you, I treat them as books. Zero disrespect. 

My end note is pretty simple but kindly understand, I do not speak for the clan. I’m not a fan of categorisation of ideas or any of it.

Denial Around Climate Change

If you’ve come across folks who are delusional about things, you could relate to this.

Picture this, you’re sitting on a bench, sipping on your morning coffee and you see a kid walking around with a plastic bag wrapped around his neck. Give him 5 minutes, he’s gonna suffocate himself enough for it to be fatal. What do you do? Run upto to him and try to save this kid? Pretty obvious right? So then, Why don’t we do that for our cohabitants?

There are 7 billion of us. 7 billion breathing, working, functioning creatures that occupy a major chunk of the planet. Yet, we all go about our daily lives unthinkingly. While we sneak our scooters into small lanes, rush to grab our coffee, get all the paper work done with a slight frown, cover our nose when black smoke hits us, we seem to forget how co-dependent we are. 

There’s a beauty in cohabitation, one that we seem to have forgotten with the race for urbanisation.  The concept of sharing a space comes with responsibilities and we’ve not done a very good job at that. You’ve come across the video of the turtle that has a straw stuck up its nose, you’ve seen tons of plastic floating on the ocean and yet you go on about your day with your stupid little coffee mug, don’t you? Don’t we all? 

We are the bad guys here and the sooner we accept it, the lesser the damage is. You can call out to a single country for the global warming but that isn’t going to make a difference. You see people are simple, we know we kill animals, we always have, what’s the big deal in that, right? 

Well it is a big deal. Because while we stand worthy of the climate change, they don’t. While we build grey walls higher, they remain deserving of their green lands. 

But let’s not make this impersonal. Why don’t we care? Why haven’t we started working against it as a clan? Why doesn’t it affect us? 

I would say capitalism, easy politics, corporate demands, consumerism, plain old ignorance but lets go with – “Because it hasn’t hit us hard enough yet.” We’ve prayed for people affected with calamities, we’ve maintained a minute’s silent for the ones who lost their life but that’s about it. Real measures like choosing public transport, buying thoughtfully, treating our personal waste, switching to a zero-harm lifestyle are just for the you tubers right? We watch them, we try it out for a day or two and then just sit in coffee shops and demand the shopkeepers to change their products so that you’d automatically be saving the planet. For our little royal needs, the scientists are sure of a royal end. 

We live believing that all that’s given to us, is our right. And some of it is, but maybe your primary right is the climate right. But when I say you have the right to clean air, I mean you’re responsible for it as much as the next person is. In the present day, a glance at our newspapers tell us that there’s no real point waiting for the governments. We can’t gather circles and speak about how it is our fate because trying a new lifestyle is just too much of a task for us. 

They say the death of art is the tragedy of our times but I disagree. I think passiveness and the urge to look for convenient options is the real smoke of sorrow that surrounds us. While we know vertical gardens will filter the air in our cities, we’re too busy riding around in the comforts of our bikes. While we’re all trying to tone our bodies, we rarely walk to work. There’s so much we do that’s going  in the wrong direction that it aches my heart and many alike, who understand the impact of climate change. 

You know the facts and the data around climate change. The cause and effect of global warming but when are we gonna talk about how the mass beef consumption has led to mass forest fires to get land for grazing so that the burger on your plate tastes good. How the little bottle of water over the counter isn’t a mere purchase  but log that’ll choke animals to death. How, as we mindlessly go for rides, as the ozone gets cavities and there ain’t no dentist fixing those. How, as we go about with propagation, our landfills take up the lands we promise our children. 

There’s so much out there to talk about climate change and yet whenever we do, we stick to statistics. We stick with numbers and ideas and the need to drop that temperature by 2 degrees. But the need hold ourselves responsible is fundamental. We’ve done this and its our mess to clear. We’ve gotten comfortable but that’ll change when there’s constant cold, when there unstable climate will affect vegetation and we’ll starve, when the heat wave won’t just be a news from the UK but a fragment of your everyday sentences. The reality is harsh and its time everybody stops being delusional about it. There are children speaking but adults need to get the message into their thick skulls. Stop silencing young inds, stop silencing logic because it doesn’t get your revenue. Stop resisting this because its coming for all of us and some of us have decided to act. All I hope for those who are busy with their daily bread is that, when it’ll hit us, you’ll deserve it but not everybody did. 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word ‘Minimalist’? Some popular ideas include – an empty house, the colors- black and white, fashion, slow and pale living and most importantly a hell of a commitment. The only one I’d partially agree to is the last. So to break it down to you, being a minimalist, simply means investing your money and time on the things that serve a functional purpose and nothing else.

While we run towards our dreams and aspirations trying miserably to keep it together and find happiness, perhaps we need to sit down with a cup of coffee and think if these dreams we keep running after, this idea of absolute satisfaction and joy is worth this whole struggle. Let’s look into why we are almost all the time in need or something or the other.

Given all that the current market has to offer, like cute Japanese stationery, millions of gadgets convincing you that you need help with just about everything, an option to choose from for every other item, a substitute for everything you probably already own and so on. Just when you decide to not go outside, you realize they’re all ready to deliver it to your doorstep. it may seem like a struggle but try to look at the bigger picture. Why are we constantly in search of something? Can we ever actually be content?

A popular blogger and minimalist, Leo Babauta wrote, ‘An ongoing quest for me, and one that I am renewing this year is to eliminate all that is unnecessary from my life.’ he continues by explaining what is truly necessary for life and that the rest can be avoided.

We are constantly engaged in making a list of things we believe we need. Seldom do we pause to question, ‘why’ and ‘Is it important?. ‘This isn’t limited to the market, even with relationships and any general investment of time or effort, we need to question if it’s truly worth it. Because if you do figure out the key to living a life that is simple and control this constant rush towards everything that your eyes fall on, that is when you’ll be a little more content and as far as happiness is concerned, well decluttering the unnecessary has never brought anybody sorrow. Unburdening yourself will ensure you control waste and save time.

Water : Too much or Too Little?

In a country like India it isn’t news that resources are kept at the doorstep for some and kept at the horizon for others. The rich and poor divide isn’t just theory around the nation, it’s a daily sight for everybody. Nobody really knows who to blame but it’s time we look into the logistics of the same.

The city of Bangalore acts as a crucial example for all that’s wrong with the entire country considering it’s the IT hub as well as the ‘Garden City’. Over the city, there is almost some construction work going on every day – be it drains, potholes, footpaths, flyovers etc. What media fails to mention is that every time there is a “crisis management” it is almost never planned, this is because there is no central account kept of all the development projects. Which means that drains are fixed right after road construction is accounted for.

This brings the spotlight to the authorities who take immense pride in boasting about all the “development” they’ve been aiding. The state has no ‘single/central plan’ for wholesome improvement which means they continue to invest millions from the treasure called ‘tax’ unthinkingly and this is problematic.

There are only a few things that are more problematic than improper management of resources, (which can be discussed on a later work) the most recent concern has been that revolving water. For a planet that is 2/3rd water we sure have a lot of water related concerns, this means both abundance and scarcity of the matter can kill the entire human race and for the same reason is something that should be written about.

In recent news, India has experienced floods in Karnataka and Kerala, two states where there were zero precautions taken for the same on a practical level. This is a result of inexperience on crisis and disaster management which is not a limited to “reaction” but also pro action. This includes coming up with a proper detailed safeguarding plans which ensure that any future disasters will cause minimal damage.  Which is absent in the present development cells.

Lets look at Bangalore City

The metropolitan city that hugs multiple cultures has drains almost at every nook and corner but the question is :

  1. Where do they meet?
  2. How is sewage treated?
  3. Are drains maintained regularly?
  4. How often are the drains blocked?
  5. Do the drains help during heavy rains?
  6. How effective are the road plans with regard to drains?
  1. Where do they meet?

These are all problems that end with revelation of the harsh reality. In practice, the locals almost always complain about how the drains  meeting up with lakes and ponds thereby polluting whatever water resources are available. This further leads to health issues and a larger problem of water scarcity.

India has not had the luxury of planning cities but Chandigarh, the shared capital of Punjab and Haryana stands as a classic example of why it should be popular and implemented.

For any piece of land to hold commercial and livelihood standards, a plan is essential. A systematic distribution of elements, a proper treatment of waste water along with other resources is a game changer for any economy.

In the city of Chandigarh not only is the commute planned but also the flow of drinking water, sewage and water bodies.  Bangalore, on the contrary rarely even carries out maintenance work for the existing drain networks. This just results in clogged drains, overflowing of water on a light downpour, scavenging and a fundamental destruction of all road or land projects.

The drains in the city usually pollute water bodies; a typical example is that of the foaming news of Bellandur lake. Other small towns usually have to wait for the local government inspections to even bring the problem to attention and then the wait for an actual situation takes another decade.

Most of the people are unaware of the pollution of water. This is typical of cities were overcrowding is a growing concern. This means high risks of communal diseases and damage beyond control.

  • How is sewage treated?

The bbmp along with all other state municipals have slight to no clue about waste water. This isn’t a local issue, it’s a national issue considering almost to state treats their waste water is a resourceful manner. The grey water is never flittered and sent for irrigation nor is it sent for treatment. Which means that we continue to exploit water until we can complain about its unavailability.

The sewage doesn’t collect in one big area, it is disseminated at various spots and because the covered drains are usually blocked due to the ignorance of the citizens, who take much pride in throwing out their garbage into the nearest water body, it isn’t surprising that treating this water would take a lot of effort.

Having stated that, other than private hotels and some companies, there is no real public sewage treatment plants. Most of the sewage is diverted to the lesser populated parts of the city, a disaster of a idea.  [https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/why-bengalurus-sewage-treatment-plants-may-never-be-enough-city]

  • Are drains maintained regularly?

The city has closed drains, which is admirable but these drains have slots for the water to run in which are very conveniently always blocked therefore cancelling out the very purpose of the drains. A simple way to avoid this and many other damages is by maintaining what we’ve already invested in. 

This doesn’t mean waiting for the rainfall to dig up freshly constructed roads in order to fix clogs. This means a regular check on the drains, proper filtering of waste, designing roads in favour of the flow and using assertive methods to ensure people aren’t throwing around garbage wherever they want.

  • How often are the drains blocked?

To clearly understand this, one can refer documentaries like “This is how we do it: cleaning a sewage.”  In simple words, drains in the country are blocked by a range of things like – construction waste, heavy plastic, cans and sometimes even dead animals.

In Delhi, the major internal stormwater drains were were caused by garbage, so much that TOI carried the news.  [https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/most-internal-stormwater-drains-blocked-by-garbage/articleshow/]

In the city of Bangalore, as depicted in the picture attached, the drains are blocked by as small as tea cups to unmanaged plastic.

The problem comes when we realise how quickly our drains block. MG road, the primary spot in the city were maintenance work isn’t as rare as the rest of it, drains get clogged the very hour after BBMP clears out waste. This indicates that citizens are just as responsible for clogged drains.

  • Do the drains help during heavy rains?

The city is currently experiencing a late monsoon, thanks to global  warming and the general ignorance around environment. What is worse than unnaturally heavy rain? Rain with nowhere to go. This is one of the reasons drains were built in the first place around commuting areas. Taking a drive around the city during a downpour accounts for the quality of the rains, not only does the water have no escape (due to blocks) but the water from the drains comes right out. This is because of the point mentioned in the introduction – improper management of resources. As the roads and drain maintenance is done without central plan, the roads are no longer slant slightly towards the drains but are the other way around. This is clearly evident in some parts of the city, thereby, yet again, cancelling out its very purpose, which is the sixth point of the argument made.

This ignorant use of water that is used and of the usable rainwater is to be looked upon while we complain of both water scarcity and floods. Planning the use and reuse of our resources sustainably will not only minimize our present chaos but also safeguard our future. The city of Bangalore represents all cities in the nation, one can only imagine the damages caused in areas with lesser commercial value.

Here are some images taken through smart phone while observing the water chaos in and around the city.

Not about green life. Perhaps Green mind?

Been in your pajamas all day? Complaining about how your day got ruined because your mom forgot to make you favorite breakfast?

It irritates me to see people constantly complain about how their day got ruined because of one thing or the other. Do I do the same thing, yes I do. Do I plan on doing something about it, yes I do. I’m not a morning person, so every time I get off the bed, I’m cranky, sleepy and probably cursing everything and everyone. We have 24 hours a day, how many of us actually use 50% of it? You can spend your day like a robot and complain why you’re day isn’t better or you could actually give a damn about other people, help them out a little bit, try not to be a complete @#$& , do something productive or helpful and come back to your home feeling a tiny bit better about yourself.

If we constantly focus on just ourselves we’d have very little reasons to be happy. Do something, make a difference and then maybe you could sit back and feel good about yourself. Help someone in need. Tell your friends they are important. Stop looking at the mirror and maybe look at your friend for once. Try keeping the phone away next time somebody tries to talk with you. In short , be someone you would respect. Become a person who is honest, worthy of respect and most of all loving.

Why did I bring this up? Its quite simple, we have all come to this point where kindness is a miracle and being selfish is a survival adaptation and self explanatory. How many times have you asked somebody to shut up? How many times have you cursed for no reason at all? How many times did you try to make someone smile today?

These are all pretty simple questions we can ask ourselves. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a kind person. And honestly, the world could use a little bit of kindness and love.

Accidentally Eco-friendly

It’s lovely to know that some habits, that come naturally to us are a step in the right way. The problem however is that the majority of our habits aren’t “Ideal.”

Here are some of the observations I made this month.

CCD seems to be doing it right! Greener options at your counter!
Met this vendor names Aruna, told me ” Everybody needs a matka during summer, so I made it more High Tech”
A friend recently yelled out ” ‘Eco part of ecofriendly’ but all freaking plastic bottles”, do you read out descriptions too? These folks

Some of the things we do right involve :

  1. Using stairs instead of elevators in our buildings – Not only is this a healthier option but it also ensures saving some amount electricity and let’s not forget all the infrastructural waste involved. Some of us don’t do this because of all the money involved and I believe it comes to mind only after making a building with more than 4 floors, traditionally speaking.
  2. Utensils – Steel/wooden/mud utensils are quite popular in some cultures, more so in Asian kitchens, these are great alternatives for plastic. The use of such utensils and other kitchen appliances ensures long term use and easy disposal.
  3. Our storage choices – One of the perks of not having great import material selection in my country is the absence of zip-lock bags. I know, super convenient. But here’s the thing, you get a 100 in a pack and suddenly you need a ziplock for everything. Not so ideal. In the absence of such luxuries, you store your fruits normally i.e, without a shield, which is quite appropriate if you ask me. Use your containers, or store them casually, all it takes is regular cleaning – which I support and encourage.
  4. Social Media Addiction – We keep scrolling, in the morning, while using the loo, at the bus stand, in bed, everywhere. The chances of us not knowing about environmental issues is extremely minimal. And every once in a while it affects a person or two, which is the intention of this blog as well. With the prominent discussions on the issue, even the smallest group of people who are affected is a good sign.

Things you need to stop buying right now.

So many of us fall into the trap of capitalists and drain our energy and income on buying everything available in the market. Everytime money flows into our hands we run to the nearest store and fill up our carts and expect happiness over the counter.

“If you’re someone who cares about environment, then being a minimalist is easier but people usually tend to find it very challenging when they’re not sure about their priorities. That is until they practice it and suddenly their bank account isn’t as sad as it used to be before,”


Ms. Justine Adams, an environmentalist.

One of the most compelling reasons to try out this lifestyle seems to be the better investment of money and few people are willing to try it out. If you’re someone who never feels good enough about the things you own and keep thinking “I need to go shopping,” here are some things you can stop buying.

  1. Bags – Think about it, how many bags do you need? Like really. How many of the 7-15 bags you own, do you use? Theres no need for a giant collection of bags because most of them serve the same purpose. Now if your argument is “But they don’t all go with every piece of clothing,” my response would be, life isn’t a runway in this particular sense. Do get or DIY cloth bags to avoid buying plastic bags but don’t get too much of any thing. Follow the golden rule – Get your basics
  2. Show pieces – You want to upscale your place? The first thing that comes to mind happens to be decor items. They serve no real purpose. Its as simple as that. Instead of getting an odd giant dog statue (Friends reference, I know) get a functional item. Invest in a plant, a real one, breath a little better. Put up photographs and no mini statues, your house doesn’t have to be museum.
  3. Furniture – So many of us have a dinning set thats just there, serving no or minimal function. Stop buying furniture in bulk, understand that for a house of four, four chairs is enough. Don’t rationalise it with “What if guests come?.” Thrift furniture, this helps you save money and ensure you don’t fall for the ‘wholesale’ idea.
  4. Grocery list – By the age of 20 or 25, I’m sure many of us develop a mental list of the things we eat as per the quantity. So while shopping for grocery, don’t pull in that chips packet (Struggling with it myself), buy items in bulk so you don’t keep running errands. Look for longevity of products rather than packaging appeals. Before going to the counter, go through the items and check if there is anything that’s avoidable.
  5. Water Bottles – An extremely small item but one that makes a huge impact. Take the effort of carrying a water bottle with you, do not try to be a camel. Carry water to avoid buying small water bottles that get dumped almost instantly. Same goes for other drinks, if you have the choice of getting the drinks in paper cups or glass bottles,prefer that over tetra-packs.
  6. Body wash and Lotion spray – Inexpensive and most importantly, doesn’t come in a plastic bottle. So many of us fall into the idea of “its easier with a shower gel” or , in the case of body lotion”why apply lotion when you can spray it?” Because, these aren’t tiresome tasks. Take a moment to understand that using soap, isn’t similar to moving a huge rock, it’s legit the size of your palm. Advertisers know their job and so now you think having a gel is going to make your bath-time easier.
  7. Shoes – “But there are so many options!!! I need one for each kind of outfit,” is something my sister told me a week ago. After being asked, “How many of them do you use regularly, we both came to the conclusion that she didn’t, infact need all those shoes. Again, the golden rule of basics can be applied here. Keep it simple and understand the role of a shoe.

These are small steps to ensure that your wallet doesn’t drain out. Buy things when you have to, don’t make purchases for the sake of it. If you restrain yourself from buying items that are unnecessary you will have the luxury of savings, most importantly a sense of security and if you’re doing it right, you might just find happiness and contentment.